Anibal Troilo, The Man Behind ‘The Troilo Sound’

Anibal Troilo, Argentine Tango Composer

“The Troilo Sound” in tango is described as “a rich, fluid approach to the tango which juxtaposed staccato and legato figures.” The man responsible for this is the Argentine musician Anibal Carmelo Troilo (nicknamed ‘Pichuco’), who is considered a tango pioneer.

argentine tango classes near me

Troilo was born on July 11, 1914 in Buenos Aires and, at an early age, was spellbound by tango. When he was 10 years old, he persuaded his mother to by him his own bandoneon after hearing its sound in cafes all over his neighborhood. Troilo’s first performance for an audience was at age 11, on a stage near a noisy fruit and vegetable market. Troilo’s mastery of the bandoneon is hailed as one of the best ever. He played the instrument for a number of orchestras including the sextet led by the violinist Elvino Vardaro and the pianist Osvaldo Pugliese. Later, he became part of a larger orchestra with the violinist Julio De Caro, to participate in a contest. Troilo also joined Cuarteto del 900, with the accordeonist Feliciano Brunelli, Elvino Vardaro and the flutist Enrique Bour.

In 1937, Troilo assembled his own orchestra and by the 1940s, was one of the most influential figures in Argentinian music. He had an eye for talent and people like Astor Piazzolla, bassist Kicho Diaz and singers Francisco Fiorentino, Alberto Marino, Floreal Ruiz and Roberto Goyeneche are just some of the other tango legends that played for him.

As a musician, Troilo has been described as “a master of personality and feeling in his expression.” He was usually seen playing his bandoneon bent slightly forward, eyes closed and chin hanging. Troilo once remarked, “It is said that I am very often moved and that I cry. Yes, it is true. But I never do these things for trivial reasons.”

As an orchestra leader, it’s been said of Troilo, “He dug an undoubtedly tango style, balanced, without [histrionics] and of undeniable taste. He knew how to choose the best players according to his musical ideas, he selected good singers, who beside him achieved their best, to such an extent that when they left the orchestra, only partially and for a short time could they reach a similar level. He also knew how to choose a repertory without having to accept the conditions suggested by the recording companies.”

Troilo also set the foundation for the “nuevo tango”(“new tango”) movement in the 1950s popularised by Piazzolla. His orchestra worked with singers like Alberto Marino, Floreal Ruiz, Edmundo Rivero, Jorge Casal, Raúl Berón, Roberto Rufino, Ángel Cárdenas, Elba Berón, Tito Reyes and Nelly Vázquez. Musicians who played under him also became band leaders of their own, such as Orlando Goñi, José Basso, Carlos Figari, Osvaldo Manzi, Osvaldo Berlingieri and José Colángelo.

His instrumentals, particularly those with Florentino, are a favourite of contemporary tango salons (milongas) for social dancing. Troilo continued to make recordings until his death on May 18, 1975. The poet Adrian Desiderato said of Troilo’s death, “It was on an eighteenth day of May when the bandoneon happened to let Pichuco fall from its hands.”

Argentine Tango Composers eBook

Tango Composer, Angel D’Agostino

Angel D'Agostino, Argentine Tango Composer

Argentine tango orchestra leader and pianist Angel D’Agostino did not achieve the same recognition as the likes of Anibal Troilo, Carlos Di Sarli, Osvaldo Fresedo or Juan D’Arienzo, but he was still a respected and admired figure in tango. D’Agostino was one half of “Los Dos Angeles” (“The Two Angels”). Jose Angel Lomio or Angel Vargas the singer of the two was also called “El Ruiseñor de las Calles Porteñas” (“The Nightingale of the Buenos Aires Streets”).

Before he became a professional in the tango scene, he was born Angel Domingo Emilio D’Agostino on 25 May 1900 in Buenos Aires. He was born into music, with a father and uncles who were all musicians. There was a piano at home that grew up playing often. Musicians Manuel Aróztegui and Adolfo Bevilacqua were frequent visitors and the latter’s tango, “Independencia,” made its debut at D’Agostino’s home in 1910. The young D’Agostino studied at a conservatory and even played in public. Their group was a trio, which included his neighbour Juan D’Arienzo. They were infantile at the time and when they weren’t paid for their performance at the Zoological Garden, they started a fire, which was soon put out.

