Posts Tagged ‘El tango cuenta su historia’


PLAYLIST – All lyrics written by Homero Manzi

1. A HOMERO, Anibal Troilo with Roberto Goyeneche
2. MANO BLANCA, Alberto Castillo
3. BARRIO DE TANGO, Anibal Troilo with Roberto Goyeneche
4. TAL VEZ SERA TU VOZ, Anibal Troilo with Alberto Marino
5. FUIMOS, Anibal Troilo with Alberto Marino
6. DESPUES, Anibal Troilo with Alberto Marino
8. ROPA BLANCA, Anibal Troilo with Alberto Marino
9. NINGUNA, Anibal Troilo with Roberto Rufino
10. FRUTA AMARGA, Anibal Troilo with Alberto Marino
11. SUR, Anibal Troilo with Edmundo Rivero
12. EL ULTIMO ORGANITO, Anibal Troilo with Edmundo Rivero


In the beginning the tango was music, happy music that people danced to. The environmental surroundings of the outskirts of the city began adding refrains that later became words. Words that mixed the language of the thieves and crooks, the lunfardo, with the romantic experiences of the pimps and their prostitutes.

Homero Manzi deserves the honor of being the first to convert the words of the tangos in poetry. Poetry describing nostalgic neighborhood postcards, like the low rise houses with ivy clinging to the bare walls and people seeing through he eyes of a child from the windows of the mythical religious boarding school in the neighborhood of Pompeya. In other words, his infancy’s lost paradise in a remote city where the days were definitely better. A watercolor of nights and suburban moons.

Manzi invented simple metaphors , strictly visual, using a common artifice of the epoch, the enumeration or description of elements as an integral part of painting a scenery.





1. MILONGA PARA GARDEL, Osvaldo Pugliese with Abel Cordoba
2. MI NOCHE TRISTE, Carlos Gardel
3. BARRIO REO, Carlos Gardel
5. MANO A MANO, Ricardo “Chiqui” Pereyra
6. SUS OJOS SE CERRARON, Libertad Lamarque
7. TOMO Y OBLIGO, Carlos Gardel
8. SOLEDAD, Julio Sosa
9. SILENCIO, Osvaldo Pugliese with Jorge Maciel
10. MELODIA DE ARRABAL, Osvaldo Pugliese with Abel Cordoba
11. SIGA EL CORSO, Carlos Gardel
12. A MEDIA LUNA, Carlos Gardel
13. EL DIA QUE ME QUIERAS, Carlos Gardel
14. VOLVER, Hector Falcon
16. CAMINITO, Carlos Gardel


December 11 is National Tango Day in Buenos Aires in commemoration of the birthdays of Julio de Caro and Carlos Gardel. This special edition of EL CANTO CUENTA SU HISTORIA is dedicated to celebrate another anniversary of the birthday of Carlos Gardel.

Carlos Gardel representing the lyrics of tango was born December 11, 1890 and Julio De Caro representing the music of tango was born December 11,1899.

The story behind the date tells that one night of 1965 composer Ben Molar, standing on the corner of Corrientes and Esmeralda, on his way to celebrate Julio De Caro’s birthday came out with the great idea of an national day for tango.

Eleven years later, after fighting bureaucracy and getting no official response, Molar issued the threat of a great radial, television and media campaign announcing the organization of a monster festival in support of the “Day of the Tango”. The Luna Park was reserved for the 11 of December. The pressure worked. On November 29, 1977 Ben Molar received the news that the Decree Nº 5830/77 of the Municipality of the City of Buenos Aires had been signed. On December 19, 1977 by Decree Nº 3781/77 the Federal government established December 11 the “National Day of the Tango.”





1. TRASNOCHE, Sexteto Tango
2. SI TE VIERA GARAY, Eladia Blasquez
4. LA CLAVADA, Gran Quinteto Real
5. MI NOCHE TRISTE, Sexteto Tango with Raul Lavie
6. GUAPO Y VARON, Edmundo Rivero


Although the dance known as the tango originated in Argentina, the word didn’t. In 1786, a full century before the emergence of the tango dance in Argentina, the word was being equated with dancing the bamboula in New Orleans. This is the first time the word ‘tango’ appeared in print. Reacting to a complain from Bishop Cyrillo about Africans dancing the bamboula on Sabath, Governor Miro ordered that “los tangos o bailes de negros (the tango, that is, the black’s dance) be delayed until after vespers.

