Posts Tagged ‘ tango steps ’

1903, April 8 – BIRTH OF DANIEL LOPEZ BARRETO

Composer, Pianist, Author (Aries) – Tangiers beguiled him and as she had done to William S Burroughs, to Jack Keroac, to Tenessee Williams, to Matisse…she seduced him and so Daniel Lopez Barreto did the unthinkable, he deserted the Argentine Navy and disappeared into Tangiers’ mysterious labyrinths of spys and smugglers…but it was not easy and out of desperation he joined the French Foreign Legion, finding himself oddly at home with its failed revolutionaries and trouble makers from all over the world…but fate had a surpise in store for him, enjoying himself at the “Cabaret Lumiere Du Midi” the night before shipping out, some drunken English sailors suddenly became rowdy for the lack of the promised live music…one of Daniel’s campanions suggested to owner that Daniel play the piano; his debut was so successful that it turned into an eight month engagement…one evening a German couple happened to come in; she was a voice and music professor and was so impressed with Daniel’s talent that she took him under her wing…they took  him to the magical island of Ibizia where through stern, disciplined training she perfected his talent…together they would perform classical music concerts throughout europe in splendor and elegance he had never imagined

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But the call of his native land was strong and against the counsel of his benefactress he decided to return to Argentina where he was immediately arrested; he was sentenced to one year in prison at hard labor…upon his release, for a while, he began earning his living as a boxer and a pianist billing himself as “The Boxing Pianist”….now back in Buenos Aires, he began working in a music publishing house where one day the legendary, Roberto Firpo happened to hear him play piano and asked him to join his orchestra…in 1929 he formed a trio to play on Radio Nacional, later Radio Belgrano…he accompanied renown tenor Tito Schippa in one of his celebrated concerts in Buenos Aires…he composed the music for a number of films including “Canillita” in 1936, and “El Hombre Del Sabado” in 1947….either as a composer or as a lyricist, he would record over 100 tangos…his music and his curiosity would take him around the world Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States; his highlight was undoubtably winning in a prize at the prestigious Mozart Festival in Salzburg…he lived on Easter Island for many months to study the language of the natives and he published a book in the United States on his findings….at the age of seventy nine after an incredible life he passed away at his home in Buenos Aires

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CLICK HERE– http://www.todotango.com/

spanish/las_obras/Tema.aspx?id=BJYAM8BYPRQ= to hear “La Uruguayita Lucia” with lyrics by Daniel Lopez Barreto and music by Eduardo Pereyra performed by the Ricardo Tanturi Orchestra sung by Enrique Campos

2000, April 4 – PUBLISHED “SEVENTH GRADE TANGO”

Scott and Rebecca win the tango contest at their Middle T. Harris School dance contest and only then do they allow themselves what they believe is a brotherly kiss, after all he has been a dear friend since grade school and besides that, he is going out with her best friend Samantha…but something unexpected happens, tango turns into a tangle as they discover, “seven seconds in heaven” and the all-consuming crush she had on the handsome dance instructor Mr. De Palma begins to fade…in the drama that follows, Samantha proves to be a less than ideal friend…Elisabeth Levy’s “Seventh Grade Tango” is a masterpiece; it artfully portrays Rebecca’s thoughts and emotions as she is confronted with growing up and becoming a teenager… Seventh Grade Tango”  is one of those rare books that universally earned the highest accolades possible from a wide array of observers…one girl wrote, “I would recommend this book to anyone because it is so good, well, maybe not to boys“…

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Still another said, “I remember checking this book out of the library over 50 times when I was in sixth grade”…it is not unlike the film “Another Cinderella Story” where two young people discover love through a sizzling tango dance…author Elizabeth Levy had her first success in the third grade when a local newspaper published one of her poems….it was a harbinger of things to come; she has published over eighty children’s and young adult books winning a number of awards including “Outstanding Book of the Year” from the New York Times in 1977…she grew up in Buffalo, New York where she says she loved to daydream and it is through her fantasies that she learned to be a good writer; she once had a crush on Elvis…at Brown University where she majored in history and after college she went to New York City where she worked for ABC Television and for the legendary Senator Robert Kennedy…she says, “I write alot about real people who make mistakes in their lives…I like to inspire my audience to use their imagination”..

