Bruno Cespi

Tango and daily events

ittle has been written about the influence that the happenings and daily events that took place during the first twenty years of the twentieth century had on the musicians of that period.

All or nearly all the pieces were committed to the music staff by their composers. Politics, sports, the deeds of the brave that forged our incipient aviation, children games, the Buenos Aires characters, the commercial advertisements, etc. These subjects and many more were, undoubtedly, an important part of the basis of our tango repertoire.

We shall begin with tango pieces composed in homage to the heroes of our inceptive aviation. Undoubtedly, the engineer Jorge Newbery was the aviator with the greatest number of tunes dedicated. So we have:

“Jorge Newbery”, by Aquiles Barbieri.

“Prendete del Aeroplano”, by José Escurra. Dedicated to the President of the Aero Club, Mr. Jorge Newbery.

“De Pura Cepa”, by Roberto Firpo. Dedicated to the distinguished Sportsman Jorge Newbery.

“Newbery”, by the guitarist Luciano Ríos.

Un recuerdo a Newbery”, by José Arturo Severino. Dedicated to the memory of the late Argentine aviator Jorge Newbery, May 1914.

“Tu Sueño”, waltz by Eduardo Arolas, Dedicated to the late Jorge Newbery.

“Matienzo (Perdido en las cumbres)”, by Udelino Toranzo. «To the memory of the late aviator Benjamín Matienzo».

“Zanni [b]”, by the female guitarist Ana Schneider de Cabrera, on occasion of the double crossing of the Andes.

“Zanni - Beltrán”, by Elio Rietti, dedicated to the daring and brave aviators Pedro Zanni and Beltrán.

“El Gato”, by Atilio Cattaneo, dedicated to the First Lieutenant Pedro Zanni, nickname he acquired because even though he underwent several accidents he always was uninjured.

Cattaneo”, by Francisco Peirano, to the intrepid renowned Italian aviator Atilio Cattaneo.

“El Cabo Fels”, by Pedro Sofía, as a tribute for his admirable crossing of the waters of the River Plate on airplane.

Don Teodoro”, by Vicente Mazzoco, to the young pilot corporal Teodoro Fels, on celebration of the flight to Montevideo, in December 1912.

“Almonacid”, by Agesilao Ferrazzano, to the brave aviator Vicente Almandos Almonacid.

“El trío”, by Santos Aschieri (Jr), to the Aces of the Argentine Aviation, Captains Antonio Parodi, Pedro Zanni and the Captain of Frigate Marcos Zar.

Olivero”, by José Martínez, to the intrepid Argentine aviator Eduardo Olivero.

“Vuelo Nocturno”, by Domingo Salerno, to the brave Argentine aviator Vicente Almandos Almonacid for his night flight.

De ida y vuelta”, by Ana S. de Cabrera, to the aviator Antonio Parodi, as homage for his round trip to Chile.

“El Pampero”, by Luis Sanmartino, dedicated to the famous globe in which Eduardo and Jorge Newbery died.

As for the “patriotic tangos”, their authors transferred in them personal experiences or important passages related to our Independence. Among them we can cite:

Acorazado Rivadavia”, by Ángel Villoldo. Composed celebrating his inclusion in the Argentine Navy.

Dreadnought Rivadavia”, by Carmelo Liparini. Also due to its inclusion in the Argentine Navy.

“Acorazado Moreno”, by Fortunato Cardullo. Idem as the two above.

Independencia” by Alfredo Bevilacqua, for the celebration of the Centennial of the May Revolution, on May 25, 1910.

Fragata Sarmiento”, by Luis Conde, dedicated to the frigate with the same name.

Reconquista”, by Alfredo Bevilacqua.

“Curupaytí”, by Augusto Berto.

Cancha Rayada”, by Alejandro Rolla.

“Primera Junta”, by Alfredo Bevilacqua.

Nueve de julio”, by José Luis Padula.

“25 de Mayo”, by Eduardo Arolas.

Numerous as well were the tangos composed in connection with various events and characters. Some of them are:

“La carreta [b]”, by Octavio Barbero, dedicated to the streetcar pulled by a horse.

“El Eléctrico”, by Vicente Greco. Dedicated to the electric streetcar.

“El Eléctrico”, by Carlos Masla. Dedicated to the electric streetcar as well.

