Da Veiga - A chat with Otilia Da Veiga
everal years ago I came to know Otilia Da Veiga in the office of my beloved and unforgettable friend Oscar Himschoot. The latter, besides having introduced her to me, gave me a booklet with her poems. At that time Todo Tango was non-existent but I remember that she was one of the first to be included in the section of lunfardo poems when we launched the webpage on the Internet in 1999. Some of those sonnets were taken from that publication.
Time later I met her again at the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo and it was there where I engaged her to have a chat about her career which I would publish in our portal later. In that interview, in fact a virtual one, made by e-mail she told me:
«I was born in the city of Buenos Aires, on the boundaries of two neighborhoods: Balvanera sur and San Cristóbal. There I early got in touch with the popular music and the parole of Buenos Aires.
«I studied at the Instituto Grafotécnico (Escuela Superior de Periodismo)(High School of Journalism) and was interested in the Spanish literature classics and, especially, in the poets of the Golden Age and, at the same time, in the lunfardesque poets.
«I wrote some lyrics of tangos and milongas: “Flores de hoy”, “Tango blues y rockanroll”, “Calavera” and “La menega”, among others. The music of all the pieces was composed by maestro Mario Valdez and the milonga “La menega” has been included into the Diccionario de Argentinismos of the Academia Argentina de Letras (music section).
«I have lectured on subjects connected with lunfardo at the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo, at the Centro Ligure of La Pampa, at the Asociación de Funcionarios del Poder Legislativo de la Nación, at the Junta de Estudios Históricos del Barrio de Boedo and had informative chats in some grade schools of the sixth district.
«Back in 2000, with the female poet Martina Iñíguez and the singer Silvana Gregori, we staged a show that we presented at the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo, at the Sociedad Hebraica, at the Book Fair in Olavarría, and in Uruguay.
«Later, with my daughter, the singer Marisa Eguía, I appeared at the Café Tortoni and at the Club del Vino, among other venues of Buenos Aires city.
«I contributed with neighborhood journals. I was summoned to appear as member of the board at contests in different places of the province of Buenos Aires. I am staff member of the board of the Círculo de Poetas Lunfardos. I am member of the Junta de Estudios Históricos de San Cristóbal and I was its president and founding member. I also joined the Junta Central de Estudios Históricos de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. I appeared at the IX Congreso de Historia de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires and my motion is filed in the book Historias de Buenos Aires published by that Junta in 2009.»
Her account ends here but we have to add that her oeuvre appears in several anthologies: “Cien sonetos lunfardos” by Octavio Guido Moya and “Antología” by Gente de Letras. She wrote and published “Parafraseando, de Quevedo al lunfardo” (2001) and “Escarceos con la lengua” (2008).
She co-wrote with José Gobello “Historia de la Academia Porteña del Lunfardo” (2011), a tour along nearly fifty years of that institution. Furthermore, she has been permanent member of the latter since October 2005 and, now she is practicing vice-president.
In December 2011 she was honored as “Artífice del Patrimonio de Buenos Aires” by the Dirección General de Patrimonio de la Subsecretaría de Cultura and she is regarded as part of the living heritage of the city.
To conclude, we recommend that you visit our section La Biblioteca and look, among the Otilia’s lunfardo poems, for the sonnet: “A la edad de los varones” which besides being well-written is very funny.