The Simple: Playlists, Photographs & Summaries

You can go to our ‘Getting To Know’ YouTube Channel Playlist here                                   (right click or hold down on tablet)


Francisco Canaro: canaro-1942

 This image was taken in 1942 and shows Francisco Canaro standing to attention between
the bandoneóns. To the far left are his two singers, Eduardo Adrián and Carlos Roldán. The imposing bandoneonist with the black bow tie is Minotto Di Cicco, and to the far
right is Canaro’s brass section.
Canaro grew up in poverty and worked hard and prolifically over sixty tango years. He
was amongst the early tango pioneers, playing and recording decades before many of the other leaders had their own orchestra and recording contract. He is a constant
character in today’s milongas, having produced many popular tangos, valses, and
milongas from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Singers (click on gallery to enlargen)

 Francisco Lomuto:


Francisco Lomuto is standing at the rear, fourth from the left. Oscar Napolitano is seated at the piano. At the front are a bass drum and an abandoned saxophone.
Lomuto is from the same pioneering era as Canaro. Their careers followed comparable paths, their orchestra sounds were similar, and they recorded many of the same tangos. Lomuto too was prolific in the recording studio from the 1920s to 1950, but he is not heard as often today, mainly due to the poorer preserved sound quality of his recordings.

Singers (click on gallery to enlargen)


Edgardo Donato:donatobertolin-1939

In this 1939 photograph Edgardo Donato is standing to the far left, hands behind his back, wearing his characteristic round-rimmed glasses. In the centre of the front row is the eighteen-year old Bertolin with his distinctive piano accordion.
Donato was an exuberant performer on stage and put fun at the heart of his music. Before D’Arienzo is said to have taken tango down from the ears to the feet, Donato took tango to the whole body and made it jump up and down, pogo-style.

Singers (click on gallery to enlargen)


Orquesta Tipica Victor:otv1

This is the November 1925 formation with Luis Petrucelli in the centre of the bandoneonists and the long serving Ciriaco Ortiz on the left. The pianist is Vicente Gorrese, while double bass is Humberto Costanzo. The violinists include Agesilao Ferrazzano on the left.
An orchestra assembled from the musicians of other tango orchestras, it came together in the recording studios of Victor Records without ever performing live in front of an audience. It recorded from 1925 to 1944, during which time it had four orchestra leaders and many quality, indeed stellar, musicians.

Roberto Firpo:firpo-studio

Roberto Firpo and his musicians assembled in a recording studio. The horn behind the violinists is the receiver for the recordings. Firpo is at the elevated piano. There is a similar photograph taken in the same studio that shows Francisco Canaro and his musicians.
 Firpo is much more prominent in the history of tango than he is today. From 1910 to the 1950s his name was a synonym for tango. An innovator, and a relentless producer and recorder of tango music, he was a giant who pre-dated Canaro but did not endure so well. He established the piano as an essential tango instrument, and as early as 1916 he ‘tangofied’ the marching tune La Cumparsita.

** Photographs courtesy of Christian Tobler, Switzerland.

Getting To Know: Twenty Tango Orchestras

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Pioneer Playlist 1 


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