Ricardo García Blaya

When a virtual friendship comes true

he appointment was at nine in the evening on the corner of San Luis and Jean Jaurés, in the mid of Belén del Abasto. The attendants to the invitation were Jorge Dobalo, José Pedro, Adolfo, Roberto Testoli, Osvaldo Serantes, Juanjo, Néstor Pinsón, Ricardo García Blaya, Felipe, Federico, Rulo, Oscar, Ricardo Val, Jorge and the organizer of the dinner, Coco del Abasto. They are introduced and mentioned strictly according to their signature on La Mesa del Café.

Coco said a few words thanked the people present and with a sign of satisfaction implied the start of the meeting. Next, he asked his friend Ricardo Val to read some lines in prose that he had written: Walking along that Abasto.... The magic of these words, excellently conceived and expressed, generated «from the start» a touching warm mood that surrounded us all through the evening. So, under the advocation of the Zorzal Criollo, the table witnessed the most varied subjects and memories.

On a parade that did not have respect for circumstances or time, El Tata Floreal appeared and the opinion shared by José Pedro and Ricardo was that his best period was with De Angelis, even though everybody agreed with the opinion that he sang wonderfully up to the the time of his death. Someone recalled his rendition of “Buenos Aires conoce” of his latter period and others stated that out of his three renderings of “Marioneta”, the one with De Angelis was unsurpassable.

The voices of Charlo, Fiore, Angelito Vargas, Raúl Berón and El Polaco came back for a moment and the collective memory was filled with titles and verses. The elves of tango were, no doubt, among us.

It was not omitted the analysis of the attendants in order to find out which was the best rendition of “La cumparsita”. We mentioned from the classic recordings made by D'Arienzo and Fresedo up to the most incunabular renditions of the «best tango of tangos» like those of Maglio Pacho, Feliciano Brunelli and Enrique Alessio, among others.

After a hard discussion, there was no agreement about the best recording of “La muchacha del circo”. Some thought that there was no other but Gardel's, others praised Corsini's and even someone said that Magaldi was the absolute owner of the number. So much so that Juanjo even said that he was more confused that when the discussion started and Roberto, Rulo and Oscar gazed bewildered the funny debate.

There was as well a talk about orchestras, in which there was agreement about Di Sarli and Troilo. But El Tuerto won for a minimum difference. There was also a time to remember Pirincho, Pugliese and D'Arienzo.

The big surprise of the evening was when we discovered among us a remarkable singer personified by Jorge Dobalo. He ventured gloriously into “Anclao en París” accompanied by the choir of our voices, in the key of red wine. Later came “Che bandoneón” and again a warm applause.

The words of the diners were following one after another and even the absent-minded Néstor Pinsón's finger turned off the mike. This forced us to repeat it all for posterity.

After midnight Néstor made a toast for Ricardo García Blaya's birthday. It was already a new day. The director of the site thanked and suggested that May 16 would be Todo Tango day . That was unanimously agreed.

Food and the restaurant Il Vero Arturito quality deserve a special chapter. Entrée, good wine, knife-cut spaghetti and homemade ravioli quite tasty, with a scarparo, like sauce that seemed to us delicious. A detail which is important: we were waited on by the owners themselves. Later a tasty dessert came and a bubbling champagne.

At coffee time Jorge Finkielman appeared with the latest discographic news and all his wisdom about our national movies.

Nearing the end, Adolfo surprised us with a backwards rendition of “La fulana” which was the grand finale of the rendezvous. In the meantime, Osvaldo Serantes handed parchments to each one of the commensals with the picture of «Tranvía de los recuerdos» signed by each one of us.

It was undoubtedly an unforgettable evening.