D’Agostino quit high school, choosing to focus on music. He played for aristocratic families’ parties and at a night local, where he tried different rhythms, like ragtime. In 1920, he assembled his first orchestra, playing a mix of tango and jazz. One of his musicians was Agesilao Ferrazzano, considered by D’Agostino as the best tango violinist. Others included Juan D’Arienzo, Anselmo Aieta and Ciriaco Ortiz. When silent films were playing, D’Agostino’s group was one of the first orchestras to play at the cinemas.

The cabaret Palais de Glace, among others, hired his orchestra group, but they never went on tour. Supposedly, this was due to D’Agostino’s mysterious behaviour. He was something of a character in Buenos Aires. He was a skilled gambler and stubborn bachelor. Eva Peron once gifted him a clock, one of three of a unique design.

Tango - Angel D'agostino and Angel VargasIn 1932, D’Agostino met Angel Vargas, but they did not team up until 1940. Together, they recorded 93 pieces. In 1934, D’Agostino collaborated with Aníbal Troilo and the singer Alberto Echagüe to form an orchestra strictly dedicated to tango. There was also a time during the 1930s when he performed in an orchestra under the name “Carlo Vargas.”

D’Agostino’s style has been described as “folk-like” and “simple,” but he succeeded because of his clear language and simplicity. Angel Vargas’ voice, considered sweet and charismatic, allowed for an expression that made the audience understand the lyrics. D’Agostino himself described his style: “I shaped my orchestras with two conceptions that I never gave up: respect for the melodic line and rhythmic emphasis to make the dancing easier. When the singer breaks into the scene and displaces the musician from the spotlight, the orchestra was structured in such a way that music and singing did not interrupt the possibility of dancing. For that, the singer had to turn into one more instrument, a privileged instrument, but not apart.”

On 16 January 1991, D’Agostino passed away. He promised his friends he would die alone and he kept it.

Argentine Tango Composers eBook

Juan D’Arienzo, ‘King of the Beat’

Juan D'Arienzo, Argentine Tango Composer

‘El Rey del Compas’ (‘King of the Beat’ or ‘Rhythm King’) was what they called Juan D’Arienzo back in the Golden Era of tango. According to D’Arienzo himself, it was the famous singer and composer Angel Sanchez Carreño, a.k.a ‘Principe Cubano’ (‘Cuban Prince’)

“The nickname Rey del Compás (Rhythm King) was given to me at the Florida cabaret, the old Dancing Florida. There Osvaldo Fresedo played, while I performed at the Chantecler, which belonged to the same owners. Back around 1928 or 1930 I met the famous Príncipe Cubano (Cuban Prince), who was the show announcer. Julio Jorge Nelson was there, too. That happened when I replaced Fresedo at the Florida. The pianist was Juan Carlos Howard. It was on those days that Príncipe Cubano had the idea of calling me Rey del Compás, because of the style I had.”

But before his rise to tango fame, D’Arienzo was actually interested in jazz as a young boy. He started playing the violin at 12, and later the piano. The eldest of three children, his younger siblings were also musically skilled. Ernani was a drummer and pianist, while Josephine a pianist and a soprano. Despite this, their father, Don Alberto D’Arienzo had many disagreements with young Juan about taking up law. Juan wanted to pursue music, his father wanted him to be the owner of a major agricultural production plant. However, his mother Amalia, encouraged Juan and sent him to the Mascagni Conservatory when Juan was 8 years old.

Tango Lessons near meD’Arienzo started playing tango at 18 and by 1919, he was considered successful enough that the Teatro Nacional (National Theatre) took him in. He premiered with the Arata-Simari-Franco company, performing ‘El Cabaret Montmartre’, a comic play by Alberto Novión. D’Arienzo did not abandon his interest in jazz, though. Through the 1920s, the last few years of silent films, D’Arienzo played at theaters like Select Lavalle and the Real Cine.

In 1926, he returned to tango, playing at the Paramount with Luisito Visca and Angel D’Agostino. D’Arienzo says of the experience, “There I started to polish the style that later was distinctly mine, that one of highlighting the piano and the fourth string of the background played by Alfredo Mazzeo.”

The Golden Age of tango was from 1935 to 1955 and has been closely linked to D’Arienzo. While playing a new tango called ‘La Puñalada,’ the orchestra pianist Rodolfo Biagi recommends they change the 4/8 beat to a milonga of 2/4. D’Arienzo initially disagrees, but that night, he arrived late and found his orchestra playing the tango to this new style.

