Bruno Cespi

The "dones" of tango

he old sheet music section is, no doubt, one of the stars of our portal, not only because of the appealing front covers but also due to the names of their composers and the names of the people to whom those tangos were dedicated.

Many visitors are thankful for this because they have found familiar names or names of friends and characters, in other words, people who seemed forgotten due to the passing of time and by the following generations and, all of a sudden, they find them in Todo Tango.

It’s incredible the large number of tangos that utilize the title don in their titles. We thought it was interesting to write a brief inventory of them to emphasize what was above said.

The word don, according to the Real Academia Española, indicates a respectful treatment, today quite generalized, which precedes the male Christian names. In the old days it was reserved for certain people with a high social rank.

We reviewed some titles taken from their original sheet music copies:

Don Manuel”, by Salvador Codoñer, «Dedicated to my beloved friend Manuel Agromayor».
Don Benjamín”, by Ricardo González “Muchila”, dedicated to Dr. Benjamín Bonifacio.
Don Casimiro”, by Victorio Pontino, without dedication.
“Don Hipólito”, by Carlos Percuoco and Luis De Biase, «Affectionately dedicated to Dr. F. Giuffra».
“Don Severo”, by Celestino Ferrer, «Dedicated to my beloved fried Saverio Lombardi».
Don Facundo”, by Ciro José Vasallo, «Dedicated to my close friend Facundo Spínola».
Don Goyo”, by Luis Bernstein, without dedicatotion.
Don Goyo [b]”, by Ulises Cassinelli, «Dedicated to my dear parents».
Don Juancito”, by Luis de la Rosa, dedicated to Mr. Juan Devincenzi.
Don Carlos”, by José Laina, «Dedicated to my good friend Mr. Carlos Ognio, with affection».
“Don Pacífico”, by Arturo De Bassi, «Dedicated to my friend Luciano Chaves Jr.».
“Don Silvio”, by Gré de Pas, «Dedicated to my brother Silvio».
“Don Paco”, by Enrique Saborido, dedicated to Francisco Ceballos.
Don Juan (El taita del barrio)”, by Ernesto Ponzio and R. J. Podestá, without dedication.
“Don Victorio”, by Prudencio Aragón, « Dedicated to my friend Victorio Vituone».
Don Ciriaco”, by Luciano A. Bonnel, « Dedicated to my beloved friend Juan B. Sasso».
Don Regino”, by Horacio Bruzzone, « Dedicated to my dear friend First Lieutenant Regino Lezcano (canteen of the 4th)».
Don Félix”, by A. S. La Salvia, dedicated to Félix Sobbrero.
Don Esteban”, by Augusto Berto, dedicated to the Notary Public F. Esteban Benza.
Don Pipiolo”, by Arnaldo Barsanti, without dedication.
“Don Quintana”, by José Loreda, dedicated to the Army captain Don Leopoldo Quintana.
“Don Abel”, by Alma Alegre and Alma Triste (Sad Soul), dedicated to the editors of El Demócrata of Ramos Mejía.
“Don Germán”, by Juan Rossi Masardo, without dedication.
“Don Juan Carlos”, arrangement for guitar by Vicente Caprino, without dedication.
Don Leandro”, by Rafael Rossi, « Dedicated to the Radical party of Mercedes and to the honorable Mr. Pedro E. Icharramonho».
Don Pedro”, by Ángel Villoldo, «Dedicated to the virtuoso Italian maestro Pietro Mascagni».
Don Viruta y Chicharrón”, by Leopoldo Corretjer, «Dedicated to the illustrated magazine Caras y Caretas».
Don Faustino”, by Alberico Spátola, dedicated to «The honorable Mr. Faustino Da Rosa».
Don Pedrito”, by Domingo Greco, « Dedicated to my beloved friend Pedro Giraldo».
Don Pepe”, by Ernesto Drangosch, dedicated to «The honorable Dr. José Luro».
“El bulín de don Luis”, by Juana L. Castillo de Matoso, without dedication.
“El bulín de don Enrique”, by Francisco Magnana San Lío, « Dedicated to my good friend Ricardo J. Podestá».

