Posts Tagged ‘ buenos aires ’

1916, December 24 – BIRTH OF HECTOR STAMPONI

Composer, Pianist (Capricorn) – he was the composer of one of the most unique, beloved and most often recorded tangos in history, “El Ultimo Cafe”…it won first prize in a tango contest in 1964 when it was sung by Raul Lavie…his three waltzes (the first two in collaboration with Enrique Francini ”Bajo Un Cielo de Estrellas”, “Pedacito De Cielo” and “Flor De Lino”, perhaps the most beloved in the genre, are continuously played in milongas  from the smallest towns to great metropolises all over the world… the same holds true for his milonga “Azabache” which was a great hit for Raul Beron in 1942…one critic called him “an unparalleled figured in the history of tango, a brilliant arranger, an exquisite pianist, an inspired composer”...indeed there are few of the greats of tango that did not come in contact with his 60 plus years long career, beginning with his first composition“Inquietud” which he composed when he was in his late teens and was recorded by the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra on July 12, 1939…more than 50 other memorable compositions were to follow


Hector Stamponi was born in the town of Campana just outside of Buenos Aires to Italian immigrant parents…from very early on he demonstrated unique musical ability and his parents, with much sacrifice, procured lessons for him with renown maestro Juan Ehlert who quickly recognized his talent and asked him to join his personal musical ensemble…the group earned an appearance at the famous Juan Manuel’s Matinee…he then formed a trio with two would be legends of tango, Enrique Francini and Armando Pontier, to accompany artists on Radio Argentina; he later  joined the Scorticati Orchestra to play on Radio Stentor…Hector then briefly joined the Miguel Calo orchestra…in the early 40s he accompanied the singer Amanda Ledesma in Mexico where she was immensely popular…it is there that  he composed music for films and composed two tango with Ernesto Cortazar, “Somos Dos” and “Cruz”…he began a period as a piano soloist,accompanist and arranger; his services were in great demand by all the greats of the time most notably the legendary Charlo in his celebrated appearances on Radio Splendido…in 1963 he composed the music for the film “Carlos Gardel Historia di un Idolo” Spain  he teamed up with poet and lyricist Horacio Ferrer in appearances which won rave reviews from critics and the public.



1952, November 27 – 1st RECORDED, “RODANDO TU ESQUINA”

Composed and sung by Charlo, the lyrics of “Rodando Tu Esquina“ say, ” my passion for her is devouring me and I must go out and look for her…to forgive her…I don’t care what people will say, people will talk anyway…I think of her continuously, I can’t get her out of my mind, “….this was a major hit for Charlo; one of many in his long career; he would pass away at the age of 85…Charlo, (born July 7, 1905, Cancer) after Carlos Gardel was the most important figure in tango history…he was certainly the equal of Carlos Gardel in every way and yet, in one of those odd twists of fate, he is relatively unknown…he was born in Avestruz a railway station outside of Buenos Aires; his father was a foreman in a crop harvesting company…as an adult he cut quite a figure; he was a dandy, elegant, sophisticated…in fact he inspired a line of men’s clothing and accessories  called “Charlot”….


His real name was Carlos Jose Perez, but he was an ardent admirer of Charly Chaplin who inspired his stage name “Charlo”  which he used for the first on his debut on Radio Cultura in 1924…as a child he studied piano and later he entered law school but he stunned his family when he advised them that he would leave law school and devote himself to music…he began by singing and accompanying himself in humble cafes where he elegant attire was almost an insult to the usual patrons nevertheless with his voice, his compositions and his charm, he quickly ascended the ladder of success performing with, among others, the Francisco Canaro and Roberto Firpo orchestras; the most renown at the his career he did everything including having had numerous hits in composing and recording; he may well have been the most recorded tango singer in history



Singer (Sagittarius) – by the age of 18 she was already a professional actress on radio and theater, had made her first recording, had married, given birth to a daughter and was in the middle of a difficult divorce;…she was to have a long, highly successful career becoming the first female super star of tango and along the way enduring a series of seemingly never-ending mishaps…in 1935 she may have tried to commit suicide by jumping from a building, luckily an awning broke her fall and saved her life…born in Rosario Argentina, she was the daughter Gaudencio, a son of French immigrants (originally to Uruguay), who married a woman with six children; Libertad was their only mutual child…Gaudencio was a tinsmith by day and a cultured fiery political anarchist by night; in fact Libertad grew up in a household full of music, literature and fashionable ideas…


