Orquesta tipica Victor

The Orquesta Típica Victor was created in 1925 by the record company Victor to promote their own label. It was directed by Adolfo Carabelli from 1925 to 1936 and left a great number of recordings still known today for their quality and excellence of interpretation.

As a label orchestra, OTV never performed in public. Each recording sessions brought together a selection of musicians and signers afiliated to the record company, many of which were part of other major orchestra we know today. Pedro Laurenz, Elvino Vardaro and Anibla Troilo among many others recorded with OTV. 

The orchestra was directed by bandoneonista Federico Scorticati from 1936 to 1943 and by  Mario Maurano from 1943 to  1944.

The last recording by OTV was a waltz entitled “Sobre las olas”, recorded in 1944. Tango orchestras were so numerous in Buenos Aires in the mid 40’s there was no need to promote tango at all anymore. 

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OTV is one of many orchestras assembled by Victor label for promotional purpose. The others are: La Orquesta Victor Popular, La Orquesta Típica los Provincianos, La Orquesta Radio Victor Argentina, La Orquesta Argentina Victor, la Orquesta Victor Internacional the Cuarteto Victor and the Trio Victor.

According to most sources they made 444 recordings.


Pinson, Nestor. “Orquesta Tipica Victor”. Todotango. Web.

Benedetti, Hector Angel. Adolfo Carabelli. Todotango. Web. Sept 2016.

Palacio, Jorge.  “Mario Maurano”. Todotango. Web. Aug 2016.




The bandoneon is a type of concertina mostly used in Argentine tango and Lituanien folk music. It was created in Germany around 1845 as an alternative to the organ for religious service.

It is not clear exactly when the bandoneon arrived in Argentina. The first documented mention of a bandoneon being played in the Rio de la Plata is from a newspaper article by Jorge Labraña from 1895. According to this article the instrument was brought to Uruguay by a Suiss immigrant in 1863. Other sources say it was imported by an Englishman, Don Tomas, who came to Argentina in 1884. [1]

One of the first musician to incorporate the bandoneon into tango is the composer Domingo Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz created the variation and contributed to introduce tango in the city with his performances in La Boca and Barracas around 1905.

Later came the first tipicas with bandeonistas in the 1910’s, such as those of Vicente Greco and Juan Maglio who recorded the first bandoneon solo. Other bandoneonistas of that generation include Genaro Esposito, Vicente Loduca and Eduardo Arolas.


The bandoneon progressively replaces the flute in early tango bands. It brings deeper tones and a slower pace of execution, contributing to define the sound of tango music. [2].

It is not clear who fist invented the bandoneon but some investigations attributes it to Carl Zimmermann who sold his fabrica to Ernest Louis Arnold, manufacturer of ELA bandoneons, and fsther of Alfredo Arnold who later produced the bandoneon “doble A”. Both are still being used in Argentina. [1]

With original fabrics now closed for 70 year, a few artesanal bandoneons were built to meet current needs but the process is complexe and vintage instruments are becoming expensive and rare. [4] The first bandoneon made in Argentina was released in 200. The bandoneon A-Z was built by Argentine luthier Angel Zullo and presented to the public the day tango was declared patrimonio de la humanidad. [5] It is said that bandoneons were built to last 200 years. ENIGMA TANGO


[1] Zucchi, Oscar. El tango, el bandoneón y sus interpretes. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1998. Print.

[2] Pesce, Ruben, Oscar del Priore, and Silvestre Byron. La Historia del Tango: La Guardia Vieja. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1977. Print.

[3] “Bandoneón” Wikipedia.  Web (spanish). Aug 2016.

[4] “Salvar el bandoneón”. La Nación. Web. June 26, 2009.

[5] “Empezó a sonar el primer bandoneón nacional” La Nación. Web. Oct 3, 2009.


