Archive for the ‘ Uruguay ’ Category

1964, November 25 – JULIO SOSA DIES IN CAR WRECK !

Singer (born February 2, 1926, Aquarius) – his love of fast cars cost him his life, he was 38 years old and at the pinnacle of his career…awaiting him were plans for other films, tours of europe and south america; he was very much in love with a new girlfriend…in the 60s he was the only tango singer who could still command crowds; tango had by now passed from fashion and rock and rock was all the craze….he was born in Las Piedras, Uruguay to a dirt poor family; his father was a day laborer and his mother was a washer woman; Julio himself had to quit school while still very young and he worked at a large variety of menial jobs comforted by the tangos of Radio El Mundo, but in the evenings he would sing at local cafes for spare change; more than once the police would escort him out for he was underaged…the streets matured him quickly where the voice of Carlos Gardel inspired…his first marriage at 16 which all too soon ended….

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His big break came one evening while he was singing at the Los Andes Cafe in Buenos Aires, lyricist Raul Hormaza happened to walk in and was impressed with the young, gaunt singer…an overwhelmed Julio found himself at the elegant Cafe Picadisi auditioning for Armando Pontier one of the most renown orchestras at the time…for Pontier he sang “Tengo Miedo” and that very evening he debuted in a borrowed, ill-fitting suit…but somegthing unexpected happened; people stopped what they were doing to actually listen to Julio sing whose gesticulating, emotional, stage presence was different and mesmerizing…in 1960 he published his book of poems, “Dos Oras Antes Del Alba (Two Hours Before the Dawn) whose stanzas revealed that beyond the strobe lights of success, somehow the pain of his childhood, like that of Tita Merello, had never really been erased from his soul

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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

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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

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1933, November 7 – CARLOS GARDEL EXECUTES WILL !

This controversial, handwritten will states, “First I am French-born in Toulouse, on December 11, 1890 and I am son of Berthe Gardes”… there had been no previous public notice that Carlos Gardel had any relationship with France whatsoever…on the contrary, when asked about his nationality, Gardel would repeatedly answer that he was Uruguayan, born in Tacuarembó…when he had obtained his first official identity document (“Constancia de nacionalidad”) in Buenos Aires on October 8, 1920, he declared to have been born in Tacuarembó to “Carlos and María, deceased”..several other documents stated the same thing including the charred passport found in his inner suit pocket when his body was pulled  from the airplane wreckage in Medellin, Colombia…in the deliberations that followed, an original birth certificate of a child born in Toulouse to Berthe Gardès on December 11, 1890 surfaced…following extensive deliberations on the matter, on April 14, 1937, the government of Uruguay declared Doña Bertha Gardés the universal heir of her son Carlos Gardel

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In all likely hood he had done this to protect himself from the French government who at the beginning of World War I was sending draft notices to its citizens all over the world…Interestingthis was also the date of Gardel’s departure from Buenos Aires never to return alive again..in Europe he made brief stops in Barcelona and Paris before traveling to the United States, to make a debut on the most important radio network in the world, NBC of New York…around this time would emerge the idea of a tour through Latin America; the one during which his plane would crash on the runway during takeoff and end his life tragically at the age of 40…in 1967 a group of previously unknown “relatives” surfaced claiming that Gardel had in fact been one Carlos Escayola Oliva born in the rural estate of Carlos Escayola Medina, in the Uruguayan department of Tacuarembo.

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1926, November 6 – Debut Of Tango “VIEJO CIEGO”

Composed by Sebastian Piana with lyrics by Catulo Castillo, “Viejo Ciego”  was debuted by singer Roberto Fugazot at the Nuevo Teatro, in Buenos Aires while performing in a play called ”Patadas y Serenatas En El Barrio de Las Latas”…Fugazot, born in the Reus Del Norte neighborhood of Montevideo, Uruguay, was already an excellent guitarist, singer and actor as a teenager….in his long career he would be successful as a scriptwriter and composer as well…barely in his 20s, he formed a very successful duo with singer Agustin Irusta whom he met by chance in a restaurant…later the two would form a trio with Lucio Demare, known as “Trio Argentino” which, in traditional gaucho garb, would have great success at the legendary Maipu Cabaret, in Madrid Spain…later in his life he gave up singing to devote himself to acting to the delight of his numerous fans.

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Sebastian Piana, born in the Almagro neighborhood of Buenos Aires, was in the eyes of discriminating cognoscenti, the composer of the most beautiful tangos in history…he was the son of an immigrant from Piemonte Italy who was a barber by day and musician by night….along with Adolfo Pugliese, father of future legend Osvaldo Pugliese, he would play in impromptu tango groups in the cafes around Buenos Aires to which he would take the young and impressionable Sebastian …at the age of 14 Sebastian was playing piano at silent movie houses…he composed his first tango “Sabor Popular” at the age of 17…his first major break occurred in 1922 when Carlos Gardel recorded his tango “Sobre El Pucho”…many more were to follow…he was a childhood friend of the legendary lyricist  Homero Manzi with who he would later create some of the most beautiful tangos in history

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1918, October 18 – BIRTH OF DONATO RACCIATTI

