Graciela D'Angelo

Todo Tango at Bien Bohemio... And now comes the second! Wednesday May 9, 2012

fter the period of Arturito, surely wonderful, there was a time with «no meetings» for several reasons... but last year was the first time at Bien Bohemio and, now... here comes the second!...

The summoning was for May 9 at 9:30 pm. Wednesday —working day—, the odds were complicated... I was not feeling well, with flu, but I had promised to write the chronicle. But even though it rained or thundered, with flu or fainting, I had to go. As soon as I noticed there was no rain I wrapped up with warm clothes ‘cause I was coughing and shivering and there I went.

That neighborhood is quite peaceful, there are no tall buildings, there are no buses passing along that street, no traffic, no shops, no people walking along the sidewalks, only old houses, a portion of Boedo that stopped its time... at one of those houses, on 745 Sánchez de Loria Street, in the middle of the block, a simple little lamp, billboard, old big window to the left, hallway to the right... is BIEN BOHEMIO —Tití Rossi’s house—, that today is an venue run by his daughter with her great passion for tango. There we were to meet with the people of the café of Todo Tango and others that were also invited.

I got off the taxi cab and I was thinking that as soon as I got in don Blaya would turn up at the reception and would tell me: «Give me a hundred bucks!» Ha, ha, ha!... and he will give me a little card with my name. But not this time. Never is like one thinks it will be. Hallway with posters, nice. Inner door even nicer. There were people that had arrived before me. I said hello, I was not nervous like the year before when it was my first dinner. I was happy because I finally had managed to go despite my flu. At the reception I paid and came to know Laureano who introduced himself as the translator of the page. He welcomed me and I saw he carried a folder with papers, eyeglasses and a light blue shirt and the list of the guests (I said to myself I ought to ask for the guests’ list). He handed me the little card with my name to fasten to my lapel. A simple, smart idea so that we all would read the name of the others in case we did not know them.

And then Ricardo García Blaya appeared and greeted me. He was happy of seeing me and told me: «Fortunately you came!» (Had he thought that the chronicle would not be written because I was delayed in arriving?). It seemed to me that now there was relief shown in his face. He was not a gentleman with a beautiful red kerchief but a high school student with blue jacket a striped tie, certainly, some years older... It’s a joke! He was well dressed as it had to be. He’s the owner of the webpage and we were celebrating the thirteenth anniversary of it and the eleventh of the La Mesa del Café... Why shouldn’t we be happy? We all were all right and glad of being able to meet.

Right away I entered the salon and saw María Victoria who was greeting me. She had also caught a cold and had made a great effort to be there but there she was: pretty and very well dressed. Everybody was well dressed and good looking, they were already sat at their tables... they had arrived very early! The salon was crowded. I began to say hello to everybody. A hug here, a hug there, how touching! Seeing again some friends I had met on the previous dinner. The first hug was for Coco who was sitting at the first table. By his side was Vicky. I kissed my friend that so much helped in the organization of this meeting and named herself the secretary of minutes. By her side was Carlos Bottini, lovely. I met him for the first time. At the head of the table was my beloved friend the payador Fernando de Boulogne. How nice seeing again Fer! By his side was Rodolfo de San Martín. I had met him at the other dinner but then there was no chance of talking so I stayed at that table that was so comfortable and pleasant.

I said hello to Darío Murano whom I knew just by name. He was young and pleasant. I looked around the room and tasted friendliness, good mood on all their faces. All the tables were busy and everybody was having a friendly chat. Very nice.

I saw Roberto Mancini sitting at a table in the back with Dr. Tango. As he had brought a photo camera he was immediately commissioned as «official photographer».

I knew that Ángel Yonadi would be there so I discreetly walked along the small aisle among the tables to greet him. I saw Dimas Marzotto. How could I not see him! How could I forget that his birthday is the same day as mine! I greeted him, also his wife. There were Héctor D’Aversa and his wife and also a Chilean friend that specially traveled to be at this party. His name is Alberto Ponce Peña and he filmed for a long while.

At the table beside them were José Valle and Gaby. She is very pretty and she would sing later. Beside her I saw Angelito. I was very happy to meet him in person! Also seeing again Roberto Améndola and Aníbal of Ciudadela, with José, Ángel’s friend, they all were sharing a table. A great pleasure and shaking hands for Atlanta and for Nueva Chicago, of course!

They were all already dining. The menu: Russian salad with cooked ham, red and white wine, water and soft drinks, later meat with carrot salad, ice cream. And I went back to my table, there were no chances of saying hello to each one even though I would have like to.

Then Horacio Préstamo and María Alejandra arrived and sat by my side at the —let’s call it noisy and merry- ha!— table occupied by Coco, Vicky, Bottini, Fernando, Rodolfo, Horacio and María Alejandra. We laughed and talked. Everything went on naturally. A great pleasure to be with them all!

Marta Rossi, the owner of the house, always so gentle and pleasant, with a cute openwork blouse, knows how to be a host and pays attention to everything so that the guests may be comfortable and that their stay at Bien Bohemio —Tití Rossi’s house— turns out something pleasant. Furthermore, the walls are dressed with tango pictures, photos of nearly all the greatest stars of our music. Some of them spent hours there, rehearsing and composing, singing and surely drinking mate and smiling... «a place for everybody».