Evaristo Carriego

Evaristo Carriego was a poet, born in the province of Entrerios in 1883. [1] His family moved to Palermo when he was 4-years-old and he lived there for the rest of his life. His poems are a description of everyday life in what was then a suburb inhabited by compadritos. Though he was never a man of tango, his poetry explores many of the topics that would later be typical of that genre. He is now one of those mythical characters associated to the origins of tango.


Carriego is the author of “Misas herejes” (1908), the only work publish during his lifetetime. “El alma del suburbio” and “La canción del barrio” were published after his death, which occurred in 1912 when he was only 29 years old. He is best known today for the work of Jorge Luis Borges, who published a book in 1955 about him and about his own experience of growing up in Palermo. [1] Borges knew Carriego personally in his youth as a neighbor and a friend of the family. [5]

The house where Carriego lived at Honduras 3784 was built in 1890. It was bought by the city of Buenos Aires in 1977 to create a museum and library. La bibliotheca Evaristo Carriego was opened to the public in 1981 and became home to over 5 500 documents in print and electronic formats including various collections of poetry. [2] It closed in 2013 for renovations [4] and remains closed to this day.

Other tributes to Carriego include a piece by Astor Piazzolla entitled “Milonga Carrieguera” and a tango by Eduardo Ravira, “A Evaristo Carriego”, recorded by Pugliese in 1969. [3] There is a street in Palermo named after him.


[1] Borges, Jorge Luis. Evaristo Carriego. Buenos Aires. Emece, 1989. Print.

[2] Biblioteca Evaristo Carriego.

[3] A Evaristo Carriego 

[4] Ordenan reconstruir la casa donde vivio Evaristo Carriego. La Nacion, March 27, 2014.

[5] Borges, Jorge Luis. El tango: cuatro conferencias. Buenos Aires. Sudamericana, 2016. Print.



Lunfardo is a form of popular language or slang characteristic of the Rio de la Plata. It appeared during the second half of the 19th century as a result of massive immigration, mostly from Italy. Originally referred to as the “dialect of the thieves”, it became common in the outskirts of the city where tango was emerging and continued gaining exposure as the city expended and tango music became more popular. Lunfardo expressions are common in early tango lyrics such as those of Angel Villoldo, Pascual Contursi and Celedonio Esteban Flores.

During the golden age of tango the use of lunfardo  was banned on radio in Argentina. [4]Some tango lyrics were rewritten at that time to avoid the prohibition and new lyrics were written in proper Spanish. However, lunfardo had become a symbol of national identity and it reemerged later in Argentine rock songs and in the tangos of Horacio Ferrer in the 1960’s.  [1]

Today, lunfardo expressions are common in everyday language in Buenos Aires. They’re also present in the interior of Argentina, Uruguay and other regions of South America.

The Academia Portena del Lunfardo was funded in 1962 to document the history and evolution of lunfardo.  [4] The 1984 edition of Diccionario de la langua espanola  of the Royal Spanish Academy includes a definition of lunfardo. [3]

Lunfardo is not a language in itself. It’s an argot composed of words and expressions which are not found in Spanish dictionaries and/or are used in a way that was originally meant to be unintelligible. Lunfardo is a voluntary transgression of the official language. [2]


[1] Gobello, Jose, and Marcelo H. Oliveri. Tangueces y lunfardismos del rock argentino. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2001. Print.

[2] Entrevista a Jose Gobell0. Revista El Abasto.  n .68, Aug 2005. Web. Sept 2016.

[3] RODRIGUEZ, Adolfo Enrique. “Diccionario lunfardo: introcucción” todotango.com. Web. Sept 2016.

[4] Fraga, Enrique. La prohibicion del lunfardo en la radiodifusion argentina 1933-1953. Buenos Aires: Lajouane, 2006.


Tangomania in New York

Tangomania made it’s way to New York in 1914. It came from Paris and London where tango had become ultra-fashionable with high society around 1913.