Don Pepe [b]”, by Mauricio Guariglia, dedicated to Mrs. Nicanor and José C. Posse. Guariglia was a flutist, music teacher and composer of Italian origin, who died in our country in 1953. Among his alumni we have to single out Luis Teisseire. Another tango of his which was even recorded is “La galarcita”.

Five tangos by A. Rosendo, sobriquet of Rosendo Mendizábal:
“Don Horacio”, dedicated to «the Engineer don Horacio Anasagasti».
“Don Padilla”, dedicated to Mr. R. Padilla.
Don Santiago”, dedicated to Mr. Santiago Ferrari (Inspector of the Midland Railroad Telegraph).
“Don Enrique”, dedicated to the Chief of Police Don Enrique Otamendi.
Don José María”, dedicated to Mr. José M. Echenagucía.

Don Clemente”, by Alberto S. Poggi, dedicated to Mrs. Fosatti and Cappelini. Composer and music publisher (1882-1962), he continued with the enterprise founded by his father David who died in 1923. Other of his numbers were: “El cosquilloso”, “La vista engaña” and “No le hagas caso”.

Don Mateo”, by Juan Pardal, «Dedicated to my dear friend Guillermo C. B. Netto». Other numbers of this composer were: “La boleada” (waltz), “Conserve su izquierda” and “La Ópera”.

Don Lemos”, by Martín Quijano, « Dedicated to my good friend José A. Lemos». Composer of the beginning of the twentieth century, other of his tangos were: “Aquí estoy yo”, “No me parece”, “Parece mentira [b]”, “Piropos [b]”, “Que pera”, “Te conozco mascarita [b]”.

Don Nicanor”, by Emilio Marchiano, «Dedicated to the honorable Dr. Nicanor Posse. Province of Tucumán 1918». Other numbers of this violinist: “Abran cancha [c]”, “Para hoy”, “Larrondo”, “El pequeño”, “El regalón”, “El desacato” and the waltz, “Linda Thelma”.

“Miralo a don Hipólito”, by Berniero Procaccio, «Dedicated to the honorable Dr. Arturo Benavides». Other numbers of his were the tangos “Cupido [b]”, “Sencillo pero afinao” and the waltzes “Carolina”, “Mercedes”, “Matilde”, “Delicia primaveral”.

Don Ismael”, by Vicente Mazzoco, dedicated to Mr. Don Ismael Del Sel.
Don Teodoro”, by the same composer, «Dedicated to the young pilot Corporal Teodoro Fels». This composer was bandleader; he also signed as M. Criollito. He was Italian, conductor of the Infantry Band, he traveled to Bolivia where he was appointed General Conductor of Military Bands. He used a sobriquet for fear that his superiors would come to know that was a tango composer. In 1912 he recorded for Columbia Record conducting the Band of the 5th Regiment of Infantry. Among his tangos are: “ABC”, “Azul y blanco”, “Bar Florida”, “Bar Pueyrredón”, “Hotel España”, “Mechita”, ”Mi china”, “Ricardito”, “Rico Tipo”.

Don Alberto”, by José D. Pécora, «Dedicated to the honorable Senator Alberto Barceló». Italian violinist, he fronted trios and orchestra and played in the Sexteto Di Sarli. The following belong to him: “El cuarto está por llegar”, “Pelosi”, “El pibe”, “El circo”, “Pura milonga”.

Don Justo”, by Rafael Fracassi, dedicated to Don Justo Hernández. Italian musician, bandleader and trumpeter (1886-1952), he led the band of the city of Córdoba for 30 years, regarded by many as the best of the country. It even sometimes included 80 members. Among his tangos: “Alma Argentina”, “Bésame y adelante”, “Chantecler”, “De Pinedo”, “El tango de los besos”, “Flor de abrojo”.

