Tania - «His life was a movie...»
hy the name Tania? Very simple. When a child I enjoyed theater acting. At school in Valencia, I was part of a group and we recited poems, put forward plays, excerpts from zarzuelas. Among my companions there was a girl named Tania, of Russian parents. I loved her name! I had decided to call myself Ana Luciano for acting, but at that time, my sister who performed with her true name, Isabel Luciano, was already one of the first Spanish voices.
«It was the time of The Count of Luxemburg, of The Merry Widow, of the major operettas. As my sister sang very well and was somewhat known, she told my mother: “Look, Mom, I think that Anita shouldn´t call herself Ana Luciano, because my name is great and this girl is only beginning. We don´t know if she´ll go on in theater or not...”. All this seems a little bit ridiculous but it was so. Then I, very proud, —I would be 12 or 13 —, of acting at school, said: “Yes, now I´m going to also call myself Tania ...”. Many people think I chose Tania for it was Anita spelled backwards. But, no, I did it for my little Russian friend who also sang and danced.»
—So your professional career started...
«When the cuplés became popular we engaged in short tours in the vicinity of Valencia; as if from Buenos Aires we would go to Lanús, to La Plata. Then I was called Tania and since then I never managed to get rid of the name. I had begun to sing cuplés alone. I was no longer “la telonera”, that is to say, the first to appear in the show. I was as third. And it came the time when a big group was assembled to go to Paris and I was part of it under the name Tania. Then I wanted to change it because I was a little conceited... “Why can´t I be called Ana Luciano?”. In brief: all was in vain. From then on, I never succeeded in changing my name. Every time I tried to do it, the empresario or the manager said that Tania sounded very theatrical. So I was definitely Tania.
«I married a very famous dancer called Antonio Fernández, whose artistic name was Mexicán and when I went to dance as «Tania-Mexicán. Dancing partners», then I could have changed my name... but I didn´t, I went on with Tania´s....
«It´s a story so much told, even boring... I was never able to change my name! I tried it many times but it seems I wasn´t so lucky to have someone who would have said: “Yes, now we´ll call you Ana Luciano”. And so I remained.»
—How does Discépolo appear in your life?
«By chance. He heard me in Buenos Aires. They told him I sang very well. I came to Buenos Aires as part of a great Spanish artistic company, with famous dancers and singers: Teresita España, la Cachabella, Pablo Palitos with the Trio, and I, who was called Tania Mexicán... And so people began to know about Tania in Buenos Aires...»
—How did it happen to know him?
«I was singing as tonadillera a few tangos in the Folies Bergère which was placed on Cerrito street. What I really sang well were the Spanish cuplés. They said I interpreted tango quite well. Till then the only tango figure I knew was Azucena Maizani.
«I had never heard someone singing tangos in that way. When I listened to her and saw her, I was caught by her strength. I heard her once singing “Esta noche me emborracho” and said to myself, “If I could sing that tango...!”. I had the courage to sing anything, but not a tango... However, I learned it with Andrés Caba, the pianist who accompanied me.... We rehearsed and I sang it.»
—What was the public´s reaction?
«An extraordinary success. That tango had achieved an amazing popularity. People was singing it in the streets... Well, a piece of it... and as it was a difficult tango, —it's not an easy tango...—, people said, “Esta noche yo me mamo bien mamao, esta noche me emborracho bien” (tonight I´m gonna get drunk) ... Then I, a young girl, pretty and singing cuplés, sang that tango and it was a boom, besides other tangos which maybe I would sing them so and so. But “Esta noche me emborracho” seemed that I sang it well.»
—And did you meet him there?
«One night José Razzano heard me. He asked me if I knew Gardel and he told me all about his history. To be frank, I didn´t know Gardel as I didn´t know Roberto Casaux, neither Armando Discépolo, nor Alberto Vaccarezza, ´cause I was a girl who has recently arrived. I knew the important people in Spain, but not those in Buenos Aires. And so Razzano told me: “Tomorrow you´re gonna sing again “Esta noche me emborracho”. I´ll come with a friend that is its author”.
«It seems that Discépolo was not a cabaret customer and Razzano forced him to go. Enrique, who was already 26, had never been to a cabaret. It sounds funny, because it's the age when boys go to cabarets. But it was so.»