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1948, March 24 – 1ST RECORDED, “UNA CARTA PARA ITALIA”

“Shameless propaganda !” was how this tango was angrily described by its detractors…it was in fact propaganda for the Juan Peron regime…composer of “Una Carta Para Italia” Santos Lipseker was not only a prodigious and accomplished composer but a good businessman…however he was also known for his generosity, it was not uncommon for him to take the whole orchestra to dinner…the lyrics of “Una Carta Para Italia”, written by poet Reinaldo Yiso, are a letter from a young man to his mother back in Italy in which he describes how life is so much better in Argentina than in poor Italy all designed to sing the praises of Juan Peron’s governance…it is true that when Juan Peron came to power, for a brief period, the economy of Argentina went through a dramatic revival; in the 1920s Argentina had been the eighth richest country in the world only to crumble through a combination of the great depression and military dictatorship from which it has never recovered

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“Una Carta Para Italia” was recorded by the Francini-Pontier Orchestra with the voice of  Roberto Ruffino…Enrique Francini and Armando Pontier were both born in the town of Zarate, 100 kilometers north of Buenos Aires…in 1939 they began their careers together with the newly formed Miguel Calo Orchestra…six years later they debuted their own orchestra at the mythical “Tango Bar” with two young voices which in time would evolve, arguably, into the two greatest singers in tango history, Raul Beron and Alberto Podestà…along with Roberto Ruffino all three would see great success with Francini – Pontier…less known is the fact that Ruffino besides being a great singer was also a composer and lyricist; among his compositions are “El Bazarde los Jugetes” which would be made into a hit by Alberto Podestà in the mid 50s…Armando Pontier was the composer of some of the most beautiful tangos in history like “Trenzas”, “Corazon No Le Hagas Caso” and “Cada Dia Te Estrano Mas”…on Christmas Day of 1983, no longer able to silence the voices that haunted, he took his own life

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CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErLnFXnAxEo to hear “Una Carta Para Italia” which interestingly opens with the classic Neapolitan song “Santa Lucia”

1914, March 9 – PREMIERE OF “TANGO TANGLES”

By now tango madness  had swept the world over, it was all the rage in Paris, Berlin, London and so when director Mack Sennet read in the newspaper about an upcoming tango contest, he had a flash…he would send his film crew to the dance hall and improvise one of his famous “shorts”…in fact the whole of “Tango Tangles” is only twelve minutes long…”shorts” were low-budget, fast directed, improvised films which the viewing public at the turn of the century learned to love…actual tango dancing in Tango Tangles appears only briefly in the opening scene where a couple is dancing what appears to be a parody of a tango which metamorphosis into a ballet style movement…Charlie Chaplain plays an inebriated dandy who shows up at the “Dark Town Strutter Ball”, a  masked affair, makes a pass at the hat-check girl played by Sadie Lamp….

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Her favors however are being sought by two other characters, the orchestra leader played by Ford Sterling and the clarinetist Roscoe Arbuckle, all legends of the silent movie era…there is of course the requisite slapstick, with the long punches and the inadvertent falls, a genre created by director Mack Sennet which would lead to stellar success for his Keystone Studios; it was he who discovered Chaplain about whom George Bernard Shaw would say, “he was the only genius to come out of the movie industry”…Chaplain’s role was one of the few where he did not appear as his signature “tramp and mustache” character…Chaplain’s many loves would include the sex goddess Louise Brooks…Mack Sennet, Canadian born actor, comedian, musician and director, would produce more than 1000 silent films in his 25 year career …his short “Wrestling Swordfish” won an academy award in 1932…..in the final scene of Tango Tangles, Ford Sterling and Charlie Chaplain have punched each other out and are lying on the floor exhausted and Sterling finally says, “I don’t want her, you can have her”

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CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/

watch?v=YqgSgkz_Obw to see “Tango Tangles” directed by Mack Sennet

1921, March 6 – Premiere “Four Horsemen and The Apocalypse”

Julio is beguiled by the seductive girl dancing the tango…with a confident, menacing stare he strides to the center of the dance floor, with gaucho whip in hand and asks the man let him cut in….in a cavalier manner the man simply ignores Julio and continues to dance with the girl…Julio is enraged and shoves the man brusquely away from the girl…the man takes his knife out and lunges at him but Julio adeptly evades the knife and hits the man on the head with the handle of his whip.. the man falls down and Julio takes over the girl to finish with a spectacular tango dance to the enthusiastic applause of the audience...it is precisely this scene from “Four Horsemen and the Apocalypse” which launched the tango craze throughout the world…based on Vasco Ibanez’s classic novel, several studios had tried unsuccessfully to adapt the novel but it was writer June Mathis who finally succeeded…it was she who hired Rodolfo Valentino, an obscure B film struggling actor who had worked as a taxi dancer…the tango scene in fact was not part of the original story but Mathis included to take advantage of Valentino’s dancing skills

