Archive for the ‘ Scorpio ’ Category

1938, January 26 – Nestor Feria Records “CHUMBALE LOS PERROS”

Singer, Composer (born March 5, 1894, Pisces) – Nestor had struggle for many years and he felt he had paid his dues; he wanted to be treated with a certain amount of respect and he wasn’t getting it…in a moment of rage he told the producer at Radio Stentor to go to hell and he stomped out…walking alone now on this chilly night he was the loneliest person in the world…Now what was he to do; his career had been one of stops and starts and he was no longer a kid…out of the misty night he heard his name called,  “Nestor how are you”, it was his friend the actor Fernando Ochoa…when he told him what had happened he promptly dragged him to Radio Belgrano where they hired him on the spot…it was the begining of the resurgence of his career…he became the singing voice for the very popular variety programs sponsored by Federal Soap; important offers for stage and theaters were to follow….he was hired for his first movie “Juan Moreira” directed by Nelo Cosimi…he debuted with his own composition “En Blanco y Negro” which became a big hit…other successful compositions were to follow, “Las Carretas”, “Paginas Intimas”, “La Bata de Percal”


Nestor Feria was born in the village of  Canelones Bolivar, Uruguay into a family with closely guarded secrets….after a quarrel his mother, with rare courage for those time, left her husband and moved to Montevideo to the neighborhood of “La Union” where Nestor was to spend formative years…as he grew Nestor, like Carlos Gardel, became spellbound by the nearby racetrack where he eventually got a job as a stable boy…young Nestor loved to sing, he sang all the time…it was the other stable hands themselves that suggested to Nestor that he pursue singing as a career…at the age of 16, he found himself singing at the Pancho Orezoli Cafe and the launching of his career…In 1945the first symptoms of lung cancer began to appear but he kept working inspite of the pain and discomfort…now he regretted never having married…he lived alone in a rented room in BuenosAires….Fernando Ochoa, his old friend, again came to his rescue…through his connections he obtained for Nestor a role in the remake of “Juan Moreira” directed by Jose Moglia Barth…immediately after the film he had a strongh desire to return to his native Uruguay and just a few weeks later he collapsed and on September the 27th at 11 am he passed away


1880, November 18 – BIRTH OF JUAN MAGLIO “PACHO”

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Scorpio) – in the 1910s when people went into a record shop they merely said “give me a ‘Pacho’”…Juan Maglio “Pacho” sold so many records that his name was synonymous with buying a record…..he was one of a handful of true early pioneers of tango; it is estimated that he composed over 900 tangos among them immortal hits like “El Lloron”, “Viejo Smoking” and the waltz “Orillas Del Plata”…his father Pantaleon was an Italian immigrant who settled in the neighborhood of Palermo; Pacho one of eight children…Pantaleon played the bandoneon but he forbade his accident prone son to touch it…one evening he found Pacho secretly playing it and in a fit of rage he called him a “pazzo” or crazy in italian…when the neighborhood kids tried to say “pazzo” it came out “pacho”; it was to stick with him for the rest of his life…he taught the first woman bandoneon player in history, the mythical,  Paquita Bernardo


At the age of 18 he debuted with a trio at the Cafe Vasco in Barracas…later his group played at La Paloma Cafe which had just recently opened; Pacho would laugh years later recounting how the rats would scurry when they began to play….in 1912 his major break came when he was given a recording contract with Colombia Records; it was that same year that he composed his first tango “El Zurdo”…in 1929 he hired an uncertain, 15-year-old boy who walked in lugging his bandoneon; that boy, would one day become the legendary Anibal Troilo…on July 11 1934 in dire pain and weakened condition he was helped into the studios of Radio Belgrano; it was to be his last performance…three days later he would succumb to lung cancer the result of smoking 6 black tobacco cigarettes per day…on his desk were found several unfinished compositions which he apparently was trying desperately up to the last moment of his life.


1910, November 11 – BIRTH OF RAUL KAPLAN

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Scorpio) – his older two siblings died of scarlet fever; he was the only one to survive…he was born Israel Kaplun in the neighborhood of Balvanera, Buenos Aires to an itinerant jewish hat salesman who had immigrated from Besarabia, (Moldavia) with his wife…some black neighbors who would help look after Israel, began calling him “Raul” which is what his name sounded like to them when “Israel” was prononced in yiddish…Raul immersed himself in violin lessons at at the jewish grammar school that he attended…when he was about to finish grammer school he noticed a job ad for a violinist…when he arrived at the audition there were 20 people vying for the position, all of them older; he was hired….he was inserted into an ensemble which played at silent movie theaters


