Archive for the ‘ Virgo ’ Category

1899, August 28 -birth of PEDRO MAFFIA

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Virgo) – he grew up in a destitute family with a brutal father who would beat him and force him to beg for money…he ran away to the house of the legendary “Negra Maria” likely brothel owner and mother of several musicians by different fathers and … his marginal living came from playing in cheap bars in the outskirts of town…one day while playing in the village of Punta Arena he was discovered by Carlos Gardel and Jose Razzano…Roberto Firpo, later asked him to join his orchestra…like Juan Maglio “Pacho”, he was one of the first to play the bandoneon “a capella”…he formed his first orchestra in 1926.


As a bandoneon player he was different from the others; like Juan Maglio “Pacho”, he was one of the first to play bandoneon “a capella”…his was a gentle, nuanced, unhurried style all the while  playing in an unright  posture. Several of his compositions like  “Amurado” (1927) for example, continue being highly popular with dancers and performers…Anibal Troilo would write a tango in his honor, “A Pedro Maffia…he starred in the mythical film “Tango” directed by Luis Moglia Barth and released in 1933



1919, 27 August – birth of ISMAEL SPITALNIK

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Virgo) – he was born in Buenos Aires of Jewish immigrant parents…as  a child he already showed great ability in music … as a teenager he created a duo with a young Armando Cupo and they toured the surrounding communities playing in modest bars. His lucky break came in 1939 when he was invited by Angel D’Agostino to join his orchestra.


He was an extremely simple, self-effacing man. A curious, intellectual mind inspired him to continue serious studies and he eventually became an expert in arrangement and instrumentation… in midst of all this he managed to finish  his studys in industrial chemistry.  In 1956 he joined the Osvaldo Pugliese orchestra with whom he shared an impassioned  allegiance to communism and in fact he toured the Soviet Union with that orchestra. His compositions are considered part of the early modern tango movement.


  • CLICK HERE to hear his orchetra play “De Vuelta al Bulin”, written by Jose Martinez and lyrics by Pascual Contursi with the voice of Angel Calderon

1905, August 25 – birth of CELIA GAMEZ

Singer, Actress (Virgo) – born in Buenos Aires where she was a struggling tango singer…in a  moment of  inspiration she decides to go to Madrid Spain where through a lucky break she is catapulted into stardom. Over time she metamorphosed into the queen of Spanish musicals. She was beloved by the public at all levels; the aristocracy, the military and the common folk.


 She was even popular with the Franco dictatorship though her personal life was scandolous including hints of lesbian affairs. At one of her weddings, enraged women tried to tear off her white dress which they saw as an affront to values of purity. At the end, she returned Buenos Aires where she died from complications of Alzheimers in a rest home at the age of 87.           


1905, August 24 – birth of RICARDO MALERBA

Leader, Composer, Bandoneonist (Virgo) – while still a young boy he forms an orchestra with his brothers; Alfredo on piano, Carlos on violin….they played in the local cinemas earning one peso a day…in 1927 a break came when they were invited by Catulo Castillo to join his orchestra on a tour of Europe where the brothers ended up staying for quite a few years….             


In Portugal his brother Carlos suddenly gets ill and dies…his brother Alfredo returns to Buenos Aires where he eventually marries the singer Libertad Lamarque. As a star on Radio Belgrano, he stayed for over 20 years. Among 43 recordings he had two great hits “Gitana Rusa” and “Remembranza”. As a composer two of his creations “Embrujamento” (bewitching) and “La Piba de los Jasmines” (the girl from the jasmin grove) remain popular in milongas and performances today.


  • CLICK HERE – to hear his orchestra play one of his own compositions “Embrujamento” (bewitching) with lyrics by Manuel Ferradás Campos