“July 9, the public danced with such gusto that when the crowd, shouting and clapping, asked D’Arienzo to continue with that new style, the director had no other choice but to play it all night.”

D’Arienzo’s style caught the attention of the youth, which reinvigorated the tango scene.

Young people like me. They like my tangos because they are rhythmic, nervous up-tempos. Youth are after that: happiness, movement. If you play for them a melodic tango and out of beat, they won’t like it,” said D’Arienzo.

D’Arienzo recorded more than 1,000 tangos, milongas and fast valses, and composed 46 tangos. He passed away on January 14, 1976 and is buried at the La Chacarita Cemetery in Buenos Aires.

Argentine Tango Composers eBook

The Man Who Revolutionised Tango – Astor Piazzolla

Argentine Tango Composer, Astor Piazzolla

Once described as “the world’s most foremost composer of tango music,” Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla established nuevo tango (new tango), a blend of jazz, classical music, and tango.

Nuevo Tango BrisbanePiazzolla was born on March 11, 1921 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. His parents were Italian immigrants Vicente ‘Nonino’ Piazzolla and Assunta Manetti. At birth, Piazzolla’s right leg was twisted due to polio and he underwent repeated operations until it was fixed, albeit one leg was slightly shorter than the other.

In 1925, the family moved to New York, where they lived until 1936. They first went to New Jersey, then Manhattan, near Little Italy. While the young Piazzolla adjusted well enough to American life, he was expelled from school for fighting and consequently earned the nickname ‘Lefty’ because of his left-hand punch.

It was around this time when he received his first bandoneon at age eight. He learned to play this instrument along with the piano. Initially, Piazzolla was not argentine tango classes near mekeen on the gift. In one interview, he said, “[My father] brought it covered in a box, and I got very happy because I thought it was the roller skates I had asked for so many times. It was a let-down because instead of a pair of skates, I found an artifact I had never seen before in my life. Dad sat down, set it on my legs, and told me, ‘Astor, this is the instrument of tango. I want you to learn it.’ My first reaction was anger. Tango was that music he listened to almost every night after coming home from work. I didn’t like it.”

In 1929, The Great Depression struck and the family moved back to Mar del Plata in 1936, only to return to New York nine months later. At 11, Piazzolla began playing his bandoneon on stage and started taking lessons with Andres D’Aquila, an Argentine pianist. He also made his first recording, ‘Marionette Spagnol,’ and composed his first tango, ‘La Catinga,’ which has never been recorded.

Piazzolla was introduced to jazz in New York, when he would sneak into clubs, where Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman and other jazz icons would play. Meanwhile, it was pianist and neighbour Bela Wilda, who taught him the piano and introduced him to classical music. One of Piazzolla’s earliest and long-lasting influences was Johann Sebastian Bach. Wilda even taught him to play Bach on the bandoneon.

Argentine Tango Classes BrisbaneAt age 12, Astor Piazzolla’s life would change. It was 1933 and he learned one of his idols Carlos Gardel was in town. Piazzolla went to Gardel’s building and what followed next was something straight out of a movie. Gardel’s assistant was outside and had left his key inside the room. Piazzolla volunteered to climb the fire escape and went in through the window to wake the sleeping Gardel. Turns out, it was lyricist Alfredo Le Pera. One thing led to another and the two became good friends. Piazzolla eventually became Gardel’s translator and his bandoneon player.

The Piazzolla’s moved back to Argentina in 1937 and the teenage Piazzolla immersed himself in tango. By the time he was 17, he moved to Buenos Aires and was invited to play the bandoneon in one of the most prestigious tango orchestras at the time, the Anibal Troilo Orquestra, and eventually became their arranger.

Piazzolla formed his own orchestra in 1946, the Astor Piazzolla Y Su Orchestra Tipica or commonly referred to as ‘The 1946 Band’. During this time, he composed his first “formal” tango, El Desbande as well as scores for films. In 1949, Piazzolla started in earnest his musical experiments, one of which, titled ‘Buenos Aires,’ was submitted to the Fabien Sevitzky Competition, where it won first prize. When the piece was performed by Sevitzky, however, it was met with negative reaction, with many complaining a bandoneon had no place in an orchestra.

