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December 30, 2008

Concert - Café de los Maestros

Mariano Mores conducting
Orquesta de la Café de los Maestros (click to enlarge)


The Tango Golden Era of the 1940s is well and alive in 2008
Letter from Buenos Aires, December 11, 2008.
By Beatriz Dujovne

Sixty plus years later I was part of the Golden Era for two hours. Film director Gustavo Santaolalla, who produced two CDs, a book, a DVD, and a movie - all called “Café de los Maestros”-, was ready for The Maestros’ second one-time live performance. (The first was in August 2006, at the opera house.) His ambitious project gathered tango directors, musicians and singers from the 1940s. The seats at Teatro Rex on Corrientes Avenue (where tango action took place in the 1940s) were totally sold out. Some artists represented 6, 7 and 8 decades of tango.

Sitting next to a stranger in a show of this nature is having access to a temporary instructor. I do not have to wonder if my neighbor knows the artists’ careers. I assume he or she knows. So I ask what I want to know. In this case, he fills me in about the age and the most remarkable aspect of each musician and singer to appear on stage.

Leopoldo Federico, first row, glasses (click to enlarge)

Orquesta de la Café de los Maestros (click to enlarge)

This show was as nostalgic as tangos can get. The artists I remembered at the climax of their careers were in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.

At the beginning and end of each number the audience applauded, shouting with fervor.

Some highlights:

Gabriel “Chula” Clausi (born 1911, played with Firpo, Maffia, Julio De Caro) had to be helped to his seat on the stage; when he sat down he played the bandoneon beautifully. He was the oldest of the bunch and the only one to receive a standing ovation. "Alfred Arnold" Tango by Gabriel Clausi

Gabriel "Chula" Clausi (Click to enlarge)

Atilio Stampone (born 1926, played with Calo, and with 1946 Piazzolla), Ernesto Baffa (born 1932, played with H. Stampone, Salgan and Troilo), Mariano Mores (born 1918, composer, director and pianist), looked stunning and performed as well as in the old times.

Whoever saw Leopoldo Federico walk with difficulty, would have never imagined he could wiggle with passion in his seat elevating the orquesta to new aesthetic highs (he is one of the greatest bandoneon players along with Troilo, Laurenz and Maffia. Played with Di Sarli, A. Stampone, Salgan, and Quinteto Piazzolla). Federico got one of the biggest ovations of the evening.

When Carlos Lazzari, bandoneonist of D’Arienzo, joined the Orquesta Tipica Café de los Maestros - directed by Osvaldo Requena - in “La cumparsita”; the director changed the style accelerating and giving a strong D’Arienzo beat to the music. Dancers appeared on the stage: an older couple who danced as people do at milongas, and a younger couple who danced a semi-open style with little connection. They came later for “Si sos brujo”, played with an arrangement Emilio Balcarce had made for Pugliese.

It was very emotional for me to see Virginia Luque who has always been the petite woman I watched as child in some of the 130 films she made as a movie star. Her voice last night was unmistakably Luque, with the same polenta (potency) and acting she had at the peak of her career. She gave us “La cancion de Buenos Aires” and “El patio de la morocha”.

Virginia Luque (click to enlarge)

Fernando Suarez Paz’s violin became the foreground of the orquesta for me; he was younger than most; (played in Piazzolla’s orquesta; Piazzolla composed “Escualo” for him. To watch Piazzolla and Suarez Paz in Escualo: VXV.com :: Astor Piazzolla Escualo en Holanda :: durmiendoeneltren. Suarez Paz gave us “Los Mareados”.

Fernando Suarez Paz (click to enlarge)

With one of the singers of Alfredo De Angelis, Juan Carlos Godoy we emoted as he sung “Anclao in Paris” and “La mariposa”.

Juan Carlos Godoy (click to enlarge)

The program closed with Marianito Mores, whose tangos and milongas we dance the world over today: “Gricel”, “Adios pampa mia”, “Cafetin de Buenos Aires”, “Uno”, and “Taquito militar”. He played the piano and directed the orquesta in “Uno” and “"Taquito Militar"

What a night! I will keep remembering Virginia Luque as she appears in youtube: YouTube - Adios VIRGINIA LUQUE

There were many white hairs, bald or semi-bald heads...yet, the spirit was unequivocally 40s. The size and sound of the orquesta was definitely 40s. I felt fortunate to have been part of the soul of an era for two hours. Walking along Corrientes after the show was nostalgic as well, for I pictured this avenue in the 40s, with one tango venue next to the other, and in each confiteria or restaurant I heard the sounds of terrific orquestas tipicas in my mind.

(Copyright (c) 2008 Beatriz Dujovne)

Posted by beatriz at December 30, 2008 05:04 PM


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