D’Agostino the Dancer!

According to legend, Ángel D’Agostino was an actual tango dancer and prided himself on making tango music for dancers. This picture shows him at least in a tango pose and with a woman in his arms, while singer Ángel Vargas serves as his enthusiastic audience.

Previous “dancer” posts: D’Arienzo, Donato, Lomuto & Canaro, Garcia.

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Tanturi, a medical doctor?!

Alberto Castillo is famous for having been both a wildly popular singer and a gynaecologist, perhaps not the best combination for any serious medical practice, and indeed, he had to quit his job in the hospital because, typically, girls started flooding the place.

But who knew that his boss, Ricardo Tanturi, who was leading a major tango orchestra, was also working as a dentist? (this is what other sources say…) I am surprised he found the time to continue with this work, and perhaps he eventually quit, but in any case, there are several signs he did have an official background as a doctor.

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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!

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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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