Posts Tagged ‘ zen tango ’

1901, March 27 – BIRTH OF ENRIQUE SANTOS DISCEPOLO

Poet, Composer (Aires) – the best doctors of Buenos Aires were mystified… they had no explanation for the strange infection that was slowly withering away the body of Enrique Santos Discepolo….the truth was that he was dying of a broken heart…he had become ostracized for being a Peronista by his friends and fellow artists….they refused to speak with him, he was hooted in theaters and whistled in restaurants, pranks to embarrass the staging of his plays were not uncommon; he went into a deep depression and lost his appetite….but from the very beginning of his career it was the injustice and suffering around him which were precisely the themes of his legendary tangos “Que Vachachè”,  ”Yira, Yira”, “Calambache” which had made them popular all over the world…in his immensely popular radio commentary he said it all in his refrain, “I did not invent Juan Peron, he was born out of your corrupt governments, out of the misery of the poor whom you massacred, out of your cruelty and arrogance”…on 23 December 1951, at 11:20 pm the great poet and composer finally released the grip of the hand of his dear friend Osvaldo Miranda and died; he was fifty years old…

***

Enrique Santos Discepolo was born in the neighborhood of “Once” in Buenos Aires to an immigrant father from Napoli who was an accomplished musician…nevertheless, both he and his wife died when Enrique was very young…he was left to the care of a rich, austere uncle who made him wear a tuxedo to dinner; in time a genius would emerge who not only wrote the lyrics to his tangos but the music as well, albeit with two fingers on the piano as he had no formal musical training…at the age of sixteen he began acting in his older brother’s plays…the first glimmer of greatness broke through in 1928 when Azucena Maizani sang his “Esta Noche Me Emborracho”…just days later it was popular all over the country; it soon caught on in Europe as well…this was also the year that he met Spanish singer Tania who would become his wife and life’s companion to the end of his days…his great masterpiece, ”Cambalache” had the peculiar privilege of being banned by all military dictatorships after 1943…Carlos Gardel’s recording of his “Yira, Yira” in 1930 is considered one of the greatest events in tango history…his collaboration with composer Mariano Mores would produce the immortal “Uno” which has been called the national anthem of tango…

______________

watch?v=PGVXtCCR9pk to hear Virginia Luque sing Discepolo’s “Sueno de Juventud” for which he wrote both the music and the lyrics

1936, March 26 – PREMIERE OF FILM “CANILLITA”

Florencio Sanchez, eighteen years old, dreamt of marrying his sweetheart but his job as a journalist just barely provided enough to live on and when he went to see his sweetheart was embarrassed to put on, his one and only threadbare suit…watching the rascally, mischievous, bold newspaper boys jumping off and on the trams shouting the headlines to passengers and passersby, he was inspired to write a play; “Canillita” which referred to the long thin legs on which they scurried about…to his astonishment, when it was premiered on October 1, 1902, it was not only immensely popular but would capture the imagination of the world inspiring similar characters all over the world….Astor Piazzolla, for example, would play newspaper boy “Canillita” in Carlos Gardel’s film “El Dia Que Me Quieras”…instead the film “Canillita” premiering on March 26, 1936, is a musical comedy in which a young girl falls in love with a singer and elects to runaway with him rather than marrying a store keeper to whom she is promised…

***

Directed by Lisandro De La Tea it stars singers Amanda Ledesma, Sabina Olmos and Principe Azul…it features Pedro Maffia and his orchestra playing the theme tango “Canillita” which was composed by Julio Cesar Sanders…Amanda Ledesma was a simple shop girl who loved to sing who reluctantly entered a singing contest and won which launched a long and glorious career…this was the first film for Sabina Olmos; thirty more would follow and she would marry legendary singer Charlo…however, years later, Charlo now dead and she penniless and all but forgotten, she would take her own life by jumping from a high story building…Principe Azul was a highly paid singer and the powerful star making machine of the United States had selected him as the new Carlos Gardel; in fact he was on his way to New York to sign a contract with NBC, when he was suddenly struck with a serious illness which swiftly took his life just two days short of his 34th birthday

_______________

letra.aspx?idletra=3023 to hear another inspiration, “Canillita, Canillita” performed by the Francisco Pracanico Orchestra with the voice of Sofia Bozan, 1928

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

***

“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

_________________

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”

