by Julio Nudler
Complete Name: Susana Natividad Rinaldi
Apodo: La Tana
(Buenos Aires, December 25, 1935)
usana Rinaldi suddenly appeared in the middle of a heath. In the late 1966, Argentina has recently undergone a new military Putsch, which has established an obscurantist dictatorship that tried to suffocate the cultural effervescence of the previous years. Tango saw how the popularity it had enjoyed until the mid- 50's was broken to pieces, and although an avant garde movement of innovative musicians, with Astor Piazzolla as leading figure, attempted opening new paths, the response in massive public was scarce and the aroused resistances were enormous. Except for traditional standards still on high, like the orchestras led by Osvaldo Pugliese and Aníbal Troilo, among a few others surviving out of the past, the rest tended to repeat old formulae which no longer arouse enthusiasm.
With a new style, a delicate voice and a way of saying, at times subtle or rotund, Susana left out the outskirts inflections, the macho themes or the coarse passional outline, turning to a varied repertoire but carefully chosen, which blended romanticism and message (to state it with lyricist names: José María Contursi and Enrique Santos Discepolo), poetry and protest (Homero Manzi and Cátulo Castillo).
She so attracted an intellectualized public, including a university sector, who through her recognized tango again. She later magnificently interpreted new creators, such as Eladia Blázquez (her rendition of "Sueño de barrilete" is remarkable), the team Osvaldo Avena-Héctor Negro ("Responso para un hombre gris") or Chico Novarro ("Cordón").
With the passing of time, lost her initial freshness and devoted, in and out of Argentina, to tango-show with its deviations and stereotypes, Rinaldi was indulging into tics and exaggerations which weakened her quality, though fortunately in more recent years she suppressed those excesses. Apart from her fluctuations, the traditional Argentine tango fan never loved her, unjustly cold-shouldered her, in spite of it she kept a loyal audience.
Hers is a lonesome figure, who fought and won her battle of elaborate popular artist, only depending on her own strength.
Daughter to an unequal married couple a father from bourgeois family, a mother of humble origin-, she lived a childhood dislocated by successive changes of residence throughout the provinces. From 1949 on, and for eight years, she studied chamber music singing at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música. In 1955 she entered the Escuela de Arte Dramático. Two years later she debuted on television, and in 1959 she played her first role at a theater, with a company headed by two great figures of the Argentine scene: Alfredo Alcón and María Rosa Gallo.
In 1966 the founders of an independent record label, Madrigal, offered her to record a recital of poetry, but she suggested instead a record on which she would sing tangos. After an audition, they agreed, and then, by the end of that year, her first album appeared, under the musical direction of the bandoneonist Roberto Pansera.
After being interrupted for a time, her career as singer, backed by critics, achieved an enormous impulse and overshadowed the actress's. She sang at a local where Piazzolla had been playing (on 676 Tucumán street), and with him she later shared a cycle in Michelangelo, a well-known night club still in vogue, while she went on recording.
It is worth mentioning that she cut a record containing four numbers with another great avant garde musician, Eduardo Rovira, and that in 1970 she devoted a whole long-playing record to tangos with lyrics by Homero Manzi. The latter was released by another independent label of great merit, Trova, which five years later launched another LP of the singer, entirely devoted to Cátulo Castillo.
She and her husband, the bandoneonist and leader Osvaldo Piro, in 1971 opened the café-concert Magoya in Mar del Plata, the main seaside resort in Argentina, on the Atlantic.
Rinaldi then consolidated her image as a successful scenic singer, either at small locals or at big shows, while she ventured on cinema as actress.
In 1976, already established in our country a new military dictatorship, she made her début in Paris, a city where she finally settled in 1989 and from where she had already succeeded in becoming the most important international voice of tango.