—Who did introduce him to you?
«Razzano. He began telling him that I was a girl who sang Spanish songs and that now I also sang tangos, that I was much loved in the cabaret, that my contract had been renewed, ... he told him my story. Enrique heard me sing “Esta noche me emborracho” and the next day he sent me flowers.»
«He sent me flowers, he sent me bonbons . For me, those things had no importance because at that time admirers sent things more important than flowers and bonbons... It seemed a very romantic affair, but for a woman like me, young, 24 years old, there were too many flowers, too much bonbons, too much I...»
—What did they tell you about Discépolo?
«That he was a good actor and also, author of this and other tangos. Enrique himself told me he was an author and as an actor he was having an enormous success, Mustafá, written by his brother, who was a great playwriter. ´Cause it seems that all around me were greats... But I, nothing: for me they were perfect strangers. I knew no one. If they talked me about Pastora Imperio or Raquel Meller, I knew who they were. But for me —just arrived from Spain— all these names were unknown no matter how important they were.»
—How about the first time you went out with Discépolo?
«One day he invited me and some friends of mine to tea. A few days later he invited us again. We went to see Mustafá. I thought that with that title, it would be one of those plays like Rodolfo Valentino's... and when I arrived at the theater —I, so ignorant—, it was a surprise. I was from Spain —and this is not Spanish boast— I had seen Ricardo Calvo, Lola Membrives, Haydeé de López Heredia, those greats. For me it had to be like in Spain. So when the curtain rises, I see a guy with a small cart selling a thread ribbon and who was saying : “Buy thread, señorita, poor Turk is not selling anything”. Luis Arata was there too, in the role of an Italian...And I was saying for myself, “what kind of a theater!” It seemed to me it was a joke, because I was remembering the one made in Spain to which I was used to.
«And then the lead actor, who had been sending me flowers, appeared and I thought: “Now, yes. Rodolfo Valentino is coming to scene....”. But, it was Enrique in the role of a poor little Turk selling thread ribbons, shoes, stockings...
«When the play was over, Armando —very pedantically—, asked me: “How about the play?” and I replied: “I understood nothing”. It seems he later told his brother: “How ignorant is that girl. She has not understood!”. —“But she's just arrived, Armando...”. They were all stars: Luisita Vehil, Rosa Catá, Miguel Faust Rocha...But what I didn´t understand was the play, and even less to know who the actors were. And they were major players who later, after some time, became very close friends. That´s the story of how we met.»
—What year was it?
«1927... when we started to go out.»
—What was Discépolo like? Shy, extrovert?
«He was more timid than I.»
—How did he suggest going out for the first time?
«Just like when he invited me to theater: to drink chocolate with a girl friend. And we went out once... But Enrique didn´t invite me to go anywhere with him, to go alone or let´s go... to any place, how can I say? Or to tell me “I´ve got an apartment”... I´d have liked to take him home to tea! I owned a cozy apartment on Uruguay street where I lived with two girls and I had everything there. I wanted him to come, but he, very shameful, didn´t dare to do it.»
—Did Discépolo´s friends accept you soon?
«Once he decided to introduce them to me. They used to meet at El Tropezón and his brother told him: “Yes, bring her one evening so the boys will know her”. Armando was a pedant since the day I met him! I arrived at “El Tropezón” driving my car, a red open automobile. Then when I blew the horn and Enrique came out to meet me, it seemed that a Madonna had arrived, because (he might have thought) what's this that a girl would come to ask for my brother? And they invited me to their table. All them very kind..., they all kissed me... how cute..! how nice..! the pretty little Spaniard! They were la Bertolín, Alfonsina Storni, Roberto Tálice, Paulina Singerman and her husband, Edmundo “Pucho” Guibourg... All stars! They took me as a rare thing because I was pretty, I had some small jewels and had arrived on a red voiture. The truth is that I arrived as ... I looked like a dog on a boat! But OK..., I passed the exam: I was very pleasant for them all.»
—And as for you, how did you receive them?
«Very boring, 'cause I didn't catch a thing of what they were talking. I was there for an hour and their only issue was how to do to get money to present Fábrica de juventud, Levántate y anda, Fin de jornada, La Perichona... They didn't speak of anything else... Imagine! I had seen in Spain The Count of Luxemburg and The Merry Widow... I didn't understand anything at all...
