Catamarca Tango
Cuesta abajo Tango
Silencio Tango
Salvador Arancio

The last tango that Gardel sang

dmundo G. Armando, a collector from Santa Fe gave us a curious, at least for us, information that is added to the book of stories and testimonies concerning the interesting life of the noted singer, data that are beyond his undisputed vocal quality.

This was originated in a piece of news transmitted to El Diario, of Montevideo by its correspondent in Brazil, the Uruguayan journalist who signed as Tampico. Witnessing a performance by Hugo Del Carril at the Roxy hall in Sao Paolo, a woman in the audience asked the journalist about the last tango sung by Gardel in Colombia. The chronicler did not know which one it was. After the show, accompanying Hugo in the car, the journalist asked him the same question but the singer was unable to answer it either.

Time later, Tampico read in the Correio da Manhã, of Río de Janeiro, by chance, the transcription of a chronicle of a Colombian paper that originated his commentary in January 1941 for El Diario.

This was the chronicle: «On the evening of June 23, 1935 the speaker of the Colombian radio station La Voz de la Víctor announced a special radio show featuring Carlos Gardel for all the republic. It was sponsored by Saco, an airline company, in one of whose planes the renowned singer had traveled. The show began at 23:15 with the song (canción criolla) “Sin nom” sung by Gardel. After that overwhelming applauses awarded his interpretation, the unforgettable artist expressed his sadness for having to leave Bogotá. These phrases touched the audience. Later he sang “Cuesta abajo” accompanied by his guitarists Aguilar, Riverol and Barbieri. Later, “Tengo miedo de tus ojos”, that came next to a guitar solo played by José Aguilar. Then the beautiful song “El carretero" followed. In the second part of his program he performed “Catamarca”, next “Melodía de arrabal”, later “Agarrala si podés” and his guitarists closed with their rendition of “Tentación”. On request, Gardel sang “Silencio” and after this tango he said the following words to the public:

“Before singing my last song I want to tell you that I have been deeply touched in Colombia. Thanks for so much kindness. I find in the children’s smiles, the women’s eyes and the goodness of the Colombians a tender feeling towards me. My emotion does not allow me to speak. Thank you and goodbye”».

And next, his last tango and, consequently, the answer for the question that originated this chronicle: “Tomo y obligo”.

The Colombian chronicle added that the radio show ended at 00:30. A few hours later another radio station, La Voz de Antioquía, announced Gardel’s demise.

Excerpted from Cuadernos de difusión del tango, Nº 39, directed and published by Salvador Arancio.