Di Sarli and poet Homero Manzi

This picture shows Carlos Di Sarli, who was not only leading an orchestra but also composing music, collaborating with the lyricist Homero Manzi, one of the leading figures of tango poetry and co-author of many important dance tracks in the milongas nowadays. This scene below is representative for the way tangos were born: usually, it was a product of teamwork by a musician and a poet, although the musicians weren’t always necessarily important orchestra directors like Di Sarli.

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Pugliese with orchestra, Chanel and Gauthier

1943 was an important year for Osvaldo Pugliese: after several years, he finally started recording (meaning we miss out on a lot of interesting material) and he hired Roberto Chanel, perhaps his most emblematic singer, who soon scored a big hit with the tango Farol. This picture shows Pugliese standing next to his prolific new partner (white suit, to the right) and Augusto Gauthier (other white suit), a singer who had been working with Pugliese for years but soon quit, leaving no recordings.

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Canaro with Francisco Amor and Ernesto Famá

Here is a picture of Francisco Canaro with his two singers in 1939 and 1940, the already famous Ernesto Famá (right) and Francisco Amor (left). The hiring of this duo led to a jealous departure of Roberto Maida and lasted as a succesful partnership with Canaro for two years, until the two singers left and founded their own orchestra together (more info will follow).

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Lomuto, Firpo, Canaro, experts of ALL instruments?!

This frivolous scene shows us a jazzy Lomuto mastering the saxophone, Firpo shaking it with his tambourine and a confident Canaro rocking it on a double bass. That must have sounded great, right? Well, these guys were surely talented, but perhaps even in their case, perhaps we should take this picture with a grain of salt… even the caption tells these kids to finally beháve for a change!

canaro firpo lomuto instruments

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Canaro’s favourite composition

There are many orchestras with many great recordings, and sometimes a few stand out (that is, at least, when judging from their extreme popularity in our present-day milongas), but without sources, it would be hard to determine what songs the orchestra leaders themselves preferred.

In the little text below, Francisco Canaro is asked about his favourite own composition. Perhaps to your surprise, ”Pirincho” (his nickname) mentions a rare tango, Sentimiento gaucho, he himself recorded several times, for instance in 1930, 1940 and 1951, yet is probably mostly known to today’s audience as a late D’Arienzo track. In fact, when hanging around at Club Gricel, Buenos Aires in August last year, I heard someone announce that Osvaldo Ramos, D’Arienzo’s last singer, had just died, and as far as I can remember, the DJ played exactly this tango.

In any case, in this little interview Canaro himself explains the inspiration, the motive behind this old tango:
”The streets. The old Paseo Colón, where that bar, called Sentimiento gaucho, used to be located, and in fact it still is. One day I randomly ended up there, in that bar, and a young, ragged man was desperate to share his story with me. Believe it or not, but I listened to all of it, and deeply impressed, I sat down at my piano, and with great ease this tango was born, which won the first prize in the Gran Splendid contest, in the year 1923.”

Sentimiento gaucho is the apparently true tale of a gaucho betrayed by the love of his life. Interestingly enough, the lyrics begin from the perspective of an anonymous narrator, supposedly Canaro, who enters an old bar and finds a poor drunkard, who then confesses his story to him. The article below, likewise, ends like this (first line of the lyric): ”And Francisco Canaro thinks back to that ‘old bar on Paseo Colón, the home of those who have lost all hope…”’

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Donato with Lita Morales and Horacio Lagos

Today’s picture shows us Edgardo Donato presumably discussing a song with two of his famous singers, Lita Morales and Horacio Lagos, who were also a married couple. There is a lot of uncertainty and speculation about their relationship and Romeo Gavio (Donato’s third singer), but we will keep looking for clues about this mysterious history.

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Hey you! Gotta pay your singer!

We’ve seen orchestra leaders with tangueras in their arms, or simply hanging around with cute groupies, or celebrating their birthdays, joking around in a bar, sliding down the stairs, just standing there being handsome with a cigarette, and the list goes on…

…. so, not a bad life at all. However, sometimes it was also necessary to pay up, and nobody really likes to fork out their earnings, do they? Well, maybe Julio de Caro was an exception, because on this picture he is seen pulling out his wallet with a big smile, while his singer Héctor Farrel points out his empty pockets. A man’s gotta eat, or play poker in a nearby cafe, but I guess his singing was worth the expense.

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