Piazzolla travelled to France for his Paris Conservatory scholarship. Here, he played one of his tango-classical experiments, ‘Trifunal,’ for the great music educator Nadia Boulanger and she encouraged him to press on. And so, in 1955, tango nuevo was born with the formation of the group Octeto Buenos Aires. Even with growing criticism, Piazzolla carried on, touring the world with his unique blend of tango, jazz, and classical music. His favourite expression for tango nuevo was the bandoneon, violin, bass, piano, and electric guitar.

After a period of great productivity, Piazzolla had a heart attack in 1973. Shortly after, he moved to Milan, Italy and a year later he composed the infamous hit, ‘Libertango.’ This symbolised his break from classical tango to something new.

In 1985, he was named an exceptional citizen of Buenos Aires and in 1986, received the Cesar Prize for his score of the film ‘El Exilio de Gardel.’ One of his most well-known performances was in 1987 in Central Park in New York to a crowd of over 4,000. In 1990, Piazzolla suffered a massive stroke and two years later, the genius Tanguero died in Buenos Aires on July 4. He leaves behind more than 1,000 works and the legacy of having revolutionized tango forever.

Argentine Tango Composers eBook

Tango Composer, Francisco Canaro, A True Star of Tango

Argentine Tango Composer, Francisco Canaro,

Uruguayan composer Francisco Canaro is considered one of the tango world’s most popular artists. His recordings, both traditional tango and milongas, are noted as beautiful and melodic.

Canaro was born on November 26, 1888 into extreme poverty, with seven other siblings. His parents were Italian immigrants. Canaro was given the nickname “Pirincho” when the midwife noticed that his hair has a fuzz and curl like the head feathers of the South American bird of the same name.

The Canaro family moved from River Plate when Francisco was less than 10 years old and settled in the densely populated “conventillos,” an urban tenement in Buenos Aires. Unable to attend school, Canaro instead started working as a newspaper boy, a shoe shiner, a painter, and then as an apprentice at a can factory.

Despite his bitter upbringing, the young Canaro was enthusiastic about music at an early age. His neighbor, a cobbler, was his first teacher, showing him how to play the guitar and mandolin. While working at the factory, he built a violin out of a wooden fingerboard and the remains of an oil can. He taught himself to play this creation. According to Canaro himself, the first tango he played from heart was ‘El Llorón.’

At 18, Canaro made his professional debut as part of a trio in a town called Ranchos, a hundred kilometres outside of Buenos Aires. He started devoting himself to tango when he was introduced to bandoneonist and tango orchestra director Vicente Greco in 1908. Canaro went on to join Greco on several successful tours and produced records.

By 1915, at the age of 26, Canaro began conducting orchestras. His first headline was the first Baile del Internado, which was a comedy ball organized by the hospital interns to make fun of their doctors. The gala was held at the Palais de Glace and here, Canaro premiered ‘El Alacran’ and ‘Matasano.’ In 1916, he was the headliner once again, but for Bailes de Carnival, where he was met with such adoration that he was invited again and again. In 1921, for the Bailes de Carnival, he reunited a 32-piece orchestra, an orchestral mass unknown in tango until then.

Canaro’s music is considered to have reshaped the way society perceived tango at the time. Back then, high society did not entertain tango, at least not until Canaro’s orchestra.

Tango Lessons BrisbaneCanaro pioneered the incorporation of a singer in the tango orchestra in 1924, but only for the main part of the tango or the ‘estribillo.’ The first estribillo used by Canaro was Roberto Díaz. This ushered in the ‘estribillistas era’ from the mid-1920s to the late 1930s.

By 1925, Canaro toured the world, beginning in Paris, where tango was now in fashion. He also traveled to the United States. By 1926, his contracts expired and he was free from commitments. Canaro visited Italy to meet his grandmother.

After his absence, Canaro returned to Argentina. He also dabbled in musical theatre and film. He founded Rio de la Plata productions, although none of his projects proved to be commercial hits.

In 1956, he published his memoirs, ‘Mis 50 Años Con El Tango” (My 50 Years with Tango).’ Canaro was forced into retirement after being diagnosed with Paget’s Disease. He eventually passed in 1964 at the age of 76.

Argentine Tango Composers eBook

Tango Composer, Carlos Di Sarli, The Lord of Tango

Argentine Tango Composer, Carlos Di Sarli,

Carlos Di Sarli earned the nickname ‘The Lord of Tango’ (‘El Señor del Tango’) when his career rose along with the ‘Golden Age of Tango.’ Known for his signature pair of glasses, Di Sarli was a prolific orchestra leader, composer and pianist during his time and well after.