People do not want to realize that my start in Buenos Aires was with very much important people. I could have begun going to Avenida de Mayo to drink chocolate with churros (crullers) with my compatriots. But, Paf!, all of a sudden I arrived at Enrique's world.... I knew nothing of the Buenos Aires of Discépolo and his friends. Furthermore, I didn't understand them. They wanted to do everything and no one had money. They could only have a little cup of coffee... I sang at a night club where people drank champagne and the customers were the Anchorenas, Unzué, Basabilbaso, Lanusse and this and that. Those were the names I knew... true kings... Those were the ones I frequented.
«Once, and after having heard them discuss about the plays and the way to make them reality, it occurred to me to tell them: “Well, if you need some money, I can pawn a brilliant and give you a loan”. They were going to put forward La Perichona and it turned out that they didn't even have money to make the 22 small top hats used by the “dandies”, who were the players, very smartly dressed, walking on the stage.
«It seems that the beast who made them their clothes said: “Don't put on hats. Let them shiver. There's nothing, not even for hats!”. But Paulina Singerman kept on talking... and the other kept on talking..., they all kept on talking... Armando, of course. All them..! So I pawned my brilliant and the play was put on stage.
—How did your personal relationship with Discépolo begin?
«He didn't ask me to come home to have coffee or ... whatever... ¡More explicitly I can't tell you..!. Until one day he told me: “I rented a small but nice apartment on Cangallo street, near El Tropezón. Downstairs Roberto Noble, a great journalist, lives and he told me there was a small apartment available, so I rented it. I live now there, but alone. Not with my brother. Why don't you come to have a coffee?»
—What was your reaction?
«I was delighted! And so I went. But just in case, I took a small suitcase with a nightdress, a very cute robe full of laces, slippers and a few things more so that the next day I would get up and go home. But I stayed... and stayed forever... At that small apartment with a heater for the house. And so the story ends.»
—Or so it starts...
«He wanted to but he didn´t say it. For me the whole affair was somewhat queer because I was more fashioned. I was used to deal with more experienced people who told me: “D´you want to go to bed with me?... I'll give you a bracelet”. —“No, sir. I don´t lay with you...” I talked one language and Discépolo talked another. Later both languages got together...»
—Did you argue very much?
«We never quarrelled, we never slammed a door, never a “I´m leaving and I´m not coming back...”, like all married couples... But not us.»
—Why didn´t you marry?
«I had broken up with my husband in Montevideo and I did not want to marry again because, as we said, Enrique and I, “the people had already married us”. Enrique also asked me: “¿D´you wanna marry me?”. —”No”, was always my answer. Then, why should we marry ? And we didn´t.
«So went on our life and we never broke up. That tango which says “¡Araca victoria se fue mi mujer!” (hurrah, my woman´s gone now!) he didn´t write it for me, because I never left him. So we lived till the end of our lives. Too many joys, many booms, little money, ´cause we´ve never been well-to-do people. We´ve always worked hard. When he could have had money, the wages were not as today in the movies or in TV. Enrique worked a lot on radio but we never were rich. And so we always lived.»
—Was he sad sometimes?
«The end of his life was very painful... He died very sad. It´s the only thing that at times moves me. He, who had always lived so well. Homero Manzi said he was “Don Fulgencio, the man who never had a childhood”. We were always happy. Enrique didn´t have great sorrows, except when that affair about Perón happened, which made him very sad each day. Had he been any other, he would have suffered less.»
—What was his worst sadness?
«The lack of friends. He thought he was loved but he was despised. He suffered the absence of companions, of friends who would help him. Finally, he died because he wanted to die. ´Cause the more help Perón gave him, —not in money but in tenderness—, the more sad he felt by the way his partners behaved.»
—At home, intimately, was he good-tempered, bad-humored, cheerful, taciturn, talkative, pensive?
«Cheerful! He liked people. He was very close of his friends, .... they were all drunkards: Aníbal Troilo, el Dringue Farías. As Enrique didn´t drink, he didn´t stay with them when they started to drink.»
—Didn't he drink alcohol?