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It premiered to great acclaim and had a huge cultural impact; it became the top grossing film of 1921 and the first ever to earn one million dollars at the box office…it turned Rodolfo Valentino into a superstar and launched the tango craze; June Mathis would become one of the first powerful women executives in Hollywood…Valentino was born in Castellaneta, Puglia to an Italian father and a French mother…he spent some idle time in Paris and finally returned to Puglia but unable to get a job he left for the United States and arriving there on December 23, 1913…he ran out of money and for a while he lived on the streets of New York…he eventually moved to Los Angeles where he taught dancing to older high society women…on August 15, 1926 he collapsed at the Hotel Ambassador in New York; he was operated on, for a ruptured appendix; surgery had gone well and a recovery was expected…however, he unexpectedly developed pleuritis in his left lung and fell into a coma..he passed away on August 23, 1926; he was 31 years old…interestingly, the film inspired a young Betty Davis to try acting; in 1999, the American Film Institute rated Davis as number two on the list of the “Greatest Female Stars of All Time”

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1934, March 5 – GARDEL SINGS ON NBC, NEW YORK, 3 PM

This was one of the very first broadcasts of its kind in history…while Carlos Gardel was singing at  the NBC studios in New York, through a short wave radio hook-up, he was being accompanied by his long time guitarists Guillermo Barbieri and Angel Riverol back in Buenos Aires…the performance was being transmitted throughout Argentina by Radio Splendido transmitters and throughout South America through its affiliated radio stations with the assistance of Radio Belgran0…he had sung for the first time on NBC just a few months earlier, on new year’s eve, December 31 at 10.30 PM…his break had come during  the previous summer when he had met fellow Uruguayan, Hugo Mariani on vacation; Hugo was one of the key NBC orchestra conductor’s and had evaluated Gardel over a series of performances until one day he said, “Carlos, I think you are ready for New York”…this was a dream come true for Gardel; NBC was the most popular radio station in the world and the US market the most prestigious…

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The initial performance had gone so well that Gardel was given a contract to sing a series of weekly half hour performances; NBC was paying him $315.00 per week…this was a huge sum of money for a nation which was in the throes of a deep depression…newspaper mentions of his performances appeared all over the country along side the names of Jack Benny, Charlie Chaplain, Will Rogers, Eddie Cantor…NBC made an effort to sell Gardel to the broader American market by recording him in English but in the end, they gave up on the project; his English was not very good…his translater in New York was a thirteen year old bandoneonist by the name of Astor Piazzolla whose father had moved the family to New York some years earlier….Gardel was so impressed with young Astor’s talent that he had him accompany him on the NBC Symphony Orchestra for recording sessions…he also invited Astor to accompany him to on his forthcoming tour of South America but because of Astor’s young age his father finally did not give his consent…just a few months later Gardel would die in the fiery airplane crash in the Medellin, Colombia where all, save one guitarist, would perish

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1900, March 2 – BIRTH OF KURT WEILL

“Hurry, hurry Kurt…we have little time to waste, the car is waiting” he heard his friend’s panicked voice cry out; Kurt hastily grabbed the sketches of the second symphony he had been working on and with nothing but the clothes on his back, he rushed out…in fact merely  hours later the Gestapo arrived at his door but by now he was on his way to Paris: it was March of 1933…just months later, for the play “Marie Galante”, he would compose the immortal “Youkali Tango” whose mesmerizing lyrics say, “Youkali is the land of our desires, happiness, pleasure…Youkali is the land where we forget all of our worries…the star we follow is, Youkali…but it is a dream,a folly for there is no Youkali”…in his short and troubled life, he witnessed the turbulent, first 50 years of the twentieth century;  a period of political instability, upheaval and decadence leading to human carnage as the world had never seen before…Kurt would leave a substantial and varied body of work  including cantatas, chamber music, orchestral works, songs, musicals…perhaps his best known ballad is “Mack the Knife” which would be a massive hit for Bobby Darin

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His most famous pieces are the stage works he wrote in collaboration with playwrite Bertold Brechtoddly their estrangement would come finally over politics; Kurt was a passionate socialist, Bertold a passionate communist…he was born in the industrial city of Dessau, Germany…his father a synagogue cantor and composer gave him his first music lessons…young Kurt soon earned the nickname of the “attic composer” for his habit of secluding himself in the attic to compose…in September of 1935 he sailed for New York to work on Broadway where among others he would work with Ira Gershwin…the relationship with his beloved wife Lotte Lenya was turbulent and one day she ran away with Austrian tenor Baron Otto Von Pasetti and the couple divorced; four years later they would remarry…she would become a passionate supporter of his work…observing the intense and often violent encounters of political parties after World War I,  Kurt was to write ominously “the mob is just waiting for the call to pillage and revolt and their favorite target will be the jews”

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