Ricardo García Blaya stepped on the stage, held a microphone, as he was the host he thanked the presence of the ones there. He began with his closest collaborators and friends: Abel Palermo, Néstor Pinsón, Laureano Fernández and Federico García Blaya that accompany him in this challeging task from the time they started with this page 13 years ago. A webpage that we all love and that is the most important tango portal, visited daily by people from all the places in the world to consult, learn and listen to music.

He also mentioned Enrique Espina Rawson, president of the Centro de Estudios Gardelianos, Juan Carlos Esteban, Norberto Regueira, Enrique Binda, Guadalupe Aballe, Marta Pizzo, María José Mentana and Ernesto, her husband. At a table nearer ours were Rody Groppo and Susana. They are about to open again the mythical Café Homero. Elsa Rossi who writes for the Patio de los Poetas beautiful things in lunfardo. There were more friends with their wives: Baldomero Martínez and Ricardo Bruno and someone that I may miss... we were all watching while following the Ricardo’s words, straining our necks to see the faces we did not know. When the time of our table came, of course, he mentioned Coco, as it had to be, and all of us. «And my friends Vicky and Graciela», and I add, without being boastful: loyal kind-hearted girls, secretary of minutes and chronicler, respectively, with flu... but never failing, hey! He as well thanked, obviously, Marta Rossi who opened her house for us and was responsible for the nice show we witnessed.

Thereafter he introduced the one who would be the musical director of the evening: maestro Pepe Motta. For that, a piano was there onstage. A small stage that allows intimate appearances that cause profound emotions.

A complete joy, an impressive pianist, who with the humility of the greats, on the stage told us that he is struggling against a disease but, fortunately, music helps him a lot and the best gift is the audience applause and the chance of being able to play with his son Pablo who plays string bass. Father and son started with the number “Yo te bendigo”, later played “Inspiración” and followed with two instrumentals written by Pepe: “Diálogo tanguero” —a dialogue for the two instruments— and “Vibrando” which I thought was marvelous. I don’t remember who told him that it would fit for some lyrics... I liked it just that way, as it was born: a beautiful instrumental!

Maestro Motta then introduced one of the singers that were to appear in this show: Jesús Hidalgo. He sang “Olvido” —what a tango!—. Later he rendered “Contramarca”, followed by “” –which he sweetly dedicated to his peer Noelia Moncada- slowly performed in a rather bolero style. He ended his appearance with “Más solo que nunca”. I like how this boy sings. It’s nice that young people devote themselves to our beautiful music! A very good voice!

He invited Noelia Moncada to step on the stage and they together sang “Romance de barrio”. Noelia sang “Chiquilín de Bachín”, “Alma en pena” and a personal rendition of “Se dice de mí” dedicated to all women.

Then on the stage appeared Gaby, known in the milieu as “the sensual voice of tango” who offered for us “La casita de mis viejos”. A very good show, in the hands of a great musician, with another gifted music player and these talented young people with different voices so necessary for innovation and continuity. Immediately, Marta Pizzo recited a poem of her own. I think its name was “La novia de Gardel”.

Thereafter María José Mentana was invited to come onstage. She was accompanied by Ramón Maschio, a very good guitarist. She sang “Atenti pebeta” and told us about her next work named “De Buenos Aires a París”. It is the story of a waitress who longs for singing on a stage... It was written by Ricardo García Blaya. And she closed with a true gem: “La añera”, a wonderful zamba with lyrics by don Atahualpa Yupanqui and music by Nabor Mario Córdoba.

At that time I was thinking that it had been nice if also Angelito Yonadi would have come onstage like in the early dinner parties... and sang with them. «Yo tengo una pena antigua, inútil botarla fuera. Y como es pena que dura, yo le he llamado la añera...» A beautiful rendition! So nice!

When the show seemed to have ended and everybody began to leave the great finale came... Horacio Préstamo and María Alejandra Riva stepped on that small platform and danced. A difficult task because they are used to dancing in large saloons and great spaces, however, they performed a dancing master class. They danced to several pieces and switched from one beat to another with grace and naturally. Tango well danced with sensuality. It was something quite pretty.

Firstly, they danced a tango, “Patético” by Pugliese, later a milonga, a rhumba, a fox-trot and ended with the last section of “Cien guitarras”, milonga, by De Angelis-Dante-Martel. Information that Horacio kindly gave me. This medley is part of a show they performed in San Isidro. Clap your hands for this dancing team that so well danced!

The few ones that still were there began to say goodnight, we were all very happy, glad of having embraced, met, seen again friends, having seen a face and known finally who’s name it belonged to... of having talked and shared things.

A special apology to maestro Motta for my having requested something he was unable to give because he did not have it. It was a mistake of mine and I was unable to apologize at the moment... but he gave me something he did have: his beautiful musical artistry. Thanks to everybody, let’s have a toast for the page on its thirteenth anniversary, for the eleven-year-old Mesa del Café and for friendship. Each one in his/her heart would have remember José Pedro and El Boa (Oscar Bianchi)... I guess so... A special wish for those that are faraway and are unable to come, but they were with us with their hearts like El Negro, Rolando, Oscar, Horacio, Pepe, Pucho and many more. And thanks to my friend Fernando that drove me home, especially because when we left it was raining and I remembered I had caught a cold.

Until the next time and love for everybody!