Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Carlos Gardel!

Five years ago I was about to go to Tahiti with a friend for vacation. So, when she had to cancel I was really disappointed at first, but then I realized this was a perfect opportunity to finally go to Buenos Aires (Bs As). I'd been a tango admirer for years--never having the nerve to try it, but watching with fascination from afar. Before I left a friend said "Ah, you're so lucky--you'll get to hear Carlos Gardel!" I told her I'd never heard of him, but that I'd try to catch one of his concerts. Little did I know that was impossible given that Gardel died in a plane crash in the 1935. I came to learn that Gardel was the Sinatra of Tango (although Argentinians would probably say 'Ol Blue Eyes was the Gardel of Pop).

Once I landed in Bs As I was amazed at Gardel's omnipresence not just in milongas, but throughout the city. This was unlike anything I'd experienced since living in Prague where I heard Dvorak not just in concerts, but every day in cafes and through the thin walls my brother & I shared with our neighbor. But that's what great musicians like Gardel, Sinatra and Dvorak do, right?...they express the joy and pain of our lives so truthfully that we surround ourselves with their sounds.

The exact year Gardel was born is something of a mystery--it was in the late 1800s. But we do know that today is his birthday. And, so on this great day, I'm launching this little Confessions tango blog. Why? It's in appreciation of all that Gardel did for tango, for the great Argentinian people and for all of us interlopers around the world that have connected to tango and Argentina through his bittersweet songs and incredible voice. Five years later I still haven't journeyed to Tahiti, but I have discovered this exotic land called tango where "Gardel sings better every day."

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