“El subterráneo”, by Joaquín Cortes López, celebrating the opening of the Plaza de Mayo-Primera Junta subway, November 1913.

“María Barrientos”, by Ernesto Zambonini, dedicated to the great Spanish female singer for her performance in Buenos Aires.

Es prohibido fumar”, by Vidal Cibrián, composed in allusion to the prohibition of smoking on streetcars.

Peligro”, by David Fiore, composed for the arrival in Buenos Aires of the first automobiles.

Alfonsito”, by Osmán Pérez Freire, for the visit of the king of Spain Alfonso XIII to Argentina.

“El Negro Raúl”, by Angel Bassi. The black Raúl Grigeras, a popular character of Buenos Aires, a vagabond, who was used by well-to-do young men for the sake of fun.

“La compadrada del cometa”, by José Rodas, celebrating the appearance of the Halley comet.

“A Trípoli se van”, by Rómulo Pane, dedicated to the Italian residents in Argentina who returned to Italy to fight in the war against Tripoli.

“Qué Noche”, by Agustín Bardi, in allusion to the first snowfall in Buenos Aires, in 1918.

“Fuera del ring”, by Armando Fernández, composed because of the fight for the heavyweight world championship, Firpo vs. Dempsey, in which Luis Ángel Firpo punched Dempsey out of the ring.

“Carlitos Chaplin”, by José A. Molet. Dedicated to the genial comic of the movies.

Also the children games of the period were a reason to compose tangos with their names. Here we have some of them:

“Ta Te Ti”, by José María Rizzuti.

Cara o cruz”, by Domingo Fortunato.

“Gallo Ciego”, by Agustín Bardi.

“La Pandorga”, by Guido Vanzina Pacheco.

“El Barrilete”, by Guido Vanzina Pacheco.

“La Primera sin tocar”, by Anselmo Aieta (this was his first composition).

“Chirulote”, by Julián Robledo. It was an iron or tin ring that you rolled along with a thick piece of wire that made it rotate.

Peddlers, goods offered for sale and the people in charge of certain jobs in connection with the community also had their tangos. Here you have some of them:

Todo a veinte”, by José Felipetti. Peddler generally of Turkish origin, who sold bagatelles.

“Cosa linda barata”, later “Bar Exposición”, by Luis Teisseire, the same characters of “Todo a veinte”.

“El Gringo”, by René Liaz, dedicated to the itinerant fruit sellers, mainly of Italian origin.

“El Tano Nicola”, by Luciano Bonnel, as homage to the Italians that walked along the streets of Buenos Aires, with their barrel organs, which were the first to introduce tango into the porteño homes.

El bollitero”, by Próspero Cimaglia, a person whose duty was to to take out the dung of horses from the streets; most coaches were then pulled by horses. Later, these men were called barrenderos (street cleaners).

“Ajo y cebolla”, by Rafael Cattalano, for the vendor of garlic and onion.

“El cebollero”, by Ángel Villoldo, dedicated to the vendor of garlic and onion.

El farolero”, by Arnaldo Barsanti, a person who, every evening before sunset, was in charge of lighting the lamps on the streets, that then were fueled with gas.

“El manisero [b]”, by José A. Grosi, a popular character until the 40s that used to sell peanuts heated on a small traveling oven.

El escobero”, by Ambrosio Radrizzani: a huckster that sold brooms.

Canillita [b]”, by Osmán Pérez Freire: a peddler that sold newspapers.

Canillita”, by Julio César Sanders, Daniel López Barreto and César Vedani, from the sound track of the homonime film.

“Resaca [b]”, by Juan Faillace: seller of humus fertilized for plants.

Furthermore, the tangos composed as homage to commercial firms or products were numerous:

“A la ciudad de Londres”, by J. Nirvassed, dedicated to the traditional shop of Buenos Aires, in the early years of this century.

“A la ciudad de Londres”, by Ángel Villoldo, with the same dedication as the above.

“Comprá en lo de Gath & Chaves”, by Luis Chiappe Ducca, dedicated to the popular shop of Buenos Aires.

“Convidá con chocolate”, by Guido Vanzina Pacheco, dedicated to the company Saint Hnos., manufacturers of the Águila chocolate.