1898, March 23 – BIRTH OF FRANCISCO DE CARO

Composer, Pianist (Aries) – it typified his life that lying on the hospital bed with the oxygen mask over his emaciated face, he was more concerned for the family of his dear friend, bandoneonist Gabriel Clausi “Chula” than for himself, “take care of them, look after them Chula”, he insisted…just a few minutes later, he passed away; he was 78 years old…Francisco De Caro had been the creative arm of the legendary team with his brother Julio de Caro; together they revolutionized the way tango was written and interpreted, founding the “Guardia Nueva” movement…many years later Astor Piazzolla would honor their contribution with his composition “Decarissimo”…the great fame that his brother Julio would attain was in no small part due to Francisco’s artistic leadership displayed in compositions like “Sueno Azul” and “Paginas Muertas”; Julio was headstrong, entrepreneurial and famously difficult to deal with…Francisco was the eldest of twelve children born to Giuseppe de Caro De Sica (an ancestor of legendary film director Vittoriio De Sica”)…

***

Giuseppe had been the director of the conservatory of the prestigious “Teatro della’Scala de Milano” and commensurate with his august background he dreamed of  seeing his sons in the rarefied world of classical music; he was Francisco’s first piano teacher…however unbeknownst to the authoritarian Giuseppe, the boys began sharing their classical musical skills with the seedy world of tango…when Julio was nineteen years old, his father confronted him one dawn as he was returning from a gig and gave him the choice of either continuing with serious studies or leaving the house; Julio chose to leave the house and his brother Francisco followed him soon after…their estrangement would only end twenty years later when their father would show up at one of their performances and with tears in his eyes asked for forgivenesses…in 1923 the brothers formed their first quartet and began playing at the mythical Cafe Colon…they would eventually embark on a very successful tour of Europe during which they entertained dignitaries including  Charlie Chaplain and Baron Von Rothschild

______________

CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=SSZY161Xtz8 to hear the Osvaldo Fresedo version of “Sueno Azul” composed by Francisco De Caro

1950, March 22 – PREMIERE “AL COMPAS DE TU MENTIRA”

Renown Argentine actor, Pedro Quartucci, who stars in this film was the protagonist of a fascinating story; as a young actor he had a relationship with an aspiring actress Eva Duarte the future wife of Juan Peron,”Evita” with whom he supposedly had a daughter “Nilda”…the little girl however was brought up as their natural daughter by himself and his wife Felisa Borborino…years later Nilda, now grown up and married, heard from her husband that her real mother had been Eva Peron…when she confronted her father, he admitted that it was true and her mother Felisa, at the eleventh hour, confirmed the story as well…Father Benitez, the priest present at the deathbed of Evita wrote that in her confession she spoke of “the great pain in her life” and he hinted that it was the fact of never having known a child born to her…besides this Pedro was a professional boxer before he became an actor…competing as a feather weight, he won a bronze metal in the 1924 Olympics…

***

“Al Compas De Tu Mentira”, adapted from Oscar Wilde’s, “On The Importance of Being Ernest”, was directed by Hector Canzani and is a musical comedy with lots of dancing and tango music…Canzani spent most of his career as a poet and screenwriter but this film, which was moderately successful, bestowed him notiriety…this was to be the last film of Juan D’arienzo and his orchestra…other notables in the film include the Domingo Federico Orchestra with singer Jorge Casal singing the theme song “Al Compas del Corazon”…Edmundo Rivera, the only bass in a world of tenors and baritones,  sings “No Te Enganes Corazon” composed by Rodolfo Sciamarella…the ill-fated Osmar Maderna “the Chopin of Tango”, who would die young in an airplane crash, plays his “Lluvia de Estrellas” which is indeed reminiscent of Chopin’s ballads; he is accompanied by the Alfredo De Angelis Orchestra…

________________

2008, March 21 – RELEASED, “MATTSSON’S TANGO”

One reviewer said of “Mattsson Tango”, “I’ll go out on a limp here and say this is the best work he has ever done”...it is indeed a great leap forward for Lars Eric Mattsson who is Finland’s number one hard rock guitarist  and whose specific genre, described as “neo/classic metal hard rock”, would seem far cry from the sophisticated world of tango…however, this is, in a sense, a return to his roots for Lars recalls nostalgically as a little boy, his grandfather listening to treasured recordings of the legendary Olavi Virta, the king of Finnish tango…tango in fact, from the year 1913 when the Finns first discovered it, became the national music of Finland….in its history, tango has had far-reaching influence on many cultural forms around the world;  this is certainly the first time to evolve into “classic metal tango”…For his Mattsson’s Tango he enlisted the help of stunning vocalist Adrienne Antal whom one producer described as “the best female vocalist I have ever heard”