Born on January 7, 1903 in Bahia Blanca in Southern Argentina as Cayetano Di Sarli, he was the eighth child of Italian immigrant Miguel Di Sarli and Serafina Russomano, who was the daughter of the tenor singer Tito Russomano. Di Sarli was exposed to music at an early age. Aside from having a singer grandfather, his brothers were musically involved as well. Domingo was a music teacher, Nicolas became a baritone, and younger brother Roque would become a pianist. Carlos himself took piano lessons.

Their father, Miguel, was the owner of a gun shop and while working here, Di Sarli suffered an accident at the age of 13, costing him an eye. Since then, he could always be seen wearing dark glasses concealing his eyes. Much to the horror of his father and his piano teacher, soon after he recovered from the injury, the young Di Sarli went on tour with a zarzuela company.

Carlos Di SarliIn between running away and making his debut, Di Sarli ended up in the province of La Pampa, where he played the piano to silent films for two years. He eventually went back to his hometown and in 1919, Di Sarli made his debut as orchestra leader at a tea room called the Cafe Express. His orchestra toured for some time, but in 1923, Di Sarli and his younger brother Roque made the move to Buenos Aires.

For the next few years, Di Sarli joined a couple of orchestras. First, Anselmo Aieta, a bandoneonist group. Then, a group led by the violinist Juan Pedro Castillo. In 1926, he joined Osvaldo Fresedo’s orchestra. Fresedo had such an influence over Di Sarli that his tango ‘Viejo Milonguero’ is dedicated to Fresedo.

In 1927, Di Sarli formed his own group, a sextet with José Pécora and David Abramsky on violin, César Ginzo and Tito Landó on bandoneón and Adolfo Kraus on bass. By 1934, Di Sarli left his group and moved to Rosario in Santa Fe province, where he joined a small band with the bandoneonist Juan Cambareri. However, in 1938, Di Sarli returned to Buenos Aires, reformed his band, and made their first recording in 1939. The recording included ‘Corazon,’ which is considered a classic. For the next decade, Di Sarli and his music flourished, recording 155 sides and being popular amongst tango dancers.

However, Di Sarli was not the easiest person to get along with. He has been described as eccentric, reserved and was very much a perfectionist. Due to his eccentricity, there was superstition surrounding his music with some believing that saying his name out loud will bring bad luck. In 1949, his orchestra members walked out on him. But Di Sarli continued recording until illness forced him to retire in 1953. This did not stop him, however, continuing to record until his final side in 1958.

Di Sarli’s musical style has been widely lauded, often described as simple, but elegant and full of nuances. He led his last concert on March 8, 1959 at the Podesa de Lanus club in Buenos Aires. He died of a terminal disease on January 12, 1960.

Argentine Tango Composers eBook

Sources: http://www.todotango.com/english/creadores/cdisarli.html

http://www.milonga.co.uk/tango/disarli.shtml

http://www.verytangostore.com/legends/carlos-di-sarli.html

https://endretango.com/en/who-was-carlos-di-sarli-and-why-did-he-wear-dark-glasses-all-the-time/

Tango Composer, Osvaldo Pugliese, The Beginning of Concert-Style Tango

Argentine Tango Composer, Osvaldo Pugliese,

Osvaldo Pedro Pugliese is regarded as one of the “big four” composers of the Golden Age of tango, together with Juan D’Arienzo, Aníbal Troilo, and Carlo di Sarli. While D’Arienzo was considered “The King of Beat,” Pugliese was hailed as “San Pugliese” or “Saint Pugliese” for his dramatic and passionate melodies. He is also considered to have developed the concert-style tango music.

“Dramatic,” “passionate,” and “lyrical” are some of the words associated with Pugliese’s music. Female dancers would find his violin melodies excellent for decorative footwork. On the other hand, male dancers might have more difficulty as the beat is not as apparent.

Osvaldo PuglieseAt an early age, Pugliese had already been exposed to tango. He was born on December 2, 1905 to Aurelia Terragno and Adolfo Pugliese, the latter an amateur tango flautist. Meanwhile, Osvaldo’s two brothers, Vicente and Alberto, were violinists. The young Pugliese was taught to play the violin by his father and this early training allowed him to join the Odeon Conservatory. Here, he was tutored by maestros like Antonio D’Agostino, Rubione Scaramuzza and Pedro Vicente. Pugliese started playing professionally at the age of 15 as a pianist at Cafe de La Chancha.