Later while playing with a jazz group at the Astral Movie Theater, he crossed paths with Miguel Calo who upon hearing the boy play promptly asked him to join his group; thus was Raul born into the tango world… his broadcasting debut was with Radio Prieto in 1928 although later he would get blackballed in radio for his refusal to join the Peronist Party…one historian has suggested that it was for Kaplun’s virtuosity, that solo violin passages were first written into tango and that it is precisely this element that led to the boom of the 40s……his first composition was the waltz “Recordando a Musè” published in 1935…later with the orchestra of Lucio Demare he composed his first hits  ”Una Emocion”and “Que Solo Estoy” which was a major hit for Raul Beron……in June of 1946 he put together his own orchestra  which at the Cabaret Montecarlo auditioned and hired a young 16-year-old named Roberto Goyeneche whom he would allow to sleep on the sofa and whom he accompanied to the tram stop as he had promised his mother he would do


1925, November 8 – BIRTH OF NINA MIRANDA

Singer (Scorpio) – One morning while  watering the garden of her home in Montevideo,  she was singing the waltz “A Una Mujer”…a radio soap opera actor happened to walk  by and said, “ah, so it is you that was singing…you should try a contest” she did and she won; she was not yet 13 years old….in the eyes of noted tango historian Ricardo Garcia Blaya, she was the best tango singer to emerge from Uruguay and one who unfortunately never reached her full potential for when she married in 1952, in the bloom of her career, her husband did not want her to continue singing…her talent became evident very early on; at the age of 3 while at church with her mother, a fervent catholic, she inadvertently began singing a popular radio song of the time; mixed in with the embarrassed reprimand that followed, was the marvel at the beauty of her voice


Her first break came when she was invited to sing with an all girls group “Las Golondrinas” with whom she toured Latin America…in 1952 while waiting in a studio for colleague Ernesto Fama, the orchestra leader noticed her and asked her to substitute immediately in a recording session for a singer that did not work out…she protested saying, “but I don’t know the music, I haven’t practised it”…he responded, “you have a natural ear, you’ll do fine” (in fact she was completely self-taught)…the piece recorded that day,  “Maula”, became an instant major hit…this led to an invitation to perform in the play “Tu Cuna Fue Un Conventillo” which had great success and where she premiered another hit “Tu Corazon”…many events followed including the creation of her own group…she wrote the lyrics to the tango “No Hagas Caso a La Gente” and the music to “Cancion Para Mi Amor” which was recorded by Colombian star Mirta Perez


1904, November 5 – BIRTH OF SOFIA BOZAN

With disarming frankness she would say – “Yes, I know that I sing off key…sometimes the music goes one way and I another but, what can I tell you that I sing it the way I feel it, from my heart”...inspite of it, or perhaps because of it, Sofia Bozan would come to typify the soul of Buenos Aires in a way which only Carlos Gardel could equal (she apparently had a different opinion for in an interview in August of 1929, she stated that while Carlos Gardel was admirable, it was really Azucena Maizani who was the true soul of tango)…she was its conscience and in the years in which tango had disappeared, old timers would pine nostalgically for the golden years of tango and invariably invoke the name of Sofia Bozan in their poems and literature…Carlos Hechin in his tango “Negra Bozan” would write, “beloved Sofia, soul of tango Argentino without equal, your noble soul is the expression of my city”..Sofia Bozan in “Cachada” (mockery) and “Lunfardo” (the peoples’ argot), would speak and dance as she sang to her legions of adoring fans and they would answer back perhaps shouting back some  affirmation or a challenge…they might interrupt her to request an encore to which, playfully reprimanding them, would comply with great delight…she became an early icon for women’s independance courageously saying things that were taboo for a woman of those times


Sofia Bozan (Scorpio) was born in Balvanera neighborhood of Buenos Aires and by the age of 12 she was a professional dress maker…through the help of her famous cousiin Olinda Bozan she became a chorus girl in the Vittone Pomar Theater Company…she soon progressed to the renown Muini Alippi Theater Company where she discovered her talent and developed her act; she was only 14 years old at the time…she debuted as a singer with the tango “Canillita” through which she is credited with having created the sarcastic, funny tango genre which would be the hallmark of Tita Merello…she premiered the tango “Un Tropezon” with the Francisco Pracanico Orchestra; it would later be recorded by many musicians…she was, as well, an accomplished tango and milonga dancer; in fact in the film “Carnavales De Antano” she danced with the legendary El Cachafaz to the delight of both critics and fans…she would star in over 30 films including the celebrated “Luces De Buenos Aires” with Carlos Gardel and “El Patio De La Morocha”…at the age of 46 after a long and intensive career, she married Federico Hess and retired to finally devote herself to a family…however soon after, she was diagnosed with cancer which she battled valiantly but to which tragically she finally succumbed at the age of 53…she was once asked the indelicate question of her opinion of men and she responded, “if I was the kind of woman who would answer such a question, I would say ‘I am crazy about them’”


