9 Oct 2007

The Women of Tango

In the present moment, Oct 2007

From time to time, there are defining moments in our journey.

Today, the women of tango walked into my life. The female singers I mean.

Before today, beyond a cursory acquitance, my familiarity with the female singers of tango was sadly limited to Ada Falcon (see the section on “Yo no sé que me han hecho tus ojos" in Música del Alma). I don’t know why I never felt the urge to expand my repertoire beyond the male singers. Sometimes, things fall in place naturally when we are ready for it.

Well, earlier today I was happily shopping for tango music and chatting to the nice lady helping me in the shop. For some reason, one after another, female tango singers kept popping into the picture. Starting with Ada Falcon. Next came Azucena Maizani. Then Mercedes Simone. A while later, a record was playing and I managed to identify Libertad Lamarque singing. No mean feat since I can count on my 2 hands the number of times I have heard Libertad Lamarque.

Finally, the lady bought out a CD “Se Va La Vida – Tango Ladies, 1923-54”. It has the range of era in tango music that I like. I even liked the cover. Sadly the CD was a bit pricey so I didn’t get it.

Inspired by the appearance en masse of these grand dames of tango in a single afternoon, I came home and looked up the singers on Todotango and sampled their songs respectively. I enjoyed the write-up on the singers, the descriptions of their voice and what characterized their singing. I have added the links, you can read about Rosita Quiroga, Azucena Maizani, Mercedes Simone, Ada Falcón, Libertad Lamarque, Nelly Omar and Tita Merello.

In particular, 2 anecdotes from Todotango caught my attention. The first was a piece of “tango tabloid”☺. Many singers of bygone eras also starred in movies. The same phenomenon happened in the East. Anyway, Libertad Lamarque starred in over 20 movies in Argentina. During one shooting, a harsh argument arose between Libertad and the actress Eva Duarte. It was said that after the incident, difficulties to Libertad Lamarque’s career sprang up and she had to emigrate to Mexico. And yes. This is the same Eva who latter married a man named Juan Perón. At the time of the “fight” she was already linked with the future “El Presidente”. Read about the woman Eva Perón loved to hate in "Two Tough Dolls".

The second was a touching letter to Rosita Quiroga from Yoyi Kanematz of Japan, a lover of tango music, written in 1970 in his anticipation of Rosita Quiroga’s visit to Osaka. It holds an account of what tango music meant to the author in the last days of World War II.

Grand ladies of tango, I shall enjoy getting to know you better in the coming days.

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