In 1921, at the age of 16, Pugliese moved to Buenos Aires, where he met the first professional female bandoneonist in Argentina, Francisca Bernardo Cruz also know by her stage name, Paquita Bernardo. He joined her band, the Paquita Orchestra, as their pianist. They made their debut at a bar, Dominguez, and went around performing at other bars and cafes.

Pugliese eventually left the group and in 1924, joined the Enrique Pollet quartet. Around this time, he wrote one of his most famous compositions, ‘Recuerdo,’ which is considered to be the origin of stylised instrumental tango. The title, which translates to “memory,” is dedicated to Pugliese’s fond memories of his cousins, who would go to La Chancha to hear him play.

He went on to the renowned Pedro Maffia and his Orchestra, which marked the beginning of Osvaldo’s rise to maestro status. The group followed the De Caro school of music characterised by slow and languid phrasing. This would influence Pugliese’s style for the rest of his career.

As the late 1920s and early 1930s rolled on, tango was reaching its peak. During these years, Pugliese was playing at cafes and silent movie houses. He collaborated with musicians like violinist Alfredo Gobbi, bandoneonist Anibal Troilo, Pedro Laurenz, Miguel Calo, and Elvino Vardaro. In 1936, at 31, he fulfilled his dream of directing his own orchestra. He formed a sextet with Alfredo Calabró, Juan Abelardo Fernandez, bandoneonist Marcos Madrigal, Pedro Juan Rolando Curzel, violinist Potenza and Aniceto Rossi on the bass.

In 1939, he put together what’s regarded as one of the best tango orchestras in the world, Orquesta Típica Pugliese. While the lineup of musicians would vary over the years, Pugliese would work with this orchestra for the remainder of his life. The orchestra had a specific style, still following De Caro, with no drums, highly syncopated, bandoneón solos, holding notes slightly longer than expected for dramatic effect (rubato), alternating slow and fast tempos (slargando or slentando). Pugliese coined the term “yumba,” which denotes that the first and third beats should be stressed and the second and fourth beats should be played softly with a bass piano note.

Pugliese made his first recordings in 1943 while traveling the world. Some of his most raved about tangos aside from ‘Recuerdo,’ are La Yumba (1945), Negracha (1948), and Malandraca (1949).

Pugliese was a renowned and committed activist as well. In 1936, he joined the Communist Party of Argentina. This earned him the hostility of those in power and even spent time in jail. While away in prison, he kept on writing arrangements for his tango band. Pugliese was so loved by his musicians that a red carnation would be placed on the piano during his absence.

Pugliese holds multiple distinctions. He is a distinguished citizen of Buenos Aires, a Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et Lettres of France, and, was an Honorary Academician of the Academia Nacional del Tango. And, when tension between Pugliese and President Juan Perón’s government was eventually resolved, the great tango musician was awarded The Order of May, Argentina’s highest civilian award.

In July 25, 1995, at the age of 89, Pugliese passed away from a short illness. ‘La Yumba’ was played at his funeral. His legacy continues through his daughter Beba, and granddaughter Carla, both of whom are pianists.

Argentine Tango Composers eBook

Sources: http://www.interlude.hk/front/tango-beyond-piazzolla-ii-osvaldo-pugliese/

http://www.verytangostore.com/legends/osvaldo-pugliese.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osvaldo_Pugliese

 

Argentine Tango Composer, Ricardo Tanturi

Ricardo Tanturi, Argentine Tango Composer

Another figure from the “Golden Age of Tango” during the 1940s is pianist, composer and orchestra leader Ricardo Tanturi. He was born on 27 January 1905 to Italian parents in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Barracas, considered one of the poorest areas by the Riachuelo (small river). He first studied the violin under Francisco Alessio, uncle of the famous bandoneonist and director Enrique Alessio. However, Ricardo was convinced to give up the violin and take up the piano instead by his brother, Antonio, pianist and co-director of the Orquesta Típica Tanturi-Petrone.

In 1924, Tanturi launched his professional career at clubs and charity festivals, playing the piano. He also went on to study medicine and graduated with very good marks. While in university, he organised student bands. It was here where he met actor Juan Carlos Thorry, who would become Tanturi’s first orchestra singer.