«Yes, but very little. He drank three whiskies but he did not get drunk. The others got drunk, and even other things..., because they led a different life... el Dringue, Carlitos Castro “Castrito”, Troilo. But he was closer to Manzi, to Cátulo Castillo, to Paco García Jiménez, to his comrades in SADAIC. He was also a very close friend of Osvaldo Miranda, of Francisco Lomuto, of Francisco Canaro. He found funny what Canaro and Lomuto did.»
—What urged him to compose a tango, that thing so alleged of inspiration? How did an idea come out?
«I never knew, never. Sometimes he read me a bit of something he was doing and told me: “D´you like it?”. –”Yes, it´s pretty” I answered. Some other times, when he had it all written, and I thought he was about to read it for me, he said: “You won´t like it...” and he tore it up. So I don´t know if I would have liked it or not, ´cause he tore it up. Later, when Enrique had a tango he liked, instead of discussing with Manzi, or with Troilo, he called the doorkeeper or Manuela, our cook.»
—Did he show it to them?
«Also to Tomasito, who sold newspapers at the corner of the street. Today he´s rich. Enrique talked to him very much, he gave him some advise... Tomasito, now, wherever he goes, talks about this and people do not believe he was so close friend of Enrique's and that he read his tangos to him when they were still in process.»
—To see how they reacted?
«Surely so. For example, it would have been wiser to call Manzi to ask him: “Do you like it?” But no, he first called Manuela, the little Turk who sold cigarettes, the apartment doorkeeper, Tomasito... And all of a sudden he commented: “They didn´t understand it” and that made him happy. It seems silly and it is so: they hadn´t liked it and Enrique was happy. “They understood nothing”, he said...»
—Did he read the new tangos to you?
«He read me “Yira yira” and I understood nothing. I always recall that we were living in the little apartment on Cangallo street. Sofía Bozán premiered it at Teatro Sarmiento in the revue “What shall we do with the stadium” and it was sung by everybody on the streets. Once a guy stopped him and told him: “What a mind!”. “Yes, —answered Enrique—, today they cut me the gas.” And he explained to this person he didn´t know, why they had cut us the gas: we had no money to pay it. My husband wasn´t normal, ¿was he? If I´m told “how nice you sing!”, I neither tell them a story, nor do I say “Yes, but I cannot pay the gas”. My husband wasn´t normal...»
—Did he like poetry?
«Yes, he read a lot. About everything.»
—He didn´t know music, how did he compose?
«On the piano, but he hardly played a few notes because he did it by ear, he did not know music. What he wrote was corrected by those who knew how to write music. It was hard for them to understand how he managed to compose and then write on a paper “do”, “re”, “sol”, and so... Afterwards, the great musicians of that time came, and fortunately, out of “ta, ta, ta, do, mi, sol, mi”, turned out what he wanted. When he was putting together his written music in “do”, “sol”, “mi”, came his musicians-friends and told him that it was not even, so Enrique answered them: “It doesn´t matter. It is that way”. That´s why many of his tangos go from here to there. They´re not as even as some other composers' tangos.»
—What memories did he recall of his childhood?
«None. He had never played, neither marbles, nor did he own a bicycle, because he was with a very rich uncle and an aunt who dressed him as a clown everyday... He was put on a tuxedo, a small tie to dine and that hurt him very much. Enrique began to play and to do children things when he met me. He´d never got a bike. It wasn´t because he was poor..., it´s the other way around. The poor one was his brother.
«Enrique lived with these rich relatives, but he was poorer than anyone ´cause he didn´t play marbles, he didn´t ride on bicycle. He was taken to kindergarten and he was brought back home. He had no family affections.»
—So the memories of his childhood...
«Were sad. Manzi always said that he started to have fun since he met me.»
—Who were his confident friends?
«He had so many friends but not a confident, that confident friend that some have.»
—In his lyrics there is a constant presence of God. Was he a believer?
«He wasn´t a man of religious practice. When Francisco Lomuto died, a Mass with his corpse present was celebrated in San Nicolás church... He arrived home very tired. As he had been so late I asked what had happened to him. —”What a show! It´s a wonder what I´ve seen. What a luxury!, What costumes! It´s a show, the biggest show you can imagine”, was his comment. He had much fun alone with me... —”The golden suit; The white ones were changed by the golden ones; they turned around the coffin and put a golden rug on it, then another green... But if you had seen what a show... the people´s luxury, all them with hats”.
