Day of the Bandoneon

Today marks the 95th anniversary of the birthday of Aníbal Troilo, who is considered by many as the greatest bandoneon player tango has ever had.  Pichuco was only 23 years old when he debuted with his orchestra in the cabaret Marabú located at Maipu 365. 

The national day of the bandoneon was established in 2005 and is dedicated to the bandoneon, an instrument of German origin which gives tango its unique and haunting sound.  The best instruments were made before 1942 and are in short supply these days with the growing popularity in playing the instrument.  There is a Fueye Alert to keep instruments in Argentina.  Young musicians will have to wait for old musicians to die in order to buy a instrument made by Alfred Arnold (known as Double A) or Premier.

Chicago was fortunate to have a resident bandoneonist who was invited to play tangos for dancing.  Jim Sherry ran a music store on the southside and invited Alejandro Scarpino (son of the composer/bandoneonist who wrote Canaro en Paris).  I remember making the drive from a northwest suburb to the southside of Chicago to a practica at Casa Tanguera where Scarpino provided the music for dancing.  The community of dancers was new in 1991, and there was a very small attendance.   I organized a tango event at Chicago Dance Studio in January 1992, with Alejandro Scarpino as special guest.   A large crowd came to hear him perform for ten minutes.  He eventually moved to Los Angeles which had a larger Argentine tango community.

Solo performances of Dia del Bandoneon: Leopoldo Federico, Walter RiosNestor Marconi, Julio Pane, and Juan José Mosalini.

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4 Responses to “Day of the Bandoneon”

  1. Simba Says:

    Feliz día del bandoneón! Grande Pichuco!

  2. Colin Brace Says:

    Troilo was great at everything: composer, player, and bandleader.

    Viva Pichuco!

  3. jantango Says:

    There was a very special concert at La Trastienda to celebrate the day. Ignacio Varchausky of TangoVia along with EPSA Music invited bandoneonists Juan Jose Mosalini, Julio Pane, Walter Rios, Nestor Marconi and Leopoldo Federico to perform. I bought my ticket four days before the concert and had a perfect view of the stage. Many had to stand for the two-hour concert.

    Mosalini has lived in Paris for 32 years. He came to do a master class and concert with the Orquesta Escuela del Tango. He and Julio Pane played one of Pane’s compositions. Walter Rios held up his bandoneon and kissed it after his performance which included excerpts of Troilo hits. Then Nestor Marconi invited him for a duo. Leopoldo Federico, who is amazing at 82, couldn’t believe that anyone would come to the concert with the flu epidemic and cold weather. The theater was packed. All received standing ovations. It was thrilling to be present for a once-in-a-lifetime concert like this one. The entire concert was filmed for posterity. You could have heard a pin drop. The bandoneon as a solo instrument was the show, and many young bandoneonists were in attendance.

    TangoVia has produced a series of compact discs with these musicians, El Arte del Bandoneon. Each one has recorded a superb collection of recordings that tangueros will appreciate.

    I went home for a quick bite and then left for La Casa del Tango where Anibal Troilo as composer was the theme of the open-mic session. Twenty of his compositions were sung during the first part of the pena de tango with accompaniment by two guitarists. It also included recitations dedicated to Pichuco. Nelida Rouchetto had a life-sized photo of Troilo on display. Fundacion La Casa del Tango located at Guardia Vieja 4049 in Almagro is the home of TangoVia and the Orquesta Escuela del Tango Emilio Balcarce.

  4. Simba Says:

    Sounds great!!

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