Tango course Brisbane

Tanturi founded a tango sextet in 1933 to perform at cinemas and theatres. The group was named “Los Indios” after a polo team. He would go onto call all his tango groups by the same name. Each performance always opened with a tango also called “Los Indios.” The tango, however, was composed by Francisco Canaro, but he never recorded it.

Tanturi started making records in 1937, beginning with a record that featured an instrumental version of “Tierrita” by Agustín Bardi, and “A la luz del candil“, with music written by Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores, lyrics by Julio Navarrine, and sung by Carlos Ortega. Tanturi’s greatest star would be Alberto Castillo. The singer seduced crowds with his perfect tune, mastery of pitch and mezza voce. He was a favourite performer thanks to his exaggerated gestures, masculine elegance and neat hairstyle, and intimate but lively mood. Together, Tanturi and Castillo made 37 records before Castillo left the group in 1943.

The new lead singer became Uruguayan Enrique Campo whose style has been described as ‘concerned in communicating with the public’. With Tanturi, Campo recorded 51 songs. The 1943 orchestra was comprised of Armando Posada (piano), Francisco Ferraro, Héctor Gondre, Jose Raúl Iglesias, Emilio Aguirre and Juan Saettone (bandoneons), Armando Husso, Norberto Guzman, Alberto Taido and Vicente Salerno (violins) and Enzo Raschelli, later Ramon Outeda (bass). These line-ups are considered the peak of splendor for Tanturi’s orchestra and, until its dissolution 1951, its main members.

In 1946, Tanturi achieved similar greatness with Osvaldo Ribo. Later on, artists like Roberto Videla, Juan Carlos Godoy and Elsa Rivas were able to revive Tanturi’s popularity. In 1956, Tanturi assembled his final orchestra, which included Armando Posada (piano), Natalio Berardi (double bass), Santos Maggi, Horacio Perri, Ricardo Varela, José Raúl Iglesias and Ezequiel Esteban (bandoneons), Antonio D’Alessandro, Emilio González, Fidel De Luca and Orlando Perri (violins).

Among his most popular tango compositions are “Amigos presente“, “A otra cosa, ché, pebeta” and “Pocas palabras” with lyrics written by Enrique Cadícamo; “Sollozo de bandoneón“, with Enrique Dizeo, and “Ese sos vos“, with Francisco García Jiménez.

Sources: http://www.todotango.com/english/creadores/tanturi.html

http://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/489/Orquesta-Tipica-Ricardo-Tanturi/

The Magic Hands of Rodolfo Biagi (Argentine Tango Composer)

Oblivion, Argentine Tango Song

Tango composer, pianist and orchestra leader Rodolfo Biagi was given the nickname “Manos Brujas (Spellbinding or Magic Hands)” for his energetic and easily recognizable rhythmic style.

Biagi was born on 14 March 1906 in Buenos Aires and gave up his studies after finishing grammar school. The young Biagi wished to devote himself entirely to music. Naturally, his parents disagreed, but they struck a deal. Biagi’s parents would buy the violin he wanted, but he had to enter the Escuela Normal de Profesores Mariano Acosta. Biagi, however, was drawn to the piano when he was enrolled at the conservatory of the newspaper “La Prensa.”

At thirteen years old, without his parents’ knowledge, Biagi made his debut as a pianist, playing the musical background for silent films at a local cinema. One evening, the maestro Juan Maglio had been to that very cinema and was impressed upon hearing the pianist. Maglio invited Biagi, then only fifteen, to play with him. Biagi later on would join the orchestra of bandoneonist Miguel Orlando at the cabaret Maipú Pigall.

By 1930, at the age of 24, Biagi was approached by José Razzano to accompany the famous tango singer, Carlos Gardel on some recordings. On the first of April of that year, Biagi recorded the tangos, “Viejo smoking”, “Buenos Aires” and “Aquellas farras”, the foxtrot “Yo seré para ti, tu serás para mí” and the waltz “Aromas de El Cairo” with the violinist Antonio Rodio and the guitarists Aguilar, Barbieri and Riverol. Gardel invited Biagi to join him on a tour of Spain, but Biagi declined.

He then joined several other orchestras, the Juan Bautista Guido orchestra and the orchestra of Juan Canaro. He met Juan Carlos Thorry during his time with the latter and composed with him the tango “Indiferencia.” Working with Canaro brought Biagi to Brazil and upon his comeback, Biagi left Canaro’s orchestra. Biagi remained inactive for a time, during which he was a frequent patron of the cabaret Chantecler, where his friend Juan D’Arienzo played. D’Arienzo’s pianist, Lidio Fasoli, was notoriously late for everything and one evening, D’Arienzo asked Biagi to replace him.

