Guadalupe Aballe

Todo Tango’s homage to Carlos Gardel, June 30, 2005

mong the public events —that were held in the city of Buenos Aires to pay tribute to Carlos Gardel’s figure— Todo Tango could not be absent.

The event took place on Thursday, June 30, at 7:30 pm, at the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo, which gently lent us its house.

We had a qualified audience. Among them we can mention Dr. Carlos Perrotta, with a long career researching Gardel’s life, author of a detailed and precise research that discredited the far-fetched version of Carlos Gardel “imprisoned in Ushuaia”; our dear Ana Turón, another valuable Gardelian, who traveled from Azul not to miss the event; two strongholds of the site and worthy tango collectors, our friends Bruno Cespi and Héctor Lucci; and as well loyal contributors such as Héctor Benedetti, Alberto Rasore and José Pedro Aresi.

Marcelo Oliveri gave us a warm welcome in the name of the Academia and invited our director, Ricardo García Blaya, to make a speech. So the meeting started.

García Blaya acknowledged the present importance of Carlos Gardel after seventy years of his death, highlighting the reality of his permanent validity in our culture and in the world, stressing his unarguable merit of having invented the song in tango.

He was very kind to invite me to go onto the stage first. The subject I chose was connected with the human values of the singer, his human dimension, his generosity, his filial love. He perfectly knew that in his early youth he had not paid attention to his mother’s feelings and that his behavior had caused her pain more than once but he later was preoccupied for mending those errors. By means of the tender phrases in his personal correspondence to her we can verify the lovely treatment he had for doña Berta. Also when he spoke about her in letters to his friends or when he mentioned her in the interviews. To err is human, but acknowledging those errors and mend them is a true gesture of grandeur.

As for his good fellowship and humility, he used to recognize the merits in others and his own mistakes. Once, when he was performing on the radio in 1933, he stopped the orchestra that was accompanying him in order to start again his rendering of “Silencio”, because it was not all right. These attitudes can be found only in the ones that are truly great.

Later, I highlighted his simplicity, his devotion to work, his respect for the audience and his admirers.

After my speech, García Blaya invited Juan Carlos Esteban, a first-class researcher. Esteban began his allocution with an unforgettable phrase: «Gardel’s angel inhabits our existence since we entered his world, that is to say, ever since.» He later talked about the extraordinary resistance of Gardel to the inevitable erosion of time: «His validity and immortality, curiously, keeps on growing despite the appearance of new musical forms that are born and die without a rational explanation.»

He talked of the symbiosis between the society of his time and Gardel: «In that hypothesis, the neighborhood was the excluding protagonist of what we, now, call Argentine Society. It had precise boundaries. Its geography was the courtyard, the sidewalk, the street or the thoroughfare and, up to there our home reached and, if you press me, our world. The hall was the unavoidable passage that communicated us with that urban paradise that was called neighborhood.»

«The characters that lived in the neighborhood were saints and tough guys and Gardel described them all, but he also qualified them all. For each one he had in reserve a praising tone, punishment, compassion, tenderness. His inflection, the collocation of his voice, the nuances, the chromatic richness was not always the same. They were different and changed for each of his characters.»

A strong applause closed that brilliant participation. Soon thereafter, our director invited Mr. Enrique Espina Rawson, president of the Centro de Estudios G