“Echale Bufach al catre”, by José Manuel Tagle, dedicated to the Bufach insecticide.

“Echale Piloil a la pelada”, by Rafael Russo, dedicated to Piloil, a product to prevent baldness.

“El Columbia”, by Orfeo Giudice, dedicated to Mr. José Tagini, owner of the legendary records labeled “Columbia Record”.

“El Nacional”, by Francisco Cafiero, dedicated to the famous café with the same name.

“Fray Mocho [b]”, by Angel Bassi, dedicated to a popular magazine of the years 1910 - 1920.

“Hotel Victoria (Gran Hotel Victoria)”, by Feliciano Latasa, dedicated to the hotel of the same name.

Hesperidina”, by Juan Nirvassed, dedicated to a beverage of that name.

“Hoy llegó el dulce de leche”, by J. Nirvassed, dedicated to the factory of milk products “La Martona”.

La Nación”, by Próspero Cimaglia, dedicated to the popular Buenos Aires daily paper.

“La Razón”, by Luis Chiappe, dedicated to the paper of the same name.

Kalisay”, by Ángel Villoldo, dedicated to another traditional drink.

La Negra”, by Enrique Delfino, dedicated to the famous cold storage plant of the same name.

“Libre del Trust”, by Luis Buttaro, dedicated to Piccardo & Cía., producers of the cigarette trademark 43.

“Los carruajes de Mirás”, by P. A. Garbagnoli, dedicated to Casa Mirás, an important house for carriage rent.

“Muy del Bubú”, by Juan Spreafico, dedicated to a popular biscuit made by the Bagley Company.

“No se puede con Muñoz”, by Arnaldo Barsanti, dedicated to the tailor's shop Casa Muñoz.

Gran Hotel Victoria (Hotel Victoria)”, by Feliciano Latasa, dedicated to the Hotel with same name.

“Omega”, by Emilio De Caro, dedicated to the well-known vinegar of the same name.

P.B.T.”, by Pedro Aicardi, dedicated to the popular magazine of the turn-of-the-century.

Pineral”, by Ángel Villoldo, dedicated to the traditional drink.

“Radiolina”, by R. Ginerca Ferrer, dedicated to that kerosene trademark for light lamps.

“Sin Marca”, by Esteban González, dedicated to that cigarette trademark.

“Tigre Hotel”, by Rosendo Mendizábal. Dedicated to the famous hotel of the locality of Tigre.

And in like manner, ballrooms and dancers had also their tangos:
“Palace de Glace”, by Juan Carlos Bazán, dedicated to the famous palace with the same name.

“La Vasca”, by Juan Carlos Bazán, dedicated to María Rangolla, owner of the famous dance hall.

Ca-ra-ca-fú”, by Juan Maglio, dedicated to dance hall that run the Basque Casimiro Aín.

“La Hora”, by Domingo Salerno, dedicated to the dancer with the same nickname.

El Pollo Ricardo”, by Luis Fernández, dedicated to the dancer Ricardo Scandroglio (El Pollo Ricardo).

Rodríguez Peña”, by Vicente Greco, dedicated to the famous dance hall with the same name.

“Chikoff”, by Manuel Jovés, dedicated to Juan de Chikoff, dance instructor at the Plaza Hotel.

And we further find numerous tangos with common sayings of the period:

“Aquí está el Queco”, by Juan Carlos Basavilbaso.

“Está cabrera mi prienda”, by Próspero Cimaglia.

“Agarrame en esta vuelta”, by Joaquín Cortés López.

“Qué florcita pa' mi ojal”, by Mauricio Mignot.

“Qué chinche pa' mi colchón”, by Justiniano Caminos.

“Papita pa'l loro”, by Ángel Villoldo.

“Nene no te resfriés”, by Esther I. Seoane.

Afilame que me gusta”, by A. Pelloso.

“Qué Pimpollo”, by Rafael Fracassi.

“Haceme venir la risa”, by Mauricio Mignot.

“Agarrate nena que hay marejada”, by Ernesto Sola.

“Dale perejil al loro”, by Ernesto Manfredi.

And it would take long to go on with the list because the quantity is extremely long and because with the above mentioned I think there is enough evidence to say that in the first twenty years of this century musicians were deeply aware of the characters and habits in Buenos Aires.