1907, November 1 – BIRTH OF HOMERO MANZI

He stared at the emaciated, pale, figure in the mirror…he touched his face, chuckled and said, “and to think Barbeta, that you will soon die”…like Alice in Wonderland, Homero Manzi thought “stepping through the mirror to another world”…later battling the advanced stages of cancer, his blood curdling, harrowing scream of pain would be abated by yet another injection of morphine often administered by his son Acho and he would continue writing…it was in this state that he wrote his beloved “Discepolin” for his dear friend Enrique Santos Discepolo who himself lay dieing…both men would die within months of each other; Manzi 44, Discepolo 50…oddly “Discepolin” is a poem about a man about to die, by a man about to die…on his hospital bed he would received calls from friends requesting a quick poem or a lyric and he would reach for his pen and pad and begin writing…it was thus that he wrote “Canto de Un Payador por Eva Peron”…Eva Peron was a woman he greatly admired and who herself would also lose  a battle with cancer within months of Manzi (Scorpio)…Homero Manzi’s writing were true literature whose magic lay not only in the substance but in the style as well…arqueably he was the only tango lyricist who had this quality…this would be displayed time and again in his work (over 70 tangos) most notably in his immortal “Malena”…his “Fuimos”…his “Sur”…his waltz “Paisaje” to name just a few….


Collaborating with Sabastian Piana he revived the milonga in 14 compositions in this genre starting with “Milonga Sentimental” which they wrote for Rosita Quiroga…already as a child he demonstrated a love of writing…at age 14 he wrote his first tango to be recorded “Porque No Me Besas”…early on he also demonstrated a deep social conscious and a desire for social justice…he joined the Union Civica Radical which had been founded by the charismatic Ipolito Yrigoyen who became his mentor and almost like a father figure to him…Manzi would pay dearly for this starting with beatings from opposition thugs and later imprisonment and the losing of his teaching post at the University…he wrote the screenplays for over 20 films; the first film which he both wrote and directed was “Pobre Mi Madre Querida” which premiered in 1948…another one, ”El Ultimo Payador” was about a singer who is dieing written months before he succumbed…he once said, “I write only about the things I have lived”…above all he was an ardent nationalist and loved his people; he once criticized Carlos Gardel for allowing the Americans to produce his films…he was also a lover of women, the nights, and horse racing to which he squandered much money…he apparently had an affair with the legendary Nelly Omar…in his “El Ultima Organito” (the funeral cart) he says, “fair maidens will open their shutters at the passing of his cart and it will eventually disappear into the distance and the people will be without a voice”



Juan Carlos De La Madrid was Terry Malloy…in one of film history’s most famous scenes from the 1954 Academy Award winner “On The Waterfront”, Terry (Marlon Brando) says, “I could have had class, I could have been a contender, I could have been somebody”….in similar disarmingly frank, self-deprecating  language La Madrid would say about himself, “In my life, I have done all of the bad things you can imagine and in the end I am no one”…like Malloy, Juan Carlos was a boxer, a sparing partner for 3 pesos a round and a meal when he was lucky; when he wasn’t boxing he dabbled at dancing and singing tango…ten years later the celebrated Hector Maure would have a similar fate…Maure’s dreams of boxing glory were cruelly ended one evening when a left from no where sent him to the canvass for the 10 count and an injury that ended his career; he became a tango singer… La Madrid was part of Buenos Aires’ underbelly…he was a constant presence in the city’s cheap barrooms, its smoke-filled gambling dens where desperate, unshaved men crouched over roulette tables only to disappear just a few minutes later into oblivion…”Juanito” was liked by its assorted actors, the hoods, its loan sharks, the pimps, its fools and its street poets with whom he generously shared his spare change…he was proud of his ability to hold his whiskey…


It was very much of a macho world and Juanito, a keen observer, wrote about it, “mine are men’s poems, from a man’s world”…he wrote in lunfardo, “the language of the people of the streets” he would say…his tango lyrics were real…the legendary Astor Piazzolla called him to write the lyrics for his “Fugitiva” which he recorded to great acclaim with the voice of Maria De La Fuente in 1952…Juan Carlos De La Madrid (Scorpio), was born in the neighborhood of Flores in Buenos Aires to a poor family…he had little formal education but he was curious and he loved to read….already as a child, he demonstrated the intensity and passion which would later characterize him as an adult…the roar of the sea was his palliative….to survive he tried many things including having been a journalist, a literature teacher, a book salesman, a radio and television program organizer and even a Shakespearean actor…at the certain point he began to lose his eyes sight and became immensely depressed…contemplating suicide, he recalled one of his favorite lines from Hamlet: “o, that this too solid  flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itslef into dew…how weary stale flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world”…but his indomitable spirit jolted him to continue on, “I realized that I loved living like an actor who must go on with his assigned role until the curtain comes down”….his two books of poems, “Hombre Sumado” (The Sum of Man) and “Pequena Rosa Lunfarda” are still traded among collectors