Posts Tagged ‘ tango music ’

1886, February 17 – BIRTH OF GENARO ESPOSITO

Leader, Composer, Pianist, Bandoneonist (Aquarius) – Genaro was perched precariously on a step-ladder with nail and hammer in hand, concentrating on the hanging of a picture when his guest bellow uttered a phrase that almost made him fall, “would you like to help me organize a group to play in Paris”...little did he suspect what an epic saga his life was about to become…Paris was a dream that a boy born to struggling Neapolitan immigrant parents in the neighborhood of San TelmoBuenos Aires did not dare to have; and yet, here he was on a cruise ship heading toward Paris, the cultural capital of the world…but on the way tragedy struck, the violinist of the group, Victor Jachia, suddenly had a massive heart attack and died…Genaro Esposito was devastated but with typical “porteno” resolve he persevered and survived initially playing in Marseille for spare change…In time his “Orchestre Argentine Genaro Esposito” would become the toast of Paris performing in its most prestigious clubs, ”El Garron”, “Casino de Paris”, the “Coupole Dance Club” and later critically acclaimed European tours


Genaro would be a big factor in making tango a boom in Paris and therefore the world…in 1934 at the height of success he fell in love with a beautiful young French girl, Jeanne Vent…she rewarded him with the birth of a boy “Claude” of whom Genaro was immensely proud but then tragedy struck for the second time, Jeanne died leaving him to the care of their 11 month old child…he was never quite the same again…on June 14, 1940 the unimaginable happened, the German army entered Paris…interestngly, as they entered they played the San Lorenzo march composed by Cayetano Silva in 1901…a pall descended upon the city….little by little Genaro had to sell everything he owned just to eat; what little money he could earn came from playing his bandoneon for drunken German soldiers on leave from the Russian front……he had an opportunity to return to Buenos Aires but he steadfastly refused, he was a loyal French citizen now and he would stand by her and by his beloved Paris…sadly, the end came on January 24, 1944 when he succumbed to complications from pneumonia; as per his deathbed request, he was buried next to his beloved Jeanne…just seven months later allied forces would liberate Paris…with “Le Marseillaise“ still reverberating in his soul, General Charles de Gaul, in his liberation speech proclaimed, “Paris, Paris!, Paris outraged!, Paris broken!, Paris Martyred! but Paris liberated!.


1861, February 16 – BIRTH OF ANGEL VILLOLDO

Singer, Lyricist, Guitarist, Pianist, Violinist, Harmonica (Aquarius) – he was a fascinating man, a sort of Ernest Hemingway and Bob Dylan all in one…he was a prolific composer and lyricist having written some of the most beloved tangos in history….his immortal tango “El Choclo” was so ubiquitous that during World War I, German officers wishing to honor a visiting Argentinean dignitary mistakenly played El Choclo believing it to be the national anthem…year later Carlos Disarli would record one of its most successful versions in history…it continues to our very day to be one of the most instantly recognized pieces of music in history and yet when it premiered at the exclusive “El Americano” restaurant in Buenos Aires, the leader of the orchestra had to disguise it by calling it “Danza Criolla” as the owner did not like tango music…Angel Villoldo was born into a destitute family in the neighborhood of Barracas…he quit school early to work and did many types of jobs including teamster, herdsman, topographer, writer and circus clown….


But he heard music always in his mind and when he was guiding his team of horses through the mud or hostile elements he was composing in his head….he began acquiring fame performing his composition while accompanying himself with guitar and harmonica in the local cafes and bars; in 1889  he published “Cantos Criollos” a book of lyrics meant to be sung with guitar accompaniment….interestingly, he invented the apparatus which allows the playing of the harmonica while strumming the guitar which many years later would become the symbol of a young, tormented Bob Dylan…he wrote a sort of popular comics which were full of wit and sarcasm using the argot from the lowest rung of society…he devised a method of learning to play guitar using symbols called “Metodo America” which he published in 1917…his first tango hit “El Portenito”, was sung by Dorita Miramar in 1903 on the stage of the Parisien Varitè Show featured at the legenday Moulin Rouge…his “Cantar Eterno” was an early hit for the RazzanoGardel duo in 1917…for Gath and Chaves, he traveled to France to use state of the art recording equipment to record tangos and helped popularize tango in France; he wrote the lyrics for “La Morocha” which was the first beloved tango in Europe…and finally, he left as he came, poor, when he was run over by a tram at the age of 58