Don Vicente”, by Abel Bedrune, «Dedicated to my beloved friend Vicente Mazola». Other numbers: “El marrueco”, “El bordoneo”, “El niño Samuel”, “El lecherito”, “De punta a punta”.

Don Santiago”, by Pablo Laise, «Dedicated to the honorable sportsman and founder of the Hipódromo San Martín, Don Santiago Fontanilla and to the general administrator Don Esteban Habiaque, respectfully». The composer used to appear playing a sandpaper, a scratching device. He played in the giant orchestra formed by Francisco Canaro and Vicente Greco for the carnival balls of 1916, at the Teatro Politeama. Other numbers: “El triunfo radical”, “Ginebrita”, “El Tito”, “Molinari”, “Stud Los Cardos”.

“Che, toque don Alberto”, by Carlos Minotti, «Dedicated to the honorable Dr. Alberto González». Violinist and composer (1882-1955) he used to compose on his portable harmonium. He played in the orchestra led by Alfredo Bevilacqua and sometimes Juan Maglio. He led the Orquesta Típica Porteña that recorded tangos for the Orophon label in 1913. Other of his numbers are: “Contra la yetta”, “Chaucha pelada”, “La patota [c]”, “El verde”, “El zorrito”, “El burro”, “El Negro”.

All these numbers belong to the Bruno Cespi’s collection, and were composed before 1923. Other numbers collected from recordings, many after that date, follow:

“Don Adolfo” (Berto), “Don Agustín Bardi” (Horacio Salgán) “Don Alejandro (Alejandro Junnissi), “Don Alfonso” (Héctor Varela y Eladio Blanco), “Don Alfredo” (Carlos Lazzari), “Don Álvaro” (Charlo), “Don Aniceto” (Esteban Gilardi), “Don Ástor” (Dante Amicarelli), “Don Atilio” (Osvaldo Pugliese), “Don Brócoli” (Ambrosio Río), “Don Eduardo” (David Roccatagliatta), “Don Fidel” (Armando Lacava), “Don Florencio” (Samuel Castriota), “Don Horacio” (Pintín Castellanos), “Don Horacio” (Ángel Danesi), “Don José” (Edgardo Donato y Roberto Zerrillo), “Don Juan Malevo” (Francisco Lomuto), “Don Juan Mondiola” (Oscar Arona), “Don Lisandro” (Manuel Solano), “Don Ludwig” (Roberto Pansera), “Don Meneghin” (Villoldo), “Don Octavio” (Donato Racciatti), “Don Orlando” (H. Varela), “Don Osman” (Oscar de la Fuente), “Don Pancho” (Osvaldo Fresedo), “Don Pepe [c]” (Alfredo Eusebio Gobbi), “Don Roberto” (Tito Ferrari), “Don Rodolfo” (de la Fuente), “Don Rosendo” (Joaquín Do Reyes), “Don Segundo Sombra” (Enrique Delfino), “Don Tancredo” (Enrique Olivera), “Don Vicente” (Aragón).

A Don Alfredo Gobbi” (Eduardo Rovira), “A Don Américo Amato” (Miguel Villasboas), “A Don Antonio” (H. Varela), “A Don Ástor” (Juan Carlos Carrasco), “A Don Carlos” (Juan Carlos Caviello), “A Don Claudio” (M. Villasboas), “A Don Florindo” (Ángel Cicchetti y Javier Mazzea), “A Don Héctor María” (H. Varela y Ernesto Rossi), “A Don Horacio Salgán” (Alberto Gentile), “A Don Javier” (Roberto Zanoni), “A Don Julio De Caro” (Luis Stazo), “A Don Lalo Bello” (Teófilo Orlando, Osvaldo Bruno y Francisco Delillo), “A Don Néstor Marconi” (Leonardo Marconi), “A Don Pedro Santillán” (Rovira) and to end, a milonga: “A Don Nicanor Paredes” (Ástor Piazzolla).

These are some examples, surely, three must be many more.