—”But what is it you´re telling me?”
—”It's what I saw. Later three or four entered by one side,all dressed in black, and got out in gold, just like the revue at the Maipo theater”.»
—But did he believe in God?
«I don´t know. I never knew. Some times when I brought some image to the house he said to me: “¡Another new little saint, another one more, what are you goin' to do?!” and suddenly he got into a church and stayed for an hour watching a saint. That about Saint Blase and the candles... All that, how shall I tell you?.. it would make you laugh. —”A candle, what is going to happen?!” he commented. But he didn't tell me: “Put it out”. Monsignor Antonio Plaza used to come home and I told him: “Don't come often, monsignor, because you finally will do everything the other way around”. 'Cause he wanted to convert him... he was very funny.. Discépolo was a very good-humored man.»
—What did amuse him?
«Little things. He didn't find amusement going to the races. He visited the Tibidabo every night because Troilo was playing. He had much fun with Zita (Aníbal Troilo's woman), or with Blackie (Paloma Effron). I was not jealous. All his friends played cards, bet on horses but he didn't play at all.
«Then the Tibidabo's owner, who adored him, bought for him a small machine just like the ones found in the United States, those where you have to put a little coin into it and there's a small hand inside choosing a prize. And while the others were playing cards and quarrelled and some other had finished to sing a tango, and kept on playing truco, Enrique had fun with the little machine.»
—How did Discépolo get in touch with peronism?
«Neither I knew, nor did I worry about. Discépolo and Lomuto got to know Perón in Chile, when he was military attaché to the Embassy. It seems that Perón played truco with Lomuto. Though Enrique didn't know how to play, he was always with them. Perón was very fond of them both. When Perón came to Trabajo y Previsión (Labour and Social Welfare), they always saw each other. Perón was very affectionate. He was warm with everybody, with men and with women. It seemed that he was in need of affection, but he also gave affection. Perón called him almost daily. They were very close... Why didn't he do that with Lomuto and did it with him? Who knows... Enrique followed all what Perón said, which was all right with him and defended him every time he could. But before the time Perón was known. Imagine when he was Perón...!»
—Did he know Evita?
«He was a great friend of Eva's. She used to phone him very often. Enrique had her direct number. Eva invited him to dinner. Juan Duarte, Eva's brother, one day told me: “Don't worry, if none of the two eats...”. They were very good friends...»
—How did he get acquainted with her?
«In the year 43 or 44, Discépolo was writing with much success some radio shows for LR3 Radio Belgrano, owned by Mr. Jaime Yankelevich. The radio station had a big door through which we, the stars, entered and there was a smaller one, leading to the basement, through which the second rate players were admitted.
«One day Discépolo arrived at the radio by car and a young woman tried to enter with him. On seeing her, the gatekeeper stopped her. —”No, the lady, no”. Enrique turned back and told the gatekeeper: “The lady is coming with me and gets in through here”. He didn't know who she was and that was very often told by Pierina Dealessi. And that young woman was Eva Duarte. And as Eva had an extraordinary memory, she remembered what had happened on Radio Belgrano and once, years later, she asked her assistants to call him, she wanted to know him.
«“That man is a gentleman”, said Evita. She also much loved Pierina, because when Eva arrived in Buenos Aires, she had been sleeping many nights at Pierina's place, because of her affection, not out of pity. She slept in her house because instead of being alone at a boarding house, she had Pierina's affection and friendship. Eva did not forget about those things.»
—Were you jealous?
«There was no reason. One night when Enrique arrived home very late, I asked him what had delayed him and he told me: “D'you know what happens? There's a girl who wants to go to bed with me but I don't feel like”. If you tell your wife that you don't want to fuck with someone, not because you don't like it but because you don't feel like, —same as I don't feel like going to the theater—, you can't be annoyed.»
—Had Discépolo any preference for one of his tangos?
«The last one. He always said that the last tango was the one he loved most. Because he was like parents are: they love most the latest born child. He always said that his latest tango was his latest song. And he felt the same pain, thinking of a possible failure, that it would not succeed in life. It needs protection.