Gaudencio started his daughter in theater at the age of seven where she frequently acted in his own plays full of provocative  ideas…Libertad was beloved by the public and when she was 12, Gaudencio decided that she was ready for Buenos Aires and so he moved the tinsmith shop and the whole family there…with a letter of introduction in hand from a journalist she was given a small role in the famous Teatro Nacional; she never stopped working…she married a theater promoter with whom she had a daughter but quite soon she realized it was a mistake and she would seek a divorce…during the shooting of the film “La Cabalgata del Circo” she got into a  argument with actress Eva Duarte “Evita” whom myth states that she slapped and which resulted in Libertad being blackballed…Libertad, in her autobiography, would deny that she had ever slapped Evita and Evita woul later denied any involvement in  her being ostracized but nevertheless all avenues in Argentina were inexplicably closed to her….Liberta emigrated to Mexico where she was eventually adored and worship to such a degree that Mexicans considered her one of their own; in fact it was from this venue that she would become an internationally beloved star…the output in her career is mind-boggling, over 800 recordings, 65 films and even the screenwriter for her film “Ayudame a Vivir”…she died at the age of 92 in Mexico City while performing in a “telenovela”



Andres Falgas at 19 was not particularly self-confident and he had an uncertain future in front of him…he worked at a number of odd jobs to help bring in some money to his struggling family and to help pass the time he sang…always…prodded by a friend and with great reluctance he entered the Puloil Soap singing contest on Radio Splendid which his friends often spoke about…to his astonishment, out of an estimated 2000 contestants, he came in second place…he was rewarded with a cash award which amounted to what he would earn in a year’s time and a six months’ contract to sing on the radio…it was indeed, a dream come true…..among the staff musicians of Radio Splendid was a wide-eyed Raul Kaplan and a young Miguel Calo still glowing from his tour of the United States with the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra…Falgas soon made his first recording, “Pena De Amor” which was moderately successful…


His big break came when he was summoned by Rodolfo Biagi; his first recording on July 13, 1939 “Dichas Que Vivi” was a big hit and continues to our very day to be popular in milongas all over the world…the title essentially means, “the low blows which I have endured in life”…Andres Falgas, son of a Catalonian father and an Italian mother, was born in the neighborhood of Caballito where he attended grammar school and high school……in his two years with Biagi, he would make a total of eleven recordings including hits like “Queja Indiana”, “Griseta” and “Cicatrices”…like many tango musicians, he moved to Mexico where he remained for many years and became popular in the Mexican cinema…Andres Falgas would go on to have a glorious career, singing throughout Latin America and even an appearance at the celebrated “La Casa Gardeliana” in New York…he made over 130 recordings; among his numerous compositions perhaps his best known is “La Brisa” which was made into a hit by Carlos Dante with the Alfredo De Angelis orchestra



It snowed on June 22, 1918, an extremely rare event in Buenos Aires….Agustin Bardi “El Chino” had gone to the horse race track at La Plata that evening in his friend Firito’s Ford Model T….it was fate that on the return, gushing like boys at the beauty of this rare event, all of a sudden the Model T went dead and try as they might, they could not restart the car…as his two companions busied themselves under the hood, Agustin stood and looked at the sky in awe; it was indeed an inspiring  sight…as his head was tilted skyward, the notes began to flow in his head…it is then that he composed “Que Noche” (what a night)…it would not snow again in Buenos Aires until July 10, 2007; ninety years later and Radio Belgrano celebrated the occasion by playing “Que Noche” and presenting the life of its composer Agustin Bardi


