Born: December 11, 1890; Toulouse, France
Died: June 24, 1935; Medellín, Colombia
If there is one name that is synonymous with tangos, it is Carlos Gardel. He performed and composed with equal acuity, and any collection of tango classics include such Gardel favorites as Volver, Cuesta abajo, Mi Buenos Aires querido, and El día que me quieras. His compositions were so technically well written that they did much to elevate the tango to musical as well as social respectability. While Gardel did not shy away from texts depictingRead more the sordidness of poverty and prostitution, the majority of his pieces were written to texts of genuine poetic merit and he worked closely with poet Alfredo Le Pera, his most frequent collaborator. However, the man most associated with this Argentinean music form may not have been born in Argentina, but in Uruguay or possibly France; all that's known for certain is that his mother lived in France during his infancy and moved to Buenos Aires when he was around two or three. He began a singing career early, specializing in folk and popular songs, and soon created a musical group that added and dropped performers at various times. The duo group, Duo Nacional Gardel-Razzano (with singer Jose Razzano), was a great hit and toured throughout Latin America, as well as making recordings. During one of these tours, Gardel met tenor Enrico Caruso, who was one of his idols and vocal models, and was overwhelmed when Caruso declared himself a fan of Gardel's. In 1917, he sang his first tango, and these soon became the focus of his repertoire. Shortly thereafter, he began composing as well as making films and continuing his recording career. He became almost as popular in Europe as he was in Latin America and was one of the day's foremost entertainers. His premature death in an airplane crash was considered a great loss to Latin American music, as well as the entertainment world. However, his legacy remains in nearly 200 tangos and 1,000 recordings, a prodigious feat for such a short career in what were still the early days of the recording industry. Read less
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