Interview to Luis Cardei a year before his death
Tanguitos from a porteño elf
Luis Cardei obtained "moderate success" while performing in well known downtown bars in Buenos Aires. He would always show up by himself, with a small bench and his bandoneón player. Because of the fact that he did not interpret any of Piazzolla´s tangos, among other things, his repertoire was quite peculiar.
He is now ready to respond to our inquiries. He’s sitting at his dinning room table, cigarettes at hand, a good luck charm bracelet, and his wireless telephone that would not stop ringing. Once in his house, you can’t avoid the smell of tango in the air.
It was 35 years ago when he first performed in public. He was 15, and it took place in a contest held in an argentine neighborhood called Villa Urquiza, where he lived all of his life.
would you say to a person who detests tango?
He’s dressed in black from head to toes. He is very easy going but gets very upset with the idea or mighty possibility of having the "neighborhood" concept disappear. "Of course it still exists!" the thing is that it is being a bit ignored. "Haven’t you noticed that if someone asks you ‘where you live’ you answer Chacarita; (name of neighborhood), you see, the concept of neighborhood still exists".
When talking about tango one feels the conversation constantly flowing, just like the dance. As if one were in a dance floor. Going from tango-songs, to orchestras, singers, lyric writers and memories.
"Luisito" as he usually calls himself, shares with us the fact that the 24th of June will be a very special day. "It is like a patriotic day for me. It is the death anniversary of the person who in my opinion invented my passion, the inventor of singing tango as a genre. He was an extraordinary human being, good pal, gallant, and very clean cut...he was Carlitos."
Gardel was the biggest and best tango exponent, and is still standing. There
is a popular saying that implies that he sings better each day. What do you
think about him as a composer?
Women and Tango
When it comes to women, Cardei is always very gentile. No matter who it may be, Cardei usually compliments the ladies. He does not consider himself very good looking, specially because of his legs. He was born hemophilic and had to remain in bed for several years. This is the reason why his legs did not grow in proportion to his body. But he is very sexy. He has this look in his eyes that not only make him very attractive, but also dissuade the answers during the interview; creating a very special atmosphere. Involuntarily his glances unintentionally modulate the mood of the interview.
you like any female singers?
- Would you name one in particular?
- But are you going to name one?
He does not like having to admit that he dislikes something. And when he finally does, he really goes around the bush before answering. But when it comes to Adriana Varela, he can’t help accepting the fact that she is not of his style. "It’s not that I don’t like her, she’s just not my style"(...)
- Is it because of her manly attitude when singing?
- Are there any tangos for women?
While chatting with a tanguero quarreling is never out of the question when it comes to certain topics. According to Luisito, Astor Piazzolla, the composer, is also out of the limits of tango. He says "There’s tangueros and Piazzollistas. I personally think Piazzolla made up this very beautiful music very much like Buenos Aires, but..that it is not tango." (...)
always sing with a bandoneon player at your side. Do you play any instruments?
Cardei says he has never tried composing because he does not like the singer-composer idea, and adds " I’m very respectful, I leave the composing for those who know"
Very gentlemanly, even a bit sexist (only a bit), extremely sensitive, short, and practically unable to carry out certain activities and movements that require body skills;
Luisito is pretty much like a chameleon who changes moods in accordance with the tone of each question. He can easily laugh about an anecdote, become sad when approaching some death story, and proves us how much he hates his illness, although it is very subtle. He is easily moved. He most likely reaches out and grabs the heart of the public and gives them back afflicted and anguished. This is accomplished by the mere fact of his presence.
tango are you going to listen to once I finish and leave?
He now coughs. Grabs the edge of the table with both hands and starts singing without having been asked to do so; just for the pleasure of it: "Bien tu sabes que mi vida está en tus ojos/ ellos son mi alegría y mi amargura...(You know very well that my life is your eyes/ they are my happiness and my biterness...) I don’t remember the rest, but it goes something like; your eyes make me feel sad when they cry, and I feel...what was it?...ah, yes...tenderness."