Volver Tango
Alfredo Grimaldos

Gardel, the greatest flamenco tango man

arlos Gardel is the greatest popular singer of all times. And this was said by a flamenco, who fell for the artistry of Antonio Mairena, Terremoto de Jerez and Tomás Pavón. Gardel created the tango-canción when he recorded, in 1917, “Mi noche triste (Lita)”: «Percanta que me amuraste, en lo mejor de mi vida, dejándome el alma herida y espina en el corazón…»

Until then, tango was only instrumental and danceable. The genius born in the French city of Toulouse and brought up in the porteña Buenos Aires invented the phrasing and the diction of a musical genre that would become universal. He took it out of the outskirts, keeping its most genuine flavor, and brought it to the venues all over the world.

From the time he arrived in Spain in the 20’s in the last century, before his unstoppable success in Paris, Gardel was a reference for many flamencos. The man from Andújar (province of Jaén), Rafael Romero (El Gallina) used to carry a photo of him in his wallet and whenever he had the occasion he showed it. He always said: «He taught us how to stand on a stage and to pose for portraits».

Flamencos, who all their lives have absorbed from other music styles, naturally, to enrich their own, unique, heritage had an important reference with El Francesito of the neighborhood of El Abasto. The one who best practiced Gardel’s heritage with flamenco spirit was Chano Lobato from Cádiz. On one of his tours of Latin America, in Argentina he came to know Hugo Del Carril, singer and movie actor who impersonated Gardel himself in some movie. Chano told us that he had a good relationship with him, who, besides his career, run an otter farm.

With his charm, so natural in a man from Cádiz, one day in his house in Sevilla, close to the Betis stadium, he told me: «Imagine how much I like Gardel that I’ve been keeping all his movies for years and I know them all by heart, but, from time to time, I go to El Corte Inglés and buy them again. Just to see if I can find some new scene».

In his album Que veinte años no es nada, recorded in 1980 with the wonderful guitar of the artist Manuel Domínguez, from Sevilla, Chano cut an unforgettable rendition of “Volver”, one of Carlos’s most lasting pieces, by bulerías. A stroke of genius. Later many ones have tried to copy it, even for the soundtrack of a film, but with no acclaim.

Gardel passed away over eighty years ago, when he was not forty-five yet, and left for us more than eight hundred tangos, milongas and folk songs, many of those pieces with music written –in fact, whistled- by him.

Furthermore, he was starred in several movies with screenplay by Alfredo Le Pera, his lyricist in the latter years, who died alongside him in the accident of Medellín in June 1935. Carlitos, we, the flamencos, very much love you and owe you.

Excerpted from: El Mundo.es https://goo.gl/D6JfDi (24/06/2015) and loquesomos.org https://goo.gl/RGDKA2