«When he composed a tango, he preferred this one to be sung instead of “Uno”, because that was the latest. With “Cafetín de Buenos Aires” he had more fear than with “Uno”. That, I think, happens to all the authors. Because they think that the last thing they've done won't be able to surpass that previous thing that already is a boom.»
—What did he think of the so called modern tango, of the evolution which tango underwent and is undergoing?
«He would have much admired Astor Piazzolla. We no longer remember, but Francisco and Julio De Caro were a tremendous innovation. Today we talk of Piazzolla, because he was like a bomb. But we have to think of the brothers De Caro with the violin with trumpet (sic), the stops made in the tangos. Discépolo much admired the De Caros. He thought that each one had to do as he felt . I think that if he had lived enough to know Piazzolla's work, he surely would have admired him. Or he would have said: “How much I'd like to do it like that even though I can't”.»
—Was he a friend of Gardel's?
«He had but a few contacts with him. They weren't very good friends, really. They met when Gardel decided to record “Victoria” and when they shot the short films directed by Eduardo Morera. Gardel was going to record “Yira Yira” and the record company wanted them together to promote an advertisement.»
—So he didn't have a great friendship with Gardel.
«We became more friendly when we met in France. We made our début in Paris and he was there with his musicians. But it wasn't a friendship so close as the one with Troilo or with Manzi.»
—You told me about Troilo and Manzi but you don't name another great contemporary author such as Enrique Cadícamo.
«Of course they knew each other, but they weren't so close. Discépolo was open to everybody. At that time they often gathered in SADAIC. Today, even though you want to, you cannot meet with so and so, 'cause you don't have the time and the place they had. At SADAIC they had fun. Canaro, who always was around there, said “conceto” and “coletivo” (instead of concepto, colectivo) and Enrique remarked: “You have dropped some consonants...”. It was a joke, because he loved him very much.»
—What did Discépolo think and what do you think of folk (creole) music?
«I like it very much and Enrique too. Some interpreters please me more than others because I understand them better. What I don't like, and I say it plainly, is the way of acting of some tangueros and tangueras.»
—Who are your preferred tango singers?
«Mercedes Simone, for example, had a great strength. Libertad Lamarque, was more romantic. Azucena Maizani was strong, closer to the style I sing. But now, what can I tell you?: “that boy sings better than that one”. Yes, soon one sings and I like him; another sings and I like him more; but I couldn't tell you that… they keep me with my eyes open. Goyeneche, for example, how great he was!; like that boy who died... Jorge Falcón. They were boys who invented a way of singing, a style. Now they sing, let's say, with much voice. I don't say if they sing well or badly. I prefer the singer disseur, for example, Roberto Rufino, who is an old man, but with a style I like.»
—What was friendship for Discépolo?
«Something very sacred. A friend is a friend. With a friend you can do anything. And he, certainly, did much for his friends, and he was lucky... For instance, I recall that Enrique had a Chilean friend who wanted to present in Buenos Aires “Wax Museum”. I don't know why he was not given permission. This Chilean told Enrique: “I'm starving. You, who are a friend of Perón's why don't you ask him to authorize my permission to present the show?”.»
—Did he get it?
«Discépolo had the luck each time he asked something, Perón always said yes. Because Enrique never asked for himself. If you go to ask Menem something for me is easier than if you ask something for you. Since this many years have elapsed. A few days ago, this Chilean friend called me because he was told I was ill. This man became a millionaire. Each time I go to Chile he cares for me as if I would break into pieces. Enrique has put forth many friends. For example, he loved the Jews. Why did he love them? He had a Jewish friend in a bank, who once lent him money but when he went to give it back, this friend told him: “No, you still don't have to. When you get more you give it back.”
«Enrique was a grateful man. He did not forget those things, events or details which now are lost or do not have the same value. Some time before, I think, details have a lot of value. But now, maybe because we are all in need, we don't assign importance to those things. He, for example, having no money, has lent money and there were people who lent him without having money.
«He was a very peculiar friend and very fond of women. I was never jealous. For example, he adored Zita, she seemed her fiancée. They called each other everyday.»
—Have you very often returned to Spain?
«Two or three times...»
—Are you planning to go back?
«Yes, maybe we'd soon go. The last time I was there, it was fifteen years ago.»
—Do you have family there?
