By
Néstor Pinsón

Some examples of tango in our political history

ango was not absent in the testimony of our political history. Numerous were the homages to characters and episodes that moved our people. We shall evoke some of those titles.

We begin this list with the so-called Revolución del Parque, a putsch that took place at the Parque de Artillería (Artillery Park) that was located where today is Plaza Lavalle, in front of the building of the Courts of Justice where the Unión Cívica, the first organic political party of Argentina, tried to overthrow the then president Miguel Juárez Celman. The revolution failed but forced the president to resign. The event took place on July 26, 1890, then the vicepresident Carlos Pellegrini assumed office. Three titles refer to those events:

Al parque”, tango by José Pini, —«dedicated to F. Castañeda Vegaz». Composer of other pieces: “Echale tabaco al pito”, “El cañadón”, “El marino”, “El revolcón”.

“El parque”, radical tango by Pedro Datta, composer of the famous waltz “El aeroplano”.

“El parque (1890-1916)”, march of the violinist Alpidio Fernández —«Dedicated to Manuel Russo Bascoas»— who was conductor of the Teatro Casino orchestra and author, among others, of the tango “T.V.O.”.

As homage to radicalism, then the Unión Cívica party, we rescue two tangos with the same title:

Unión Cívica”, tango by Domingo Santa Cruz —«Dedicated to Mr. Manuel Aparicio». Aparicio was a tough political leader of our Capital Federal, respected by friends and foes. This tango piece, due to its appealing melody was included in many repertories and has become a classic of our tango discography.

“Unión Cívica [b]”, salon tango composed by Pedro Sofía —«Dedicated to the advertising commission of section 14».

A character well remembered by tango was Leandro N. Alem. Born in Buenos Aires on March 11, 1842 he committed suicide on a carriage that was taking him to El Progreso club on July 1, 1896. He was deputy on two occasions and national senator. In 1890 he was one of the founders of the Unión Cívica, but after the Revolución del Parque, because of the agreement between Bartolomé Mitre and Roca, he split with the former and formed the Unión Cívica Radical. “Don Leandro”, radical tango for piano written by Rafael Rossi.

Another personality that occupied for over sixty years the political scene of Argentina was the socialist Alfredo L. Palacios. Son of Uruguayans, he was born in 1879 and died on April 20, 1965:

“Espiante que viene Palacios” (Let’s go that Palacios is coming), tango for piano by Silvio Di Pascal, —«Dedicated to my beloved friends Manuel and Juan Carlos Bello». The title refers to a bill that punished white slave trade, which later was called Ley Palacios. On the front cover of the sheetmusic we see a woman —apparently in unmentionable negotiations— with a man. From a certain distance Palacios is coming with a roll of paper with the law written on it in one hand and a sword in his other hand.

“El socialista argentino” (subtitled “A. Palacios”), tango by Luis Loiello —«To my friends, the inspector Ricardo Muñoz and Mr. Pascual Fernando».

El socialista”, by Juan Mallada, tango Nº 8 —«To Dr. Alfredo Palacios. Argentine socialist deputy».

“El diputado”, tango by Armando Maristany (inspired in Palacios but dedicated to «My friend Angel Radice»).

Barullo en la barra”, tango criollo by Juan Marini —«Dedicated to the Orquesta Santa Cruz». The title refers to a heavy argument between Palacios and Dr. Oyhanarte in the chamber of deputies. The composer was pianist and bandleader. He joined the orchestra led by Arolas in 1917. Another tango of his was “Hospital Durand”. He died in 1949.

Another outstanding socialist was the Spaniard Enrique del Valle Iberlucea. He was born in Santander on April 18, 1877 and died in Buenos aires on August 30, 1921. Journalist, writer, lawyer and national senator, he was recognized by tango:

El socialista”, a fashionable social tango by Antonio Lagomarsino —«Dedicated to the national senator Del Valle Iberlucea». The composer was bandleader and conducted at the Teatro Apolo and the Royal Theatre. Other numbers he composed: “Afeitate el 7 que el 8 es fiesta”, “Alsina”, “Cuidado con la pintura”, “El aurinegro”.

As homage to other militants of the radicalism:

“Del Grosso”, great danceable tango, by Ernesto Zambonini —«Dedicated to his peers of the radical subcommitte Coronel Martín D. Irigoyen, section 5, and its honorable president Rodolfo C. Del Grosso».

“Abstención”, by Ernesto Parente, —«To the deputy Herminio J. Quirós, by the radical young people of Concordia, Entre Ríos».

El Radical”, by Angélica Martegani, «Dedicated to the radical young people».

“U.C.R.”, by Adolfo Pérez "Pocholo". Of 1958, during the Arturo Frondizi’s presidency.

“El radical”, by Luciano Ríos, «Dedicated to Mr. Ambrosio Lisarralde».

“Boina blanca”, by Raimundo L. Chartier, «Dedicado al Jefe del Partido Radical Dr. Hipólito Irigoyen».

“La 13 de fierro”, tango milonga by Pedro de Toro, «Dedicated to the distinguished patriot, citizen Mr. S. Mieli». March 23, 1914.

Other tangos composed that are connected to politics:

Cantilo-Solanet”, great fashionable tango by Udelino Toranzo. «Dedicated to the governor and vicegovernor of the province of Buenos Aires». Author of the successful tango “Jueves” together with Rafael Rossi.

“El triunfador”, tango criollo for piano by Leopoldo Corretjer,
«Dedicated to the national deputy Dr. Pascual Lacasa».

“La política”, by Manuel Lumía.

“¿El protocolo?”, by Alfredo M. Cassini, «Dedicated to the distinguished gentleman Ernesto Bembenuto».

“El Congreso”, by Santos J. Moyano, «Dedicated to the accountant Santiago Chimento».

“El distinguido intendente”, fashionable tango by Ernesto Zambonini, «Respectfully dedicated to the mayor Dr. Joaquín Llambías».

Finally, two personalities of Argentine politics:

“Elpidio”, lyrics and music by Paz Hermoso (Jr). In memory of Elpidio González (1875-1951), vicepresident of the nation when Marcelo T. de Alvear was president, 1922. He was many times in jail because he belonged to the radical party. He was minister on several occasions and also national deputy. A true example because of his republican virtues.

Don Lisandro”, by Manuel Solano and Juan Augusto, «To the indefatigable struggler Dr. Lisandro de la Torre, advocator of the high ideals of democracy».

“El Demócrata Progresista”, by Ernesto Zambonini ("Dedicated to the good personalities that belong to the commission of the great Demócrata Progresista party"). Lisandro de la Torre was born in the city of Rosario on December 6, 1868 and committed suicide in Buenos Aires on January 5, 1939. Journalist and lawyer, he appeared in politics as from the Revolución del Parque. Opponent to Yrigoyen, he was president of the Sociedad Rural of Rosario. In 1916 he founded the Partido Demócrata Progresista which, the following year, chose him as candidate for president but was defeated by the radicalism. In 1932 he occupied a seat in the senate. His goals were morality in public office and his fight against the monopoly in the sale of meat. After a failed attempt to murder him and a duel with the conservative politician, Federico Pinedo, regrettably he decided to commit suicide.