Posts Tagged ‘Juan D’Arienzo’

Powerful moments

September 10, 2009

I don’t know how to describe it other than powerful. It was an overwhelming sensation. The tanda was Juan D’Arienzo with singer Alberto Echagüe. I was dancing with one of my regular partners. We were practically in the center, completely surrounded on a packed floor, something I haven’t seen for some time at my favorite milonga home. The energy was tremendous as we all were being seduced by the recordings of El Rey de Compás. I’ve never experienced anything like it before in all my years in the milongas. I told my partner the excitement I felt at that moment. D’Arienzo’s music grabs your attention, makes you feel it, and  you want to dance. If one hasn’t been moved by the power of his recordings, it’s time to switch to another dance. I imagined for a second what it would have been like to film from the center of the floor, but later I realized that the scene was already recorded in my memory along with the feelings I had of those powerful moments.

Italia Unita

January 22, 2009

italia-unita-balvaneraThis magnificent structure, located at Tte. Gral. Juan D. Peron 2543 in the wholesale shopping district of El Once, was built in 1878.  I went to dance there on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons in 1999 where Ruben Harymbat, Enrique Rosich, and Enrique Ferreira started Milonga de los Consagrados.  Felix Picherna was the deejay in those days.  I recall dancing there with so many wonderful dancers.  The milonga lasted only a few months because of problems with management.  The building was eventually closed for renovation in October 2000 and was returned to its original splendor.  It was the last place where Juan D’Arienzo performed in the 1970s.  Today it is known as Sabor a Tango, where a nightly dinner tango show is presented in the Palazzo Rossini (named after the Italian composer).  Salon Italia Unita and Salon Agusteo (Sarmiento 1374) were two milongas during the 1950s for 35-50 year-old dancers according to milonguero Miguel Angel Balbi.




Milonga de los Consagrados in Italia Unita (November 1999) photo by Lisa Penninger

Milonga de los Consagrados in Italia Unita (November 1999) photo by Lisa Penninger

Salon La Argentina

November 2, 2008
Salon La Argentina

Salon La Argentina

 The salon was designed by architect Juan Manzini and constructed in 1902, a time when it functioned as a place for social encounters for the members of the Argentine Philanthropic Society.  Given its excellent acoustics with oak floor from Slovenia, chamber music concerts were held there during the 1910s.  The association rented the salon to organizors, some of them orchestras who played every Saturday.  During the 1930s, the first tango dance was organized by alumnos of the College of Medicine.  The 1940s was an era of splendor for the salon when it had regular gatherings.   The orchestras of Juan D’Arienzo and Osvaldo Pugliese performed on stage, and Angel Vargas, Julio Sosa, Alberto Castillo and even Carlos Gardel among many others sang there.

The ladies wore long dresses, and the men gladly paid the entrada for the privilege of inviting someone to dance with the cabeceo.  Salon La Argentina was characterized by its hierarchy, differentiating itself from other tango venues with compadritos and lower class elements.  From the 1970s to the 1990s, the salon was rented out for dances and other social events.  It remained closed from 2001-2004 for a restoration project and transformed into a modern theater while preserving the original identity of the edifice.

The address is Rodriguez Pena 361 near Corrientes.  Nearby at  Bartolome Mitre 1759 is Nuevo Salon La Argentina, named after the original, where the milonga El Arranque is held four days a week.

It must have been crowded for dancing at Salon Argentina
It must have been crowded for dancing at Salon La Argentina

Photos and historic sketch from Palacio Rodriguez Pena

Rodolfo Cesar Indegno

September 27, 2008

May 8, 1931—September 23, 2008

I will never be able to hear a tango of Juan D’Arienzo without thinking of Rodolfo. That was his favorite orchestra with singer Alberto Echague.

Rodolfo was born in Villa Urquiza and danced as a young man in all the downtown confiterias and cabarets of Buenos Aires. He served as a pilot in the Air Force for 25 years. I got to know more about him during visits the last three months of his life. He lived the last several years in a geriatric center where he was able to come and go as he pleased.

Rodolfo died single with no surviving family. He had one female companion who took care of him for many years. She arranged for his burial at Chacarita cemetery. I accompanied her to his gravesite on Wednesday morning.

Rodolfo disappeared from the milongas during June, but returned on July 9 to Lo de Celia when he felt better. He danced that day for the very last time.


Cafe de los Maestros

May 3, 2008

Several years ago Gustavo Santaolalla decided to try to convince a group of tango musicians and singers to return to the recording studio and collaborate on a new project. He invited true maestros, all over 70 and as old as 90, to participate; several of them have died(*) since the project began in 2003. First, there is a two-CD set of 27 tracks with background text on the musicians. It won the Latin Grammy for best tango album in 2006. The maestros were filmed during the recording sessions and participated in a concert at Teatro Colon in August 2006. The recording sessions and concert have been boiled down to a 93-minute documentary that was presented in February 2008, at the Berlin Film Festival. Finally, a book for Café de los Maestros will be published in English in late 2009.

My friend Diana has a close association with two of the musicians of Café de los Maestros as the artistic director and executive producer of a compact disc by a tango singer. She invited me to join her at the Café de los Maestros reception on March 13, 2008, at the Academia Nacional del Tango where the maestros received certificates for their participation presented to each of them by Gustavo Santaolalla. Diana gave me the Café de los Maestros CDs for my birthday a few weeks ago.

The studio where Café de los Maestros was recorded is located seven blocks from my apartment. Diana invited me to attend a recording session there today. As I walked the hallway, I discovered that this was the studio where every important Argentine recording artist has sung or played. Estudios ION is where Osvaldo Pugliese, Anibal Troilo, and Juan D’Arienzo recorded. The photos on the walls tell the story, as does the impressive list of artists who have recorded there since 1956. I entered the actual studio, where Café de los Maestros was recorded from November 2003 to September 2004, in order to film a recording session by tango singer Ricardo Pol with Anibal Arias and Osvaldo Montes. I watched and listened in the control booth where Jorge Da Silva, the sound engineer for Café de los Maestros, was at the helm. It took three hours to record four tangos. I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it for the world.

(*) Jose Libertella (7/09/33-12/08/04); Carlos Garcia 4/21/14-8/4/06; Lagrima Rios 9/26/24-12/25/06; Oscar Ferrari 8/9/24-8/20/08; Carlos Lazzari 1925 – 6/7/09; Emilio de la Pena 1929 – 6/22/09; Gabriel “Chula” Clausi 8/30/11-2/17/10; Anibal Arias 7/20/22-10/3/10.


Luis Domingo Ferrari

April 13, 2008
April 9, 1924 — April 1, 2004
His friends called him “Pirucho.” His birthday gatherings were big events as you can see in the photo below. He is there in the front waving at me as I’m snapping the photo. Always included were his milonguero friends with an asado at Club Bristol where he and his wife Dolores lived and worked as caretakers. Cacho and Raquel were always helping out in the kitchen.
My fondest memories of this milonguero are the times we played our imaginary bandoneons together at his table in Lo de Celia during tandas of Juan D’Arienzo. Pirucho wasn’t dancing much during the last years of his life, but he went to the milongas to enjoy the company of friends. He loved to dance milonga more than tango, but I never had one dance with him.
Pirucho spent the last few months of his life in two public hospitals. I went to see him on his birthday, only to learn that he had died on April 1 at 3:00 a.m.



Ernesto Delgado, Pirucho, Carlos Alberto Rodriguez

Ernesto Delgado, Pirucho, Carlos Alberto Rodriguez