Héctor Ángel Benedetti

There was no Ferroquina Bisleri to drink at the dinner party

here was no Ferroquina Bisleri to drink at the dinner party

by Héctor Ángel Benedetti

Mistaken impression number one: One thinks that the attendants to these dinner parties are people that only read La Canción Moderna, smoke Caravana, explain the key for Alumni, drink Chinato Garda and subscribe at 6,67%, like the way Fernando Díaz used to sing with the Lomuto’s orchestra.

Mistaken impression number two: One thinks that this is an occasion for endless speeches, homages that can be (and must be) omitted, jokes that would make the Nuncio yawn and a Spartan meal that would make you yearn for military service; and everything justified by the excuse of nostalgia and streetcars.
But then: not at all.

If something was absent at the last Cena Aniversario, it was the boredom and the solemnity that spoils tango meetings. United by a common passion, there’s no need to say that this encounter was carried out in a happy ambience, to which stiffness was not invited.

May 16 is now the “Todotango Day”. The date has nothing to do with an external event, like the birth of a renowned character or some milestone in the history of music; in fact, this day was chosen because it is the date of our first meeting. Then in 2002 we were fifteen people; this time over fifty came... and we don’t count those who said “present” from their distant places.

While the waiter had a cramped arm by screwing corks out of bottles, which mysteriously evaporated at certain areas, at a table two or three guys discussed about soccer analyzing past and future games; at another, Rufino was simply Roberto and D’Arienzo was called by his first name Juan. Near the entrance, Gabriel “Chula” Clausi revised his career since his tenure with the Maglio’s orchestra (“I started with him back in the ‘28. With the trio of bandoneons he recorded two numbers of mine...”); down there, Héctor Lucci talked about old phonography; near here, Ben Molar shared his travels and projects; and in a corner Sergio Crotti was tuning up his guitar, ready to be showcased. Tango was the main subject.

Oscar Bianchi, besides showing daguerreotypes all through the night, evidenced to be a great master of ceremonies —like Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, Pipo Mancera (but taller)—, with a mike in hand praised the event and, surely touched by the presence of so many friends that from the “tacit” category were raised to the “evident” category, he started a round of surprises.

Osvaldo handed a gift for everyone on all the tables. He asked us not to open the envelopes until later, but who could have resisted? A few minutes later everybody has in one’s hands a present of the second anniversary: a small reverie to remember that which should always be burning.

Then came the words by Ricardo García Blaya. The director. The top officer. The conductor of the orchestra. The Singer machine’s foot pedal. And if, deservedly, Todotango—an idea of his that from the beginning became a page of reference in the web— would be for anyone the great personal tango pride, he, with his words went far beyond and insisted in sharing this achievement with us all.

After we had had chicken cooked in a Italian style, at that melancholic time when those little bones come closer to a laurel leaf as if asking lately that Glory already conferred, and noticing that the ice cream, by way of freezing and due to a fence of almonds resisted any premature melting, Ana Turón —who specially traveled from Azul because of the event— decided to speak and one by one the names of the ones present were said. She also made a toast for those who were absent. There was applause for everybody; it was the happiness of knowing who was who.

Paula, a young female singer who introduced herself by saying that tango is not the patrimony of people of a certain age, sang El ciruja to show us her choices. Later she recited a poem written by her sister; an eulogy to lunfardo alliteration. We all became her admirers. Ernesto Ariel, the “