The old tango was once young
has always been a young phenomenon.
splendor of its composers (Eduardo Arolas, Vicente Greco, Agustín Bardi,
to name some of the few) took place in the post-adolescent era.
first, tango was impudent, optimistic, immensely creative, subtly violent,
the first that threw some cold water to such fervor of fueyes and feverish
raptures were the ones that were then called “los
de la guardia nueva” (the new generation).
De Caro was not inflexible. On the contrary. His orchestra could get in
the ring with the music stands and musical scores. Many looked at him as
if he were weird. What did the tango have to do with all that paper work,
like the director once said, if there would be a wind stroke, would the
musicians be clueless?
a paradox, when the guardia nueva began to settle down, the tango started
loosing fire, the improvisation and the surprise of the heroic times. But
in those times, (20´s decade, beginning of 30´s), its protagonists were
last half of the 30´s decade showed the first decay of tango. All of a
sudden the death of Gardel, followed by the death of Agustín magaldi,
fire from the singer’s bonfire, and the people began to withdraw
their support. The orchestras were living hard times: pro-men like Osvaldo
Fresedo, for example, would come back from the United States with their
ears filled with Jazz, and from the boxes would create a spectacle of
three foreign songs for each tango.
Juan D´Arienzo riding the excessive pride rhythmic back of his
extraordinary pianist Rodolfo Biaggi, would fight the match without giving
or asking for a truce.
when starting the 40´s the great porteño scenario had already been
staged. The bleechers and cafés were flooded with orchestras. There was a
time when there were almost 300 orchestras playing simultaneously in the
different neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. The most popular names were
downtown. The rest were spread throughout the neighborhoods, trying to
earn merit so as to enter the small circuit in the heart of the city. “I
would not go beyond Patricios
and Pompeya – the inmense Horacio Salgán recognized one day to the
journalist – We had to do our
homework very well, so as to be able to loom downtown.”
the 40´s were not the result of the first youth. The protagonists were
already around their thirties and forties. There was no longer the
rebelliousness of Arolas, nor the genial unconsciousness of Gobbi senior.
Everything had been changed for everyone’s own style, the orchestration
plus the growth of the singers, which were no longer chansonniers
to become one more instrument in the orchestras.
40´s was the explosion of tango. But rather a nostalgic explosion: many
plots talked about the past that will never come again, like the magic
1920 that A pan y agua
proclaims; he names guapos (studs) that no longer inhabited the porteño
streets, they mourn the genre becoming more French-like (“eras
un varón / sencillo y compadrón / de una palabra sola / rimaba tu cantar
/ con la emoción triunfal / del bandoneón de Arolas / pero empezó tu
decadencia / cuando te dieron tanta ciencia / y hoy rezongándote cabrero
/ un lagrimón fulero / enturbia
tu canción”, Tango de otros tiempos complains).
40´s tango was a dance hall tango, a tango with extraordinary musicians (
the sprout of Aníbal Troilo, the stylish adjustments of Osvaldo Pugliese,
the mixture of stars with Miguel Caló, the notorious impetus of Ricardo
Tanturi, the strength of D´Arienzo, the experimenting of
Francini-Pontier, the canyengue precision of Alfredo Gobbi). And also the
explosion of the tango singers, that may as well have a chapter of their
own. But was already a middle age phenomenon.
after the long night of the second decadence of tango (60´s and 70´s
decades, over all), young people have come around and gotten closer to
tango and its compass, to its ritual and its dance. They do it their own
way, with a seal of their own, mixing Piazzolla with the primitive bands
with flute and guitar, deconstructing it a bit and also respecting another
bit. Maybe that is why it is now again a phenomenon of the most powerful
years, the resurrection of tango may be more real than ever.