***

Lars was born in the Aland Islands, the Swedish speaking region of Finland…it was as a boy that he discovered the guitar and it became his passion; in time he developed not only an amazing technique but a style all his own which has won him a legion of fans all other world…later he also became an accomplished pianist…he was a young, starving guitarist, when he was discovered by producer Mike Varney who first exposed him to the world in an introductory article about him in his renowned “Guitar Player Magazine”, the voice of his Shrapnel Records Label…Lars’s first recording was a four song compilation in 1985 which was well received by the public; he soon after founded  a band called “Vision” which was especially popular with the Japanese public…from there his success skyrocketed leading to the formation of his own production company “Lion Music” which gradually evolved into a record label

___________________

CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34fToAbQZeQ Mattsson’s Tango with the voice of Adrienn Antal

1941, March 20 – Alfredo De Angelis Debuts, “CAFE MARZOTTO”

He had waited a long time to start his own orchestra…most would-be greats jumped into the treacherous waters of entrepreneurship much younger (and most failed) and yet from the moment of his debut at the mythical Cafe Marzotto he would see stellar success…he would be criticized as being a merry-go-round orchestra for like Juan D’arienzo, adopting the 2/4 beat, would make it eminently danceable and eminently successful…another thing that differentiated him from his competition was its stability; his core group of musicians would remain with him for his and their entire career…another unique thing about the Alfredo De Angelis orchestra was that it popularized the tango duet, premier among them, the one composed of Carlos Dante and Julio Martel…Alfredo De Angelis was born in the charming village of Androgue just outside of Buenos Aires; years later it would be the inspiration for one of  Jorge Luis Borges’s books of poetry….

***

From early age, young Alfredo demonstrated precociousness and at the age of nine began playing piano for silent movies at the Androgue Cinema…Alfredo impressed noted singer Juan Gilberti who gave him his first job as an accompanist…his first break came when he was invited to play with the renown Anselmo Aieta Orchestra…he developed a name for himself and invitations to play with other important orchestras followed…his orchestra was on the inaugural program of the legendary “Glostora Tango Club” and would perform there for 25 years…he would record 486 tangos with the Odeon Label between 1943 and 1977…the Cafe Marzotto mixed tango, football and horse races and made history…it gave its start to a young Attilo Stampone who played there in the 1930s; in 1946 a young and wavering Astor Piazzolla walked in to ask Attilo to join his group…it launched the career of Osmar Maderna, “the Chopin of tango” who would tragically die at the age of thirty-three in an airplane crash.

__________________

1955, March 19 – SATCHMO RECORD, “KISS OF FIRE” (EL CHOCLO)

Lester Allen and Robert Hill were basking in the fame and glory of their new hit “Kiss of Fire”, when someone finally noticed that it was oddly similar to the immortal tango “El Choclo”…in fact after intense proceedings they finally conceded that it was in fact “El Choclo” and thereafter, on all sheet music, the name of “Angel Villoldo” the orignal composer, preceded theirs…Kiss of fire was a major hit for Georgia Gibbs in 1952 reaching all the way to number 2 on the Billboard Charts…another popular version was the one by Louis Armstrong “Satchmo” which was recorded on March 19, 1955…other celebrated versions were by Nat King Cole, Connie Francis and in Finland, by the “King of Finnish Tango”, Olavi Virta…seeking to capitalize on the immense popularity of  ”Kiss of Fire” a film, directed by Joseph M. Newman and starring Jack Palance, was released in 1955…part of the background music is a flamenco like version of “Kiss of Fire”…

***

Angel Villoldo, the original composer of “Kiss of Fire” (El Choclo) was a fascinating man, a sort of Ernest Hemingway and Bob Dylan all in one…he was born on February 16, 1861 into a destitute family in the neighborhood of Barracas, Buenos Aires…he quit school early to work and did many jobs including teamster, herdsman and circus clown before devoting himself to music…..he would become a prolific composer and lyricist of some of the most beloved tangos in history…”El Choclo” became instantly popular all over the world and the story is told that German officers wishing to honor a visiting Argentinean dignitary mistakenly played “El Choclo” believing it to be the national anthem…when it first premiered in the exclusive “El Americano” restaurant in Buenos Aires, the leader of the orchestra had to disguise it by calling it “Danza Criolla” as tango was considered music of the pimps and prostitutes