Though there is evidence that tango was presented in the US before that, the impact of it was minimal. [3] Authentic argentine artists were not successful in New York like they were in Paris. The presence of los Gobbis who came around 1909-1910 to record tango is poorly documented. El Cachafaz was invited to perform in the US in 1911 but there is no evidence that his presence made a strong impression and he went back to Argentina. [1]

The first sign of popular interest in tango with the presentation of an British musical on Broadway . “The Sunshine Girl” had been a huge success in London the previous year. [2] The American version featured Vernon and Irene Castle, a couple of American ballroom dancers who became the reference on tango dancing in the US. [4]

By 1914 tango dancing was a huge phenomenon in New York. People gathered to dance at “Tango teas” like they did in London. [5] These events were held in restaurants and hotels and did not fail to spark controversy in serious newspapers such as The Sun and The New York Times. It’s in one of these establishments that Rudolp Valentino worked as a taxi dancer before making his way to Hollywood.

Tangomania came to an end in New York around 1918. Tango remained present in American culture, though in a highly stylized form trough the work of Rudolph Valentino and Arthur Murray. Authentic tango dance and music never attracted much attention in North America until Claudio Segovia’s musical Tango Argentino came to Broadway in 1985. ENIGMA TANGO




[1] “El Cachafaz en Estados Unidos” Todotango. Web. Sept 2016.

[2] “The Sunshine Girl.” Wikipedia. Web. Sept 2016.

[3] Groppa, Carlos G. The tango in the United States. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, 2004. Print.

[4] Castle, Vernon, and Irene Castle. “Teaching argentine tango in New York, 1914.” Todotango. Web. Aug 2016.

[5] Holland, Evangeline. “Tango Teas and tangocitis”. Edwardian Promenade. Web. Aug 2916.


Juan Maglio

Juan Felix Maglio “Pacho” was a popular musician, director and composer of the guardia vieja. He was among the first tangueros to adopt the bandoneon along with Eduardo Arolas, Vicente Greco and Arturo Bernstein. He contributed to popularize tango in Buenos Aires cafes in the 1910’s and his records were a huge success in 1912. He recorded almost 900 tracks [1] and composed many titles still present today in the tango repertoire.

Born in Palermo in 1880, Juan Maglio first came in contact with the bandoneon while watching his father play at home. He himself began to play after work and decided to make a living of it when he was 18-years-old.  [1] He studied with Domingo Santa Cruz [3]and began to play at the cafe “El Vasco’ en Barracas in 1899. In the following years he played in many other cafes in the neighborhoods of San Telmo and Palermo.

By 1910 Pacho was well known in the city. With his cuarteto he began to play at the famous cafe “La Paloma” and other cafes along Avenida Corrientes. He began recording with Columbia and his records were so popular that a special label was created with his picture and signature on it. People would casually refer to his discs as “un Pacho”.  [2] The other members of his cuarteto at that time were Luciano Rios (guitar), Carlos “Hernani” Macchi (flute) and Jose “Pepino” Bonano (violin). His first compositions appeared around that time with “El zurdo” followed shortly after by “Armenonville”.


With all his success Juan Maglio bought the cafe “Ambos mundos” where he used to play and invested in his recording company but he lost everything during the war. [2] He went on with his prolific career introducing tango to the high society along with Francisco Canaro and Roberto Firpo. He performed in carnivals, theaters and on the radio. [2] In the 1920’s he created a sexteto where 15 year old Anibal Troilo made his debut. He also founded a trio of bandoneon with Jose and Luis Servidio. [1] Some of his work was signed with the pseudonym Oglima.

Pacho died at 54 year-old on July 14, 1934.


[1] SELLES, Roberto; Nestor Pinson. “Juan Maglio Pacho” Todotango.com. Web. Aug 2016.

[2] Pesce, Ruben, Oscar del Priore, and Silvestre Byron. La historia del tango: La guardia vieja. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1977. Print.

[3] GOBELLO, Jose. Mujeres y hombres que hicieron el tango. Buenos Aires: Centro editor de Cultura Argentina, 2002.


Ángel Villoldo

Ángel Gregorio Villoldo Arroