Julio Nudler

scar was a prototypical lyricist of the 40s, with his sad lyrics, of love affairs laden with romanticism and, because of that, they are elementary, with neither contradictions nor psychological complexities. He always made use of the poetic touch, but without overshadowing the lyricist: his lines, heard from a singer’s lips, come nicely blended with the music, but it is not advisable to read them looking for a poem.

Among his works we can highlight “Dejame así”, with music by Víctor Braña and Domingo Triguero, with only one anthological recording by Alfredo De Angelis with Floreal Ruiz in 1943; the exquisite “Gime el viento”, with the pianist Atilio Bruni, recorded that same year by Aníbal Troilo with Fiorentino and by Miguel Caló with Raúl Iriarte, among other recordings; “Lloran las campanas”, with Alberto Suárez Villanueva, recorded in 1944 by Carlos Di Sarli with Alberto Podestá as well as by José García with Alfredo Rojas; “Tu melodía”, also with Suárez Villanueva, recorded in a somewhat exotic rendition by Domingo Federico with Carlos Vidal in 1944, who in 1947 as well recorded “Mar”, written by the same team, who also released “Lejos de Buenos Aires”, made very popular by Caló-Berón and Troilo-Fiorentino and on which Rubens ventures into the evocative exaltation of the city, what evidences a clear deviation of subject-matter.

Lastly, “Extraña”, with music by Miguel Caló, recorded by the latter with Iriarte in 1947, a tango, long time forgotten but with great beauty, in which we feel the influence of “La viajera perdida”, by Héctor Blomberg.

Meanwhile, the name of Rubens had become associated with hits like “Al compás de un tango”, with Suárez Villanueva, “Cuatro compases”, with Bruni, “Rebeldía”, with Roberto Nievas Blanco, and “Triste comedia”, with Héctor Stamponi.

In 1957, Elías and Oscar released “¿Por qué seguir?”, recorded by Miguel Caló with Roberto Mancini, in which a sterile couple are thinking of breaking up.

His family came from Ekaterinoslav, in Ukraine. His parents, the cobbler Motl and María Kaplán, a teacher at the Hebrew school, decided to emigrate because of the scourge of anti-Semitism, that had broken out again at times of the Russian-Japanese war. They arrived in Buenos Aires in the early 1906 with three daughters, Luisa, Aída and Eugenia. In Argentina they would have seven children more, the second of which was Luis, born in 1908 and with whom the tango dynasty began together with Mauri, Elías who used the pseudonym Elías Randal and Oscar.

The Rubinsteins or Rubisteins (in the documents of some of them the “n” disappeared) were part of a massive Jewish emigration.

Several of the Rubisteins of Buenos Aires were born at the humble familiar house of 945 Catamarca Street, where their father worked in his trade of cobbler and the family was stacked in two rooms. Mauricio and Elías when they were kids used to go out to sell shoe polish and shoestrings along Avenida de Mayo or Boedo. At cafés like Dante, located on Independencia and Boedo, after Elías sang a few tangos, the customers bought a lot of things from him, or even they gave him money without accepting any goods in exchange. At home at night their mother used to eagerly wait for the two children to come back home because at times the family depended on that money to eat the following day.

Other numbers of his vast work are: “Mientras duerme la ciudad” and “Es en vano llorar”, with Alberto Suárez Villanueva, “Los muñequitos”, with Francisco Pracánico, “Calla bandoneón”, with Carlos Lazzari, “Dejame en paz”, with Américo Actis, “Corazón qué has hecho”, with Antonio Ríos and “Domingo a la noche”, with Juan José Guichandut.

Excerpted from the book Tango Judío. Del ghetto a la Milonga, Editorial Sudamericana, Buenos Aires 1998.