«A niece, who lives in Valencia. Because my mother was Valencian. In my family almost all were Valencians. The only Toledan is me.
«Once we were with Enrique at a café in Madrid where Lola Membrives introduced us to Federico García Lorca. We had traveled to Madrid hired to perform at El Palacio de la Música. We became friends and García Lorca told me something which I won´t forget... —”But how is it, you´ve been is Spain for five days and nobody´s driven you to Toledo yet?”. And he said to Enrique: “I'm taking her tomorrow....” And he took me to Toledo...»
—How was that?
«We were with García Lorca, Lola Membrives, the guitarist Regino Sáinz de la Maza and other friends. All them insisted on a visit to Toledo. I say that they took me because they organized the trip. Federico made the mayor of Toledo know that I was in town, that I was born there and that I was an artist... So the mayor, at noon 12 o´clock, ordered the Argentine Anthem and the Spanish Royal March to be played at the Zocodober square. On that opportunity we were in Spain for a short time, but García Lorca and Discépolo became good friends. Federico was very nice, very amusing... Tango fascinated him. “Esta noche me emborracho” was the one he liked most.»
—If you weren´t married, how were you granted the rights on Discépolo´s works?...
«That´s a story... One day he told me: “I´m going to write my will”. After a time he did it. Not much later Manzi said to me: “I´m going to be witness to Discépolo´s will”. I replied that Enrique already had one. So Manzi told me that that will wasn´t the one that mattered because he was going to write a new one. And later, a third will was drawn. Then I told him: “Enrique, why so many wills?. It´s awful, it seems as if you were going to die tomorrow. Do you always want to rewrite your will?”.»
—Were there three wills?
«No. A fourth came afterwards, so he decided to give me an explanation. “Do you know what happens, Mammy?, I don´t trust, because when I die, I would not be pleased if you had to go to ask (Luis César) Amadori,or (Carlos A.) Petit, or so and so, to hire you... I want you to stay calm so that's the reason why I leave you these 42 apartments. Yes, 42 tangos, waltzes... all what I have written. 42 apartments which play by themselves. And the stairs do not break, the elevators are not out of order, the tenants pay you, nobody will be a debtor, no one will leave without paying... Imagine yourself with 42 apartments, with one tenant leaving, with another who does not pay, that would drive you crazy, Mammy... And if they are much or very little played, it doesn´t matter: they´re 42”.
«Well, by then he had persuaded me. But he kept on giving me explanations: “Furthermore, a young girl, very pretty, is making me some injections. What about if all of a sudden I fall in love with her and I change my mind to bequeath everything to her...? Then, the will I have drawn is no longer valid... And a new will has to be made!”. Manzi, who knew all this story, looked at me and told me: “Look, I can´t stand your husband any longer. I was witness to four wills...”. It really seemed a joke... It was like a theater play...»
—Have you ever thought about writing a tango?
«No. Enrique said that one of the greatest joys in his life was to have fallen in love with a woman who was not an intellectual. To be frank I had nothing of an intellectual. I would have liked to be like Alfonsina Storni. —”No..., no..., the way you are is all right. Don´t learn anything more 'cause it won´t help you at all...”.»
—How do you address each other?
«I called him Chachi and he called me Mammy. When he was in trouble or very serious, he called me Tania. He never call me Anita. In addition, we didn´t engage in arguments 'cause everything he did was allright with me and what I did was perfect for him. We didn't have quarrels, such as not talking to each other...»
—Were you sorry for not having children?
«No, at least we never talked about that.»
—Didn´t he like kids?
«No, and I didn´t like them either.»
—What did he talk about with his friends?
«He very much laughed at the things they did. And he told me about them very seriously. For example, he talked about a friend he loved very much. “He´s very good looking, very intelligent, but such a fool..., he does not know what he does. In Buenos Aires he takes a bath, dresses, and tells his wife he has some business in Punta del Este. He goes to the airport. He takes a plane. He arrives in Punta del Este and meets his lover. They go out to lunch, later to the hotel. He has to undress, go to bed with her. The next morning, he has to take a bath, go out rushing to take the plane to Buenos Aires... To 'fuck'... so much work!?”.
«He said it as I tell you. It was a movie. All his tales were narrated as in a movie. His life was a movie...»