“Que Noche” was an instant hit…it was first recorded by the Roberto Firpo Orchestra …many others were to follow including Juan D’arienzo, Osmar Maderna, Osvaldo Fresedo…one of the latest recordings was in 1997 by the Trio Luis Di Matteo…Agustin Bardi, pianist, violinist and composer was born in the neighborhood of La Flores in Buenos Aires…he had a tough childhood and he quit school early to help the family but he always loved music; he was essentially self taught…he made his debut as a violinist in a trio including Genaro Esposito…sometime in 1912 he composed his first tango “Vicencito” which a friend had to transcribe as he did not yet write music…he was demanding with himself and with others and was described as an absent minded misanthrope…on Arpil 21, 1941 as he was rushing home to finish a melody that had been haunting him, he suddenly fell down…he was dead from a massive heart attack at the age of fifty five…on his desk was found an unfinished melody he had been working on which his son Carlos later called “Sus Ultimas Notas” (his last notes)…it was premiered by the Joachim Do Reyes Orchestra on Radio El Mundo…there is a saying in Argentina, “it will snow again in Buenos Aires, before a replacement is found for Carlos Gardel



Composer, Guitarist, Violinist (Gemini) – his paternal gandparents Agustin Ocampo and Angela Vilaza came to Argentina in leg irons; they were slaves from the Congo…although Modesto Ocampo was brought up in extreme poverty in Montevideo’s tough “Barrio Sur”, where two other tango pioneers of African descent Lagrima Rios and Carlos Olmedo also grew up, he was also given the gift of a loving family which would manifest itself in kindness and generosity as an adult…this, along with his musical ability, would earn him the respect of his community and in his mature years the honorary, “Don Vito”….out on the streets the young Modesto learned to defend himself and he was renown for his courage…in a famous incident, Modesto was the bandoneon player with a trio auditioning at the Cafe Boedo in Montevideo whose owner reportedly said “I like you guys very much except for black guy; he is too black for this place“, where upon the leader of the trio responded, “he is a good musician and has a big heart and so if he leaves we all leave”


As a child his teachers began to notice two talents, music and drawing…in fact he would pursue studies in violin, guitar and painting…in 1903 he moved to Buenos Aires to work as an apprentice in the laboratory of Bixio Photo Shop; in time he would become the manager…at the age of twenty-four he married his childhood sweetheart Paula Perez and it was in between the birth of his two daughters that he composed his two tangos  “Queca” and “Te Amo Con Delirio”…”Queca” was recorded first by Vicente Greco and later by Francisco Canaro…he played for many years with the Famiglietti Orchestra with whom he became celebrated for his impassioned virtuosity with the Bandoneon; later he opened his own photo shop…in his later years he would lock himself away in his attic to paint; in 1946, in Buenos Aires, he organized the only exhibition of his work…true to his nature, he gave away his paintings to admirers and friends….at the age of seventy-nine, with his beloved wife and daughters at his side, he passed away in the same house that his grandfather Agustin Ocampo, African slave, had lived in



Ernesto Ponzio was a friend of the Savino boys and on a visit to their house one evening, he happened to see their young sister Adela sleeping sweetly on the sofa…there was a moment of stunned silence…he turned to the matriarch Savino and said, “Madam, take care of her for me, for I shall come back to marry her”…true to his word, on June 9, 1903 Ernesto Ponzio married the lovely, shy Adela Savino…Ernesto Ponzio was the composer of “Don Juan” one of the most beloved tangos in history; it has been recorded by almost all the great orchestras but the Carlos Di Sarli version is perhaps the best known…interestingly, it was the tango that the legendary El Cachafaz was dancing to in 1943 when he died suddenly from a massive heart attack…Ponzio was born in the neighborhood of Tierra Del Fuego, Buenos Aires…his father Antonio, an immigrant from Napoli, was playing his harp on stage one day when he died suddenly from a heart aneurysm…


Ernesto Ponzio, at age thirteen, was forced to leave school and play his violin at local bars for spare change to help support the family…later he would be renown for his generosity…fellow musicians knew that if they were in need, they could turn to him for help and when he did not have money he might compose a piece of music on the spot for the struggling musician to sell…later he and his beloved wife would open a grocery store where it was customary for struggling familys to obtain food on credit; in fact Ponzio was beloved as much for his generosity and his generous smile as much as for his compositions…in the 1933 classic film “Tango” Ponzio can be seen playing his violin as El Cachafaz and Carmencita Calderon are dancing to “El Enterriano” considered by some historians as the first published tango in history…it was noon time on October 31 of 1934 that, as he was playing on stage Ernesto  suddenly dropped his violin, grabbed his chest and  keeled over meeting the same fate as his father; he was forty-nine years old