Graciela Pesce

Real name: Pesce, Graciela
Poet, composer and singer
(23 November 1961 - 23 March 2020)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Ricardo García Blaya

his singer-songwriter born in Buenos Aires, according to Roberto Selles, opened: «an unprecedented style in the genre: tango for children».

I think that she went further, she invented a subgenre of tango lyrics, a starting point never attempted. An approach to the world of adults from the child’s point of view that expresses a paradigm different to the one known, building a sort of dialectics quite original in the imaginary of grown-ups and children. Graciela opened a door from where we should go on exploring.

Her first work, published in 1998, was praised by critics and peers. The album was entitled Tango para chicos volumen l which includes "Chapuzón" —with Julia Zenko on vocals—, the first tango composed by Graciela.

Our friend, the poet Héctor Negro, alluding to the nature of her compositions, and stressing the curious paradox of her place in the historical context of the genre, wonders: «Who would have imagined in the early stages of this music of low origin, product of the imagination and creativity of those amusing and boastful tough guys, that some day its lyrics would be devoted to children so that they would listen to them, sing them and meet with snippets of their elusive world? Graciela Pesce faced that possibility that meant a great challenge and solved it successfully».

We can say —confirming what was said above and reviewing in depth her oeuvre— that she did not write children’s tangos, but that she wrote for children with all the elements that belong to that elusive and full of fantasy world. We can also state that, because of the typical naivety of that universe, a translucent poetry is touched that as such is aimed at all the possible addressees of the human race, whether they’d be children or not.

¡Araca! Encontré un enanito,
me dio miedo un poquito, era cierto nomás
que en jardines de malvones y rosas,
detenido en la losa, las cuidaba el guardián.
("¡Araca! La abuela no inventó")

The poet Graciela Zanini wrote in the foreword of Tango para Chicos. Letras y relatos, the second book by Graciela Pesce published by Editorial Corregidor in 2011: «She is an artist. A creator focused on tango with her ears of her soul directed to kids. To the ones born in this incredible city of Buenos Aires that were outside the scope of music, that, by birth and permanence ought to represent them. Or even better, talk about them. Like them, from them. Here is when Graciela Pesce takes on the responsibility of the debt of the emotional deficit unresolved. She listens, composes and sings and brings entity to the invisible. She searches and finds the way to include the young people of the future in the canon, from their present of childhood. Her tangos for children are that. Inclusion.»

The late narrator and story teller, Andrés Carretero said: «Her tangos belong to our present days, avoiding the traditional and out of date archetypes like the corner streetlight, the tough guy and her mistress». Later he added: «The characters of her lyrics are children and adults with the needs of daily life, who have many questions that need to be answered». As an example he mentions the tango: "Maxiquiosco".

Maxiquiosco me enteré
y casi me muero
tengo noches de desvelo, no me puedo consolar,
no serás ya la razón de nuestras vidas,
no tendremos caramelos
porque te harás laverrap.

In the number 82 of El Chamuyo, official communication organ of the Academia Nacional del Tango, Horacio Ferrer, its president, described her as «The kindergarten teacher of Tango». Furthermore, she was awarded the Gold Gobbi award for the project Tango para chicos, together with Daniel Yarmolinski, in 2009.

The Academia Porteña del Lunfardo also backed her oeuvre and her head José Gobello foretold: «Children will learn to sing tangos thought and composed for themselves, with joyful and catchy music and lyrics that express the children’s feelings in a familiar language»

She won many awards and recognition for her oeuvre: First Prize of the Fundación Octubre for Tangos para Chicos (1998). Second Premio Centenario Doltó, Fundación por la Causa de los Niños Casa Verde (2008). The Orden del Buzón, awarded by the Museo Manoblanca for Tangos para Chicos to Graciela Pesce and Daniel Yarmolinski (2010).

Her complete discography: Tango para chicos - Volumen 1 (1998), featuring Julia Zenko for the M&M label; Tango para chicos - Volumen 2 (2004), featuring Patricia Barone, Lidia Borda and Juan Carlos Baglietto, M&M label; Tango para chicos en los Jardines - Volumen 3 (2007), featuring Leopoldo Federico, Lidia Borda and Eduardo Smidt, Típica Records label; Tango para chicos y sus hermanos - Volumen 4, featuring Jairo, May 2011, released by Gobi Music.

Her published books: Bulebú con Soda (Tango para ofrecer a los chicos), with Daniel Yarmolinski, it includes a disc. Published by Editorial Corregidor (2005) which also incluyes, besides her tangos and milongas, the readings to share based on the history of tango like: “El organito, un volantero del tango”, “El himno y El choclo”, “Los duendes porteños”, “Un tango en navidad”, “Gardel también ataja”, and several more.

And, Tango para chicos (Letras y relatos), also with Yarmolinski, with drawings by Marcela Troncoso. Editorial Corregidor (2011). A selection of her lyrics, with commentaries by Héctor Negro and prologue by Graciela Zanini.

I want to highlight that this young poet, inspired and talented, was the winner of the Bienal de Arte Joven 1991, as singer-songwriter in the category Popular Music and was finalist, at the Primer Certamen de la Canción Atahualpa Yupanqui, organized by the Centro Cultural General San Martín in 1997.

A final consideration: the author turned out a simple but direct educator that leaves for our children a new style as introduction to our national culture: playing tango game.