An interview with Juan Polito

One of the biggest tragedies in tango music is that we don’t have any recorded music of Juan Polito when he was an important orchestra director, in the early 1940s, accompanied by Juan D’Arienzo’s previous musicians and singer Alberto Echagüe.

However, the interview below is a small step into uncharted territory, with topics like Polito’s early career and the tremendous work(load) of leading an orchestra. For those who don’t understand Spanish: I will try to summarize a few important points from the text.

  • Polito started his career in the orchestras of Juan Maglio Pacho (1925), Anselmo Aieta and ultimately D’Arienzo in 1927, for a year, until he decided to form his own band, which lasted until 1938, when he rejoined D’Arienzo’s team.
  • Polito mentions that while playing with Aieta, the bohemian nights of Buenos Aires and the approval by the tango dancers inspired his own compositions.
  • Polito is now working for Radio Argentina, with a very popular Alberto Echagüe. His daily routine comes down to composing music and rehearsing with the orchestra. The radio performances have to be prepared with a lot of hard work, and also a lot of dedication, because it’s tango. Polito says that as a tango musician, you need to ”feel” the music, and ”love” it.
  • His favourite tangos are his recent hits like ”La bruja” and ”Entre sueños”.
  • Polito considers organizing a serious tour through the rest of Argentina, which is another sign that the tango orchestras were not permanently based in Buenos Aires.

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