venerdì 4 settembre 2015

A Tango in the brothel by Rubén Andrés Costanzo third part


Mrs. Meri Lao in the book quoted above speaks about a sociological survey carried out by Hugo Lamas and Victor Di Santo, I think that she refers to the work of Hugo Lamas and Enrique Binda: El tango en la sociedad porteña 1880-192014, a search made on newspapers of the time, police and the town hall of the city archives of Buenos Aires. Although the research lacks a fluid prose and an appropriate epistemological approach, the material analyzed has an inestimable value and clears many myths and doubts about the first years of the tango. Among the topics addressed in the book two hit me more, first: In Chapter VII with successful documents by 1901 she proves that in the halls of entertainment frequented by "good people" it was not only danced the criollo tango "but also other music with "cortes y quebradas" - typical figures of the Tango choreography danced on other rhythms - these dances were advertised in newspapers and commented on the following day with extensive reviews.

Second: in Chapter XIII we find a statistical analysis of scores of publications in the first decade of 1900. The number is astonishing, almost half a million scores of tango published in those years. This number reminds us two things: either that the number of brothels was high or that the tango was played and listened to the homes that owned a musical instrument, high economic class families.
We find another interesting article that debunks the theory of the origin of the tango in brothels in the magazine Club de Tango, directed by Oscar Himschoot. The author is called Ricardo Ostuni, the title is a whole program: Baronessa Eloisa D’Herbil de Silva, Sconocsiuta Autrice di Vecchi Tanghi nell’epoca di Musica Proibita 15. The baroness, who was born in Cuba in 1852 and arrived in Buenos Aires in 1860, is a woman of great culture, speaks several languages and especially composed very eclectic music. Among her pieces are music for children, religious compositions and numerous tangos including: Che!… no me Caloties, La Multa, Por la calle Arenales, all published before 1905. His lyricist is Nicolas Granada known playwright and politician, a prominent figure of the culture rioplatense the end of 1800.

The tango was not born in the brothel, as even the beds and sheets, but we can not deny that this step was a milestone in its history.
Writing this article I had great help from the book by the sociologist Daniel Vidart from Uruguay - El Tango y su mundo16-that in chapter two contests in a documented form the thesis of brothel birth of the tango, while admitting his passage through the brothel. The author is indignant with the intellectuals who write without going into the argument, some working-class suburbs were also the territory of criminals but he recommends to all: "Do not confuse the point. We must draw a deep line, a key border between the poor and the criminals. We still bear the repeated mistake of aristocrats, plutocrats and bureaucrats who confuse the humble city with the dirt, the popular with low-grade, the proletariat with the indecent "(p. 34)
Another help came from the book by Jose Sebastian Tallon: El Tango en sus etapas de mùsica prohibida17, which, although contrasts in many ways with Daniel Vidart, surrender the idea of the existence of two tangos: one played in the brothels and one made in the homes of the people "(p. 34).

I started with a sentence by Wimpi that warns us of the emptiness that remains when one explains the mysteries of the world. Only the novelists are allowed to tell the world without needing to explain or documents. Perhaps many of you have read the stories of J.L. Borges set in the streets of Buenos Aires, but for those who know Spanish, I recommend two other authors: Gonzales Tuñon – Tangos18– and Manuel Alvarez – Historia del Arraba19l. Maybe the two of them with our imagination can fill the void of intellectual wandering.

Why not the next time we talk about the tango and the six strings? Do not forget mate.

14 Hugo Lamas, Enrique Binda, El tango en la socidad Porteña (1880-1920) Hector Lorenzo Lucci Ediciones, Buenos Aires 1998
15 Ricardo A. Ostuni. Baronesa Eloisa D’Herbil de Silva Desconocida Autora de Viejos Tangos en la Epoca de Mùsica Prohibida. Club de Tango. N° 1 Buenos Aires sttembre ottobre 1992
16 Daniel Vidart, El Tango y su mundo. Ediciones Tauro. Montevideo. 1967
17 Josè Sebastian Tallòn, El Tango en sus etapas de mùsica prohibida. Instituto Amigos del libro Argentino. Bos Aires 1964 (prima edizione 07/01/1959)
18 Enrique Gonzàlez Tuñon, Tangos. M. Gleizer Editor. Bs. As. 1926
19 Manuel Gàlvez, Historia del Arrabal. Agencia General de Libreria y Publicaciones. Bs.As. 1922
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