Dancer (Aquarius) – in 2005, at the age 100, she did her last public performance at the famous milonga La Baldosa with dance partner Jorge Dispari…her fans, many in tears, were ecstatic; just two months later she would pass away feeling fulfilled and content in her life…poet Jose Gabello was to say of her, “you are a girl without age…you are eternal like the tango that drives you”...Carmencita Calderon was born into a poor italian immigrant family in the neighborhood of Villa Urquiza in Buenos Aires…her mother would sing tango and dance by herself as she was doing the laundry and she began passing on this passion to her daughter when Carmencita when was thirteen years old …a tragedy soon befell the family when her mother died leaving behind young children; it fell upon Carmencita to fill the role of the caring and the upbringing of her younger siblings and although she loved to dance, girls in her station did not dare to dream…one day her two younger sisters expressed the wish to attend a neighborhood dance at the  club “Sin Rumbo” and so she went along as a chaperone…


Renown dancer “Tarila”, happened to be present and someone suggested that Carmencita dance with him; she was terrified but finally accepted his invitation…the following day Tarila took her to meet the legendary El Cachafaz at the Bar Corrientes where he assiduously met a close group of friends including Carlos Gardel…El Cachafaz was so impressed with Carmencita’s dancing that from that day on, he made her his exclusive dance partner; they made their debut with the Pedro Maffia orchestra at the Teatro San Fernando to enthusiastic applause …their ten years long collaboration would take them many places…but in 1942 disaster struck;  at a performance at Mar De Plata, at the club “El Rancho Grande”, after having danced to the milonga “Don Juan“, El Cachafaz died suddenly of a massive heart attack…she would never forget the shock of suddenly seeing her dance partner’s body lying lifeless on the floor…with tremendous personal resolve, she continued….she would in time perform with the best dancers of the time El Tarila, El Cachafaz and El Negro Alfredo and Juan Carlos Copes…reflecting on her success she was to comment “I adorned the tango when I danced it; this was my secret”


1950, February 8 – BIRTH OF MIMI CHO

Singer (Aquarius) – the final diagnosis was in, he had accepted his fate; he was at peace even as his days were diminishing…he asked his beloved wife to record a CD of her inspirational music for him, “in this way I can hear your voice in heaven”, he said to her…these were immensely trying times for Mimi Cho; she would be left with the care and upbringing of her three daughters and one son; her deep faith would help carry her through…the same faith that helped the whole family move from South Korea to Argentina in 1988…it was her deep faith which she expressed singing in the choir of the Evangelist church…it had been her husband, in his supportive and loving way, to encouraged Mimi to enroll in the Franz Liszt Musical Studies Center to study opera with Aldo Moroni…one day while walking in her neighborhood of Villa Crespo (birth place of the legendary Osvaldo Pugliese), she heard Carlos Gardel singing “Mi Buenso Aires Querido” and it made her heart bleed, something had changed; tango was to be her destiny…


With typical determination and discipline, she immersed herself into a serious study of its history, the dance, the orchestras, the music…she began taking lessons with the legendary Maestro Jose Colangelo who time later would say about Mimi “she was born to sing tango, she has the voice of an angel”…she then rounded off her preparation with Maria Eugenia Darrè, with whom she studied for 5 years…after years of study and dedication, the fateful day in 2005  had finally arrived; she did her first tango concert at the mythical Cafe Tortoni where she shared the stage with legendary poet Horacio Ferrer; the reception from its demanding audience was enthusiastic..“Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that one day I would be singing tango at Cafe Tortoni she commented afterwards…the next year she was invited to sing at the Bar Illustre de Buenos Aires; other venues were to follow…she is inspired by Susana Rinaldi, Luis Salinas and especially maestro Mariano Mores…with customary humility and gentleness in her voice she says “my ultimate dream is to sing at Carnegie Hall in New  York”


2002, February 2 – Dutch Crown Prince Weds Argentinean

The beautiful princess, robed in an ivory-coloured, silk, Valentino gown with a five-metre lace train sitting next to handsome Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, could contain herself no longer and as the orchestra played Piazzolla’s “Adios Nonino” large tears began to roll down her eyes and she caressed the prince’s hand with her thumb…yes she was latin after all, she had said as much in an interview, “I am Latin and I will continue being Latin…I dance, I sing and I will keep on dancing and singing.” …for Maxima Zorreguietta, born May 17, 1971 in Buenos Aires (Taurus), this was a moment which surpassed even her wildest dreams…little did she realize who that blond young man was, whom she met in Sevilla Spain that day; all he said was that his name was “Alexander” and when he came to New York to visit her, she had to jar her memory a bit to remember who he was…later when he said he was a Prince, she laughed; she thought he was joking…among the dignitaries present at the wedding ceremony that day, were Prince Charles from the United Kingdom, the kings of Sweden, Norway and Belgium, the queen of Denmark, Crown Prince Naruhitoof Japan,  and Queen Noor from Jordan…acclaimed violinist Vadim Repin played Carlos Gardel’s “Por Una Cabeza”