Psychologist tell us that successful people share certain traits in common, enthusiasm, focus and the ability to overcome setbacks…Donato Racciatti (Libra) was blessed with these qualities and unlike so many of his contemporaries, when he finally passed away at the age of 81, he was content and serene, beloved by his fans and the people of Montevideo…for every successful orchestra like those of D’arienzo, Fresedo, Troilo, hundreds tried and failed in a highly competitive and fickle field…born in the Aires Puros neighborhood of Montevideo, early on he demonstrated precocious musical ability and although pressured by his parents to pursue a more secure career, he was determined to make music his life’s vocation…he pursued his studies in bandoneon with unusual passion…a key point in his career occurred at the age of 22 when he was recruited by the Laurenz Casella Orchestra…soon after that he found himself leading the orchestra of singer Luis Alberto Fleitas…at the age of 30 he put together his own orchestra to which he devoted himself with unbridled passion…

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He hired a young bandoneonist named Raul Jaurena who would in time become one of the most successful exports to New York City where he would have a renown and stellar career…his first recording was “Conocen Estos Compasses” (Do you Know These rhythms) composed by Horacio Marquez…on the other side was the candombe “El Pregon Del Negrito” which he personally composed…he was to become immensely popular first on local radio stations and later in Buenos Aires’s mythical Radio Belgrano and Radio El Mundo…like his fellow countryman Francisco Canaro, he began external forays with tours in Brazil…his most prolific period was between 1953 and 1960 with notable vocalists like Nina Miranda, Luis Correa, Nestor Real and Carlos Roldan…as a composer some of his best work was done in collaboration with lyricist Federico Silva…some of his best known compositions include “Vencida”, “Sin Estrellas” and the immortal “Hasta Siempre Amore” which was a major hit for Carlos Di Sarli with the voice of Horacio Casares

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  • CLICK HERE –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0Byu_tTB1w  to hear one of Donato Racciatti’s greatest hits “Hasta Siempre Amore”  played by the Juan D’arienzo orchestra….lyrics by Federico Silva

1957,October 11 – NINA MIRANDA GETS MARRIED !

On October 11, 1957 Nina Miranda was the happiest woman in the world…she had just married the love of her life….for 46 years they would have a good marriage…however, for love she made one big sacrifice; she ended a promising singing career…her new husband had asked to her leave singing, “continue, what for….you have everything”, he had said….in 2004 her husband died…in her deep remorse she turned to singing again and to her surprise she discovered that her voice was intact and at the age of 79 she returned to the stage to the delight of a grateful public…four years later, in a dream come true, she found herself singing before ecstatic crowds in France, England, China and Brasil…as a child she loved to sing and she would recount the story when once, in church, at the age of three, she suddenly began singing a tango she had heard on the radio to the embarrassment of her mother, a devout catholic…

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At the  age of 15, while watching her idol Libertad Lamarque in the film “Puerta Cerrada”, she decided that one day when she was a professional singer she would adopt as a stage name, the name of Libertad’s character in the film “Nina Miranda”… 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 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

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1889, October 5 – “LE MOULIN ROUGE” OPENS IN PARIS

Built the same year as the Eiffel Tower, 1889, the Moulin Rouge, known as the “Palace of Women”, would cross paths with tango on many occasions…this was the time of the  “Belle Epogue”, a period of great progress, peace and optimism…the Moulin Rouge would help turn Paris into a city of entertainment and sexual liberation…the risque “Cancan” which, like tango, was originally a courtesan dance of seduction, was created there…the Cancan’s greatest star was the fascinating “La Goulue” who went from simple laundry girl to the highest paid dancer in the world for her outrageous, daring, seductive performances…she would become Toulouse Lautrec’s favorite subject for whom she would pose nude and scandalized proper Paris…Toulouse, reported to have had an oversized penis inspite of his short stature, was a frequenter of prostitutes and a lover of tango…like “Madam Yvonne”, in the classic tango by the same name, she ended her days destitute, alcoholic, straggled selling peanuts and cigarettes outside the Moulin Rouge unrecognized….Mistinguett, the other legendary Moulin Rouge star would have a major hit with the naughty tango “Tout Ca C’est Pour Vous” which she would record in 1928…

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In 1923 porteno Eduardo Armani, composer of  “Normina”, one of Carlos Gardel’s hits, directed Mistinguett at the Moulin Rouge in one of her famous plays…the captivating and mysterious Linda Thelma was one of the first to bring tango to Paris when she sang at the Moulin Rouge in the early part of the century; here she met Francisco Canaro…the beautiful Alina De Silva, called by Parisian newspapers “the star of tango, was actually Peruvian of French descent..in 1929 she began a series of celebrated performances at the Moulin Rouge…Imitations of Moulin Rouge sprang up all over the world…the Moulin Rouge in Montevideo was established by Emilio Matos, father of Gerardo Matos Rodriguez the composer of the immortal “La Cumparista”….here Pascual Contursi debuted his great classic “Mi Noche Triste” singing it himself…”Mi Noche Triste” is considered the prototype of what tango would become; nostalgic, melancholic, speaking of life’s tragic moments…Pascual Contursi, like Toulouse Latrec would die young from complications of alcoholism and syphlis…both Roberto Firpo and Francisco de Caro would compose a tango called “Moulin Rouge”

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