In 1803 the dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy used tango as a variant of tangano , the stone that is used in the game of the same name.

In 1835, Esteban Pichardo, in his dictionary of Cuban voices defined tango as a meeting of blacks born in Africa to dance to the sound of drums.

In Buenos Aires they called tango to the houses where the black performed their dances.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the town hall of Montevideo certified the presence of candombes to which it called indistinctly tambos or tangos, prohibiting them for the sake of public morality, and severely, punishing its practitioners.

By 1899 the dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy added a second definition, celebration and dance of blacks or town folks in America.

The use of the word tango also has origins in some African towns. The slave driver called tango the rendezvous points of slaves in Africa and America.

The Argentine society remained relatively unchanged until 1860 as far as great transformations of the population. It was averse to changes and it had inherited from Spain its conservative nature. The traditional idea was that the nobles couldn’t engage in manual labor, and besides leisure, they ought to dedicate themselves to religious or military activities.

When the children of these native Spaniards took over the governmental functions after the revolution of 1810, they could not change the deep ideology of the dominant class and they only could produce to the social structure lawyers, doctors, clergymen or businessmen.

This brought upon the idea of seeking the arrival of European contingents who could sustain the Argentine development.

The constitutional text of 1853 indicated, “the federal government would foment European immigration and may not restrict, limit nor burden with taxes the entrance in the Argentine territory of foreigners who come to work the land, improve the industries and introduce the sciences and the arts.”

That ingenuous vision of immigration faced reality real soon. The idyllic Europeans that incarnated the values of the civilization did not choose the path of immigration. Those who risked a trip of such magnitude to look for a better destiny were those because of their enormous misery left extremely poor places like Galicia in Spain, Naples, Genoa and the island of Sicily in Italy.

Instead of cult Florentines able to enjoy the works of the Dante, or Spaniards readers of Don Quijote, the souls who arrived in Buenos Aires were generally illiterates, without profession nor trade, who had not had any contact with the millenarian cultures of their countries.

They were men for whom the museums were places prohibited like they were for the gauchos of the Pampas, men who faced a feudal social structure where the land was already distributed among the hands of a few landowners.

The reaction of the oligarchy to the potential political effect of these popular masses was to persecute them. Many displeased immigrants returned to their countries. Others, in spite of being the targets of ridicule and tirades stayed. They did not have another option. They became Argentines and built the country.

They also gave the tango their enormous contribution. They made it nostalgic and melancholic, as the uprooting always is.

Thus, as the Spaniards brought to Argentina their taste for the theater, the Italians contributed their musical passion, their good ear and theirs love for singing.



1. RE FA SI, Osvaldo Fresedo
2. DERECHO VIEJO, Osvaldo Fresedo
3. DONDE ESTAS, Osvaldo Fresedo with Blanca Mooney
4. EL ONCE (A DIVERTIRSE), Osvaldo Fresedo
5. DESPUES DEL CARNAVAL, Osvaldo Fresedo with Hugo Marcel
6. MILONGUERO VIEJO, Osvaldo Fresedo


In the cabarets of president Alvear’s era, the tango reached a notoriety that had been denied to it until then.
Julio de Caro and Osvaldo Fresedo were the first exponents of a new form of performing the music of tango .

Similarly, the dance that had become the rage in France while the Argentine aristocracy crossed itself at its mere mention, now was making a triumphal entrance in the halls that the Argentina society had built to exclude the low class from the center of entertainment.

Far away were the uncertain beginnings and the first attempts to create a dance representative of the native pride. In the Argentina of the beginning of the twentieth century there were natives and white immigrants.
The latter ones had better opportunities to make a fortune due to the elitist feeling of the society.
For the natives it was necessary to create as a way to react against a backward social displacement.

The interaction between natives and foreigners were always colorfully marked by ridicule or irony towards the gringo. Whites as well as native browns utilized the dance as a way to emphasize their superiority over blacks and foreigners.

When the bourgeoisie of the first quarter of the century began dancing tango in the halls of the center of Buenos Aires, they made a concerted effort to remove all inference to the plebeian origin of the dance.
The expression “derecho viejo” was coined to define a way to dance the tango without stopping and breaking the vertical posture. That is to say, a new style was born, cleaned up, where the couple danced leaving some light between their bodies.