Conspicuously absent was the father of the bride Jorge Zorreguietta…he had served as a high level minster for the brutal dictatorship of General Jorge Videla; the same one who instigated the “dirty war” in which 10,000 to 30,000 men, women and children disappeared…when the news of the impending wedding came out it created a firestorm in the Dutch Parliment…an investigation was conducted which concluded that it was highly unlikely that a minster of that level did not know of the government’s campaign of atrocities…the issued was finally settled when the father elected to not attend the wedding…the streets outside were a mass of orange as 80,000 spectators waited in the winter sunshine for a glimpse of the couple who finally appeared in a gilded carriage, escorted by more than 200 royal grenadiers on foot and on horseback…Princess Maxima smiled generously and waved to everyone; in time her popularity would surpass even that of the Crown Prince….And does the Crown Prince dance tango ? “I keep trying to push him” say Princess Maxima,“His hips are a little rigid”.


1929, January 30 – PREMIERE OF “PANDORA’S BOX”

“She was the most seductive, sexual image of woman ever permitted in celluloid…she is the only pure pleasure seeker I think I ever met” these were the comments of director Richard Leacock regarding actress Louis Brooks…she created a scandal dancing a tango with lesbian “Countess Augusta Geschweitz” in G. W.Pabst’s classic “Pandora’s Box”...Louise portrays “Lulu” a seductive, erotic, thoughtless young woman whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself and those who love her…in this film she is the mistress of a well-respected newspaper publisher whom she marrys..she accidently kills him and is sentenced to five years in prison…she escapes with Alwa, her husband’s son but she is eventually sold to a brothel in Egypt…they eventually escape to London where they are living in squalor and where she prostitutes herself to make ends meet…she selects a client who is non other than Jack the Ripper… in the last scene, Alwa decides to leave her and is seen following a Salvation Army parade unawares of Lulu’s horrible fate up stairs…Jack the Ripper glances at him as he goes by


In real life Louis Brooks was “Lulu”, living a libertine life of excessive drinking, opulent rich life style, reckless spending, sexual liberation and experimentation including a lesbian affair with Greta Garbo…at the age of nine she had been sexually abused by a neighbor which began her intense relationship to sexuality…in an interview she states “I was a terrible actress, in the film I was simply playing myself which is the hardest thing in the world to do”…her lovers included Charley Chaplain, CBS president William Paley and many others…by the age of 32 she was forgotten; she had had several opportunities to revive her career but she hated hollywood and told them to go to hell…alone and alcoholic, she took a job as a sales clerk in a New York department store where no one suspected she was the former beauty queen and screen myth…later she worked for a call girl agency catering to rich clientele…she never had any children describing herself, in typical  self deprecating humor as “Baren Brooks”



Singer (Aquarius) – crushed by the death of his devoted mother in 1949, he vows to never sing again and to devote himself exclusively to his bus driving activity and the care of his two young sons; neverthless he loves to sing as he drives….one fateful day an agent for Horacio Salgan happens to board the bus and is amazed by the driver’s voice; he tells Horacio about him who promptly summons him for an audition and hires him on the spot…this would lead later to his association with Anibal Troilo, who would become a dear friend, and with whom his prodigious talent would begin to blossom…much later, after a life time of often heartbreaking disappointments,  basking in the fruits of stardom, he will be called “a living legend” …in his career his name would be associated with 2,500 songs and 101 LPs… among his greatest hits were “La Ultima Curda”, “Malena”, “Garua”, “Naranjo en Flor” and in the eyes of some, his greatest hit of all, “Balada Para Un Loco”…Roberto Goyeneche was born in the neighborhood of Saavedra, in Buenos Aires, a place whose streets were brimming with tango music…as a child he was called “canary” because of his blond hair and blue eyes.


His father owned an upholstery shop and in the evening he would relax by playing the piano and listening to his prized collection of Carlos Gardel recordings…when Roberto was five years old, his father unexpectedly died and the family was devasted; his mother  began working long and tiresome hours as a washer woman to support him and his brother Jorge…Roberto quit school early to work to help support the family; among the jobs he held were being a typist and runner for a law firm, taxi driver and bus driver…at the age of 18 he won a singing contest held at the Club Federal Argentino; a comedian and friend of orchestra, leader Raul Kaplan told him about the thin, blond singer….Roberto soon found himself singing with Kaplun on Radio Belgrano…during the day he would drive his bus and in the evenings he would sing with Kaplun as well as care for his family to whom he was deeply devoted…in 1990 he mentored a wavering Adriana Varela who would go on to become one of the best selling woman tango singer in history…he stared in the films “El Canto Cuenta Su Estoria” in 1976, “El Derecho A La Felicita” in 1968, and ” Sur” in 1988.