______________

CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCXxJFmfGVc&playnext=1&list=
PL2E1CB4660C675B65 Louis Armstrong “Sarchmo” sing “Kiss of Fire (El Ch0clo)

1889 March 18 – BIRTH OF HECTOR BLOMBERG

Poet, Writer, Journalist (Pisces) – he flung open the door, rushed in and started grabbing  a few clothes,“where are you going son” his mother asked worriedly,“to Norway” he responded…that afternoon while walking the waterfront, deep in thought, he had suddenly stopped in front of a massive ship and had been seized by an inexplicable urge, “the ship leaves at 12 noon” the sailor on guard had told him…Hector Blomberg was gone for two years during which he visited far away lands and exotic ports of call; he returned with a suitcase full of poems…at the age of seventeen he had received his first recognition, a gold medal for his poem “Ode To Spain”…in time he would become one of Argentina’s great men of letters leaving behind an extensive collection of poetry books, historical novels, plays, newspaper articles, children’s books and several immortal tangos…being fluent in German and English he even found time to translate noted writers in those languages

***

He was born in the neighborhood of Montserrat in Buenos Aires; his mother, originally from Paraguay, was herself a writer and a translator…his father was an engineer and a descendant of a long line of Norwegian sailors from whom he fell heir to his passion for the sea and for travel…sometime in the late 1920s he was introduced to singer Ignacio Corsini with whom a lifelong friendship would flourish…in collaboration with guitarist Enrique Maciel they would author a waltz “La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” which was a great hit and would launch a renowned career for Corsini; the three would collaborate on a number of other successful tango like “El Adios de Gabino Ezeiza” and “La Que Morio en Paris”…”La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” was originally on of Hector’s historical novels which continues in circulation to our very day as a collector’s item at prices many times its original cost…the kind of person Hector was, revealed itself in 1920 in a poetry contest; when it came to his attention that he would be awarded first prize, he argued with the jury that the second place designee’s entry was better than his  and really deserving of first place and in fact the order of the awards was changed

________________

1861, March 17 – ITALY IS UNITED…TANGO IS CREATED !

Perhaps the single biggest reason for the creation of tango was the unification of Italy which radically upended society  leading to massive emigration of Italians to Argentina….Tango is overwhelmingly a creation of Italian immigranst in Argentina…furthermore, it is part of  a history of Italian musical traditions which from the time of the Renaissance were being exported to royal courts as far away as Russian…the unification of Italy broke down the land feudal system which had survived in the south of Italy since the middle ages…the well intended redistribution of land had the unintended effect of  creating smaller and less efficient plots of land…at the same time improved hygiene and access to healthcare led to longer life spans and a dramatic increase in population…the emigration was mostly southern and rural; the great Ignacio Corsini, for example, was born in Troina, Sicily…the only large city to experience emigration was Napoli…with unification, it had gone from being the capital of a grand kingdom to being just another big city leading to a loss of jobs and loss of investment and consequently high unemployment rates…

***

Adding to its woes were a series of cholera epidemics beginning in the 1880s which also encouraged emigration; in fact tango has strong Neapolitan musical roots…another effect of unification was that the state took over control of emigration by setting standards, licensing emigration agents, providing health care at ports of embarkation  and making agreements with receiving countries to protect the immigrants and to provide health care upon their arrival…in 1903 the government organized the ports of embarkation in Palermo, Naples and Genoa…Italian unification can be traced to the defeat of Napoleon (himself of Italian descent)…his installed monarchs tried to save their thrones by stoking nationalist sentiments which inadvertently inspired the move to the  unification of Italy…inspired by the French Revolution, a secret organization known as “Carbonari” developed to fight for Italian unification which with the leadership of the charismatic Giuseppe Garibaldi eventually prevailed…by one estimate, 80% of tango composers were of Italian descent; two of its greatest, Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzollawere of Italian jewish descent

_________________

CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvFt615a14A&feature=related to hear the “Marcia Reale”, the official national anthem at the time of unification…it was composed by Giuseppe Gabetti in 1931 as the hymn of the Royal House of Savoy