Biagi and D’Arienzo worked together for three years and during this time, Biagi established his defining style of playing. The D’Arienzo orchestra was a popular and successful group, appearing on the radio, at balls and clubs, going on tours and performing for Enrique Santos Discépolo’s movie “Melodías porteñas.”

When Biagi split with D’Arienzo, he put together his own orchestra, which made their debut on 16 September 1938 at the cabaret Marabu. His and D’Arienzo’s orchestras were crucial in the traditional positions of tango interpretation. Biagi had a show on Radio Belgrano which launched his nickname of “Manos Brujas” when he played a foxtrot by Jose Maria Aguilar at the beginning of each show. Biagi’s orchestra was the first to appear on Argentine television in the early fifties. His tango group saw many talents, including singers Jorge Ortiz, Alberto Lago, Alberto Amor and Carlos Acuña. Musicians such as Alfredo Attadía, Miguel Bonano, Ricardo Pedevilla, Marcos Larrosa, Claudio González and Oscar de la Fuente were also involved. Biagi performed for the last time in public on 2 August 1969 at the Hurlingham Club. Forty-one days later, on 24 September, he passed away from an extreme drop in blood pressure.

Tango Composer – Osvaldo Fresedo, ‘The Kid from La Paternal’

Miguel Calo, Argentine Tango Composer

As his nickname suggests, tango songwriter and orchestra director Osvaldo Nicolas Fresedo grew up in La Paternal, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He happens to have the longest recording career in tango, spanning from 1925 to 1980. In the course of 55 years, he made 1,250 recordings.

Tango Course Kelvin Grove

Fresedo was born on 5 May 1897 into a middle-class family and coming from a wealthy background influenced his artistry. His music was a favourite of the upper-class and aristocratic folks. Fresedo was not born in La Paternal, but his family moved to the somewhat humble neighbourhood when he was ten years old. There, he learned to play the bandoneon.

In 1913, Fresedo started out with public performances with a trio of other youngsters, including his brother, Emilio, who played the violin. They served as entertainment at local parties and played at neighbourhood cafes. This was around the time he was regarded as “El Pibe de la Paternal” or “the kid from La Paternal.”

Two major tango stars became Fresedo’s friends and invited him to play. First was Eduardo Arolas at Montmartre cabaret and Roberto Firpo at the Royal Pigall. In 1916, Fresedo formed a bandoneon duet with Vicente Loduca and recorded the tango “Amoniaco.” A later collaboration with pianist Juan Carlos Cobian would prove to be pivotal for the tango orchestra evolution of the 1920s. He was considered one of the great tango innovators of the 1920s, along with Cobian and Julio de Caro. Their style was characterised refined taste, legatos, nuances and pianos solos aimed for the upper-class. This would become known as the tango of the “New Guard” or “Guardia Nueva.”

Fresedo then went to assemble his own group, first with pianist José María Rizzutti and the violinist Julio De Caro, but they would later become a sextet. In 1921, Fresedo travelled to Camden, New Jersey in the United States for the Victor company. Other musicians on this trip included the pianist Enrique Delfino and the violinist Tito Roccatagliata. During this time, they recorded a few albums with a quartet. Upon his return to Buenos Aires, Fresedo reassembled his sextet. He joined Carlos Gardel on two recordings: the tangos “Perdón, viejita” (composed by Fresedo himself) and “Fea.”

By 1927, Fresedo was so successful that he managed to keep five different orchestras running at the same time. Fresedo worked tirelessly. From 1925 to 1928, he recorded about 600 pieces for the label Odeon. Fresedo’s second era began when he left Odeon and started a larger orchestra with a new style. Roberto Ray, perhaps the most well-known vocalist for Fresedo, joined him during this time. Their recordings are among the most memorable in tango, such as “Vida Mia“, “Como Aquella Princesa” and “Isla de Capri.”

When the 1940s began, a new generation of musicians with new styles rose up. Fresedo tried to adapt, but his style was critiqued for losing the strength of his initial style. His orchestrations became slower, but Fresedo continued to record through the 1930s and 1940s. Fresedo continued to lead orchestras until his retirement in 1980.