Enrique Dizeo

Real name: Dizeo, Enrique
Nicknames: Ozedi
(26 July 1893 - 6 May 1980)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Gaspar Astarita

e was, in the literature of tango, the author of the longest career, because he wrote until a very old age. Not as frequently as in the old times and not achieving either the popularity of his gone-by hits.

But that did not matter any more. His name was definitively recorded in the history of tango, by means of an abundant work in lyrics, of which a good portion was not seized by oblivion.

His plain, direct verses had the ingredient of a colorful expression, with the touching feelings of the street and the neighborhood. And those city feelings —at their first stage, especially— were spiced with the talk and the knowledge of one who not only is a witness, but also a protagonist of the thing.

From those early years numbers such as “Copen la banca”, of which Carlos Gardel left an unbeatable rendition, “Pan comido”, “Echaste buena”, “Qué se vayan”, Andate con la otra, and so many others in which the easy handling of lunfardo is evidenced, and in which horse-racing terms mixed together with many cancherismos porteños (picaresque and audacious terms) have deeply marked popular feeling.

However, with the appearance of José González Castillo, Homero Manzi, Francisco García Jiménez, Alfredo Le Pera and others the literary revolution took place in tango, then Enrique Dizeo joined them starting a labor with a more polished language, writing about love themes —“Más solo que nunca”, “Acordandome de vos”, “Cada día te quiero más”, “Mi regalo”—, but not leaving behind his witty city paintings, plentiful of feeling and true porteño character: “El encopao”, “No es más que yo”, “Ficha de oro”, “Con toda la voz que tengo” and many others more.

Among those tangos and milongas all of a sudden the great impact of his career as author appeared: the Peruvian waltz “Que nadie sepa mi sufrir”, with music of the singer Ángel Cabral, that still today is sung in our country and abroad. It was recorded by several artists —some of them with an international prestige, like the great Edith Piaf— who brought fame and money for their authors.

Notwithstanding that unexpected event that resulted in a wide popularity —achieved through a composition of humble contents, plus a catchy melody of strong Limean accent—, the name of Enrique Dizeo shall be considered forever linked to the world of tango.

And that Enrique Dizeo, digger of a style, of a technique and of a language extraordinarily identified with the popular song of Buenos Aires, is whom this work intends to recreate.

Enrique Dizeo was born in the city of Buenos Aires, on July 26, 1893, son of Francisco Dizeo and Francisca Bruno. Instruction?, elementary school and nothing else. Then the streets, a permanent scenery for his roundabouts of restless boy, who walked along the streets of those neighborhoods in his childhood, which were, at different times, San Cristóbal, Boedo or Parque de los Patricios.

He worked at different places, with no definite trade, and always occasionally. Bohemian life, although without excesses, caught him early, but he stuck to certain codes of behavior that kept him far from petty theft or rascality. And so, since a very early age, the streets, poetry and night rendezvous finally defined his personality.

His inclination towards popular poetry, which he approached out of instinct, sensitivity and a natural and awaken intelligence, had its early expressions at a center with artistic pretensions: Los hermanos Fachabruta, a carnival outfit in which he made his first rhymed scribbles. Precisely through this outfit his first tango was born, it reached a certain popularity: “Romántico bulincito”, with music by Augusto Gentile. From then on, except for some sporadic job, his passion and his profession was tango. Also the world of horse races —los burros— (pure-blooded horses) would be the other environment where his life developed.

And so, as a result of a blend of poet and corner troubador, he began his work as author, to which Gardel would give support and a wide spreading in the 20s. He succeeded in handling a language that has a close relationship with lunfardo, where what has to do with town is merged with the things pertaining the outskirts in harmonic alloy, to offer paintings and expressions of an authentic porteño character.

However, in spite of his favorable background, when a group of intellectuals such as José Gobello, Luis Soler Cañas, León Benarós and Nicolás Olivari heading them, gathered to found the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo and invited him to sign the deed of foundation, Enrique Dizeo disregarded that invitation and did not go to acknowledge that important document. We think that his lack of discipline and a kind of disordered private life were what influenced on his decision.

He lived and died single, even though many love affairs of his were known, none of them succeeded in leading him to marriage. One of those women was about to achieve it. It was his last relationship, of nearly twenty years, «but it failed in the end». He remained stubbornly bachelor, but in loneliness. He lived his late years in the neighborhood of Floresta, on 201 Candelaria street.

He died in Buenos Aires on May 6, 1980.

Published in the Tango y lunfardo magazine, number 89, Chivilcoy, December 16, 1993.