By Julio Nudler
Pianist, guitarist, composer, author, singer
(February 24, 1931 - August 31, 2005)
obody has been able, like Eladia Blázquez, to create so successful tangos with lyrics and, in some isolated cases, of so much quality- since the late 1960s, when the popularity of the genre had fallen down to its historical minimum in Argentina. Only some titles by the team Astor Piazzolla-Horacio Ferrer can stand the comparison. She created a true new tango-song, although not conforming to avant-garde patterns, with her rare ability to combine notes and words. With a new subject matter and an updated language she made a strong impression on a wide public, not necessarily tango diggers. The traditionalists received her coldly, although without the aggressiveness they evidenced for other more heterodox propositions.
She was often nicknamed "la Discépolo con faldas" (Discepolo with skirts), but that comparison with Enrique Santos Discepolo (the author of "Yira yira" and "Cambalache") is really exaggerated. Although Blázquez is generally critical, piercing and skeptical, her verses neither have except for some flashes- the deepness, the richness of imagery nor the poetry of those by the "Canción desesperada"´s author. Within the irregular quality of her pieces, she makes use, at times, of a unmeasured and rhetoric exaltation of Buenos Aires, which does not take into account the deteriorated quality of life in that great metropolis of disordered growth, with pollution and chaotic in some sectors.
Another despicable feature of her creation is the empty nationalism she at times professes. An example of it can be evidenced with the tango "Convencernos", that she wrote together with Chico Novarro, launched in 1976, when Argentina was beginning to undergo the most bloodthirsty military dictatorship of our history. The lyrics says:
"Y ser al menos una vez nosotros,
sin ese tinte de un color de otros,
recuperar la identidad,
plantarnos en los pies,
crecer hasta lograr la madurez,
y ser al menos una vez nosotros,
bien nosotros, tan nosotros
¡como debe ser!"
(And to be, at least once, we ourselves, without that tinge of others' color, to recover our identity, to stand up on our feet, to grow until reaching maturity, and to be, at least once, we ourselves, so much ourselves, so ourselves as it has to be!)
Perhaps unintentionally, with this composition, seen at a distance, Eladia offers us a good sample of the distortion of the ideas then in vogue.
Blázquez has been walking different roads throughout her life as an artist, according to the circumstances, looking after a place for her creative drive.
In her early childhood she succeeded by singing the popular Spanish repertoire, determined by her parents' origin. Spanish immigrants formed an enormous audience, and Buenos Aires was the biggest Galician city in the world, with more inhabitants born in Galicia than La Coruña, capital of that Spanish region. Argentine folk music, later boleros, subsequently tangos and lastly ballads were following one another in her labor.
From 1970 is her first LP record devoted to tango, where she sings her own compositions. In the two previous years she had successively lost her mother and her father. On that historical release she included the excellent "Sueño de barrilete" (Dream of a Kite), that in fact she had composed in 1959 and made it be known only in 1968. With a masterly blend of melody and verses, she presents a frustrated character, who failed in reaching the level of his ideal. On that same album we find others of the best tangos that Eladia would ever compose, such as "Contame una historia" and "Sin piel", as well as "Mi ciudad y mi gente", which was the winner at the Festival de la Canción de Buenos Aires in 1970.
After "El precio de vencer", one of her most questioning numbers, that she recorded in 1973, a year when in Argentina predominated radicalized political ideas, "El corazón al sur" clearly outstands as her most popular tango, that she recorded in 1976. Blázquez was born in Avellaneda, a city bordering with the south of Buenos Aires. This cardinal point is equivalent to poor and popular for the Buenos Aires inhabitants. As a matter of fact, success allowed this artist to live in the Barrio Norte, one of the most expensive places in Buenos Aires, but with that tango she came to say that her heart had remained on the other side.