1. CANZONETA, Jorge Falcon
2. ESTRELLA, Sexteto Tango with Raul Funes
3. LA PAYANCA, Los muchachos de antes
4. EL ENTRERRIANO, Anibal Troilo
5. RACING CLUB, Alfredo Gobbi
6. LA MOROCHA, Blanca Mooney


This is how celebrated poet Carlos de la Pua observed the drama of the immigration at the beginning of the twentieth century,
They came from Italy, they were just twenty years old, carrying their entire fortune in their luggage.
And without respite, between disappointments, they grew old without any advantage.
Their lips never open with reproach. Always consequent, always toiling, they spent the days, they spent the nights, the old man at the forge, the old woman washing.
They had children The sons were malicious. Their daughters, conceited.
The boys are drunk, spurts, assassins. And the women are streetwalkers and dwellers of the night. And poor old parents kept working. They never showed weakness for the daily chores.
But sometimes, when she’s alone, hand washing the laundry, the tears burn her eyes.

It’s not easy to explain to which extent the Creoles Italianated themselves or the Italians went native. In 1895 49% of the population were of Italian origin. That number diminished to 40% by1914.

The Italian contribution to the tango is of first magnitude. To execute tangos, to contribute to its
development, and to invent it, was a way to make a living. But they also demonstrated a desire to assimilate into the country, its customs, its rites. However, in spite of the desire to integrate as soon as possible to the new reality, their nostalgia was very strong.

And often in the nights of the tenements, and in spite of being ridiculed by the compadritos on the patio, the tano returned to his mandolin, to his accordion and intoned songs of the old one country to which he could only go back in his dreams.

The old guard of the tango was heavily influenced by Italians and sons of Italians.
Enrique Santos Discepolo was the son of a Neapolitan. Vicente Greco, Ernesto Ponzio, Augusto Berto, Roberto Firpo, Juan Maglio Pacho, Samuel Castriota, Francisco Lomuto, Francisco Canaro, Sebastian Piana and the brothers Francisco and Julio De Caro were all children of Italians.




1. ESTAMPA DEL 900, Romeo Gavioli
2. MALA JUNTA, Osvaldo Pugliese
3. MILONGA DEL 900, Emilio Ramil
4. ZAPATITOS DE RASO, Oscar Larroca
5. EL ESQUINAZO, Juan Cambareri
6. ALMA EN PENA, Anselmo Aieta
7. COMO ABRAZAO A UN RENCOR, Horacio Salgan with Angel Diaz


The origins of the tango music and dance are uncertain. There are no documents or witnesses to help reconstruct its true birth. However there is enough historical material that allows us to imagine how must have been the city of Buenos Aires sixty years after the Declaration of Independence.

A fierce fight between the provinces and the port city had spilled Argentine blood on the battlefields. In 1873, the National Army, fresh from exterminating the insurgency in the provinces, introduced the Remington rifle to its arsenal, and used it efficiently to exterminate the indian population that had been limiting the expansion of the Buenos Aires landowners.

In spite of great opposition, Buenos Aires was declared the capital city of Argentina. Economically dependent from Great Britain for its exports of agriculatural products, politically ruled by an elite culturally dominated by France, and with the majority of its labor force resulting from immigration, the Buenos Aires society set the frame were the tango was going to be inserted.


This is the first broadcast of the series EL TANGO CUENTA SU HISTORIA, half hour segments dedicated to highlight the history of the tango through its music. You don’t need to understand Spanish to enjoy it, but those who are fluent in the language of the tango will find the program entertaining and educational.



1. EL CHOCLO, Sexteto Mayor with Alba Solis
2. LA CANCION DE BUENOS AIRES, Osvaldo Pugliese with Abel Cordoba
3. PATOTERO SENTIMENTAL, Carlos Di Sarli with Mario Pomar
4. MALEVAJE, Carlos Gardel
5. JUAN PORTEñO, Edmundo Rivero
6. FUEYE, Anibal Troilo
7. CAMBALACHE, Julio Sosa


For over a century, the tango has been the reflection of the country who gave it its origin. The music of tango was the result of a mixture of Creole and imported rhythms. The interracial blending of Italian, Spaniards, Jews and Creoles generated a type of Argentine man whose musical mirror is the tango. That new Argentino inherited two major attributes from the millions of immigrants that arrived to Buenos Aires in less than one hundred years: resentment and sadness. Thus, Discepolo’s description of the tango as a sad thought that people dance.

To deny the citizenship of the tango is to deny to existence of Buenos Aires. Being a hybrid product of the outskirts of the fledging city, Buenos Aires itself was the product of massive foreign population since the 16th century.