20. Memory and trascendence of Gardel
n our childhood and even in our youth, many times we woke up with our heart squeezed by listening to the chords of the tango “Silencio”. We were shaken when thinking of the sad loneliness of that mother who had lost her five sons on the battlefront...
Our romanticism reached its utmost level when hearing the nostalgic songs “Cuesta abajo” or “El día que me quieras”. Whose voice was that caused such sensitivity in our souls? No less than the Zorzal Criollo's, that in the splendor of his glory strongly broke into the world and consequently into every place of our homeland.
We had reached maturity and we wanted to permanently keep such virtuoso interpreter in our presence, what produced the miracle of turning us into practical and fervent diggers of the wonderful city music.
Unfortunately, Ecuador did not have the chance to see and hear Carlos Gardel in person; however, through his recordings and his movies, as soon as they proliferated, his figure and his songs generated a impassioned, overflowing, inclination to cultivate the River Plate song and emulate at the same time ways and habits of the popular and beloved troubadour, such was the commitment of his worshippers that many people straightened their hair and dressed in Gardel's style.
By the way, we recall the case of a Quito citizen, a craftsman worker, who after closing his workshop, approximately at five in the afternoon, well dressed in Gardel's fashion, walked to his academy to teach tango dancing, little waltzes and milonga...
So, Gardel's personality was so determinant and lasting in the artistic environment, that his image was entangled between reality and legend.
The admirative transcendence for the popular interpreter and the «tango milongón, corazón de arrabal», according to the definition of a contemporary writer, was materialized when, as we know, institutions devoted to worshipping and widespreading the porteño song in different places of the world were founded.
Our country, by the above-mentioned background, could in no way be the exception. In previous years some association of tango friends already existed. And in clear evidence that the fervidness did not die down with the passing of time, a numerous group lovers of the River Plate music formed in Quito in the early 1984 the TANGO CLUB, a non-commercial organism that carries out various cultural, artistic activities, and is reaching an unforeseen national e international importance.
One of its principal tasks, is the periodic edition of TANGO —voz informativa oficial (official information voice)— which besides keeping stable sections related to the River Plate music, composers and interpreters, very often receives spontaneous collaborations by noted writers and national and foreign poets.
Under the auspices of the Argentine Republic Embassy and on occasion of Gardel's centennial, it is to be distributed internationally a special edition containing ample material about his birth, his artistic career, his love affairs and his tragic end, regretting that a lot of subjects of real interest were not yet dealt with.
Another activity is the making of literary-musical radiophonic programs of general acceptance. Precisely, we are getting ready a special with Gardel curiosities. What about the Morocho del Abasto singing in Neapolitan, English and French?.
The record collections of the members gather recordings made on a diversity of materials, from the old carbon acetate to the modern and sophisticated compact disc, those, as Horacio Ferrer would say, are records with «asthma» or, in other words, with «rain».
So abounding the collections are, that an Argentine citizen, in contact with the Club, in admiration exclaimed: «But che, not even in Argentina we find this!» (sic)
And what to say, dear readers, of the curious arguments aroused concerning the music of our choice, particularly the dear subject Gardel: his nationality, the existence of a birth certificate in Toulouse, the authenticity of it; some think that his birthplace is Tacuarembó and his father is Colonel Escayola, others state that he is more Argentine than Corrientes street, with a neighborhood of el Abasto smell... his inclination toward a certain political group, the want he underwent in his beginnings; the artistic rise, his sentimental relation with Isabelita del Valle and the love affairs with Azucena Maizani and Mona Maris... That is to say, whatever happened in the star's lifetime is a question of ardent but cordial dispute.
Finally, we stir up the deeds of the unforgettable Zorzal and, with undisguisable pride, documents, chronicles, portraits, books, photographs, etc. are presented to us, being amazing the abundant material available for our co-members.
But they are all questions belonging to yesterday and the only thing that permanently palpitates is his Voice, the tears in his throat.
The present note is signed by Pedro Montero and Leonardo Chiriboga, who hold the Tango Club presidency and the presidency of its Editorial Council. The Tango Club is a non-commercial organism founded in 1984 to widespread and cultivate tango in Ecuador. It has more than 150 members and has domestic connections and abroad. It has legal capacity: Agreement 2670 of 30/03/87, Official Record 660, of 07/04/87.