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


1842, January 22 – BIRTH OF ELOISA DE SILVA

Eloisa de Silva (Aquarius)came into contact with Argentina when she accompanied her father to Brasil to sell beef to feed the slaves…in the port of Buenos Aires she was first exposed to Tango and was immediately enthralled with the music; years later she would become the  first women in history to compose a tango…Eloisa de Silvia was born in ancient port city of Cadiz in Spain to a noble family; her father was a baron and her maternal grandmother was a duchess from the city of Foggia in the ancient greek province of Apuglia in southern Italy…as a child she showed keen interest in music and her father procured lessons for her with non other than Franz Liszt who was much in demand throughout europe and already in his time it was whispered that he was the greatest pianist of all time…Eloisa so impressed Liszt that he dubbed her “the Chopin in skirts”….at age 13 she played her first concert in Spain at the Teatro Real de Madrid; it was the first of many she would perform in Europe’s most elegant capitols…she would eventually win awards from her majestys Queen Isabel II of Spain and Queen Victoria of England…


As her father was the owner of large estates in Cuba, she settled there for some time…she developed a mystical connection to the land and people of Cuba and in her letters she liked to assert that she was Cuban…here she continued her musical studies with legendary American pianist Maureu Gottschaulk; she accompanied him to his performance at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires in 1868; on a stop over she met dashing, debonair Uruguayan nobleman Federico de Silva, “it was love at first sight” she would recount years later…two years later, she married him in Buenos Aires  at the church of La Piedad in a grand and luxurious ceremony befitting a royal head of Europe and which became part of popular myth for many generations to come…Federico de Silva was president of the philharmonic society and he encouraged his wife’s musical activities…one day he was stunned and outraged to find his wife dabbling in tango; it was the music of the petty criminals and whores….she however secretly continued; her tango compositions include “El Maco”, “El Queco” (whorehouse), Evangelica” (released as cuban tango), “El Mozo Rubio”, “Que Si, Que No”, “Marcha Funebre a Sarmiento” and many others that remain in private collections erroneously authored as “anonymous” …she was an inspiration to the first woman bandoneon player, Paquita Bernardo…she continued composing for many years long after her husband was deceased; she live to the age of 101


1913, January 15 – BIRTH OF FELIX LIPESKER

Composer, Bandoneonist (Capricorn) – Ana Dobin was in the final throes of death, her emaciated, twitching body in liver failure, the result of an abortion attempt using laundry bluing which had been recommended by a neighbor…her husband Jose was trying to encourage her but she was more interested in last-minute exhortations for the care of her six children, especially the three year old, that she would soon be leaving behind…she fell silent for a moment before adding one final request, that he should never bring another woman into her house…to this he consented and in fact Jose would never remarry…that evening Ana slipped into a coma and soon after passed away; she was thirty-five years old…Ana had arrived in Rosario, Argentina at the age of 17 with her husband Jose embarking on the arduous journey from Odessa, Russia where pogroms were a constant danger…Jose was a cap maker and in Rosario his small shop eventually grew to have 20 employees


Felix was the second oldest child and from the moment he touched his older brother German’s bandoneon he was transfixed by it and through his relentless tinkering, he learned to play it…German procurred lessons for him and one year later he was playing in the local cafes with his teacher’s orchestra… the first tango Felix composed  was “A Rosario Central”; inspired by the local football team of which the whole family were ardent fans…they sold the sheet music with a photo of the team on it for 10 cents in front of the stadium….news of this remarkable young man came to the ear of Julio de Caro in far away Buenos Aires and eventually he hired him…years later his wife would prevail upon him to renounce the tiring, sleepless musician’s life; Felix became an entrepreneur…he started a conservatory, developed a famous method for learning to play bandoneon which he sold by mail and even bought a music publishing company…among his numerous compositions are three waltzes which were hits “Romantica”, “Gotta de Lluvia” and “Tu Nombre” and the milonga “Arrabal”…his brother Leo, a violinist would join the Pedro Maffia and Miguel Calo orchestras…his brother Santos, a clarinetist and composer would conduct the staff orchestra of Radio El Mundo


  • CLICK HERE – to hear one of Felix’s greatest hits, the waltz “Gotta De LLuvia” (raindrops) sung in duet by Argentino Ledesma and Raul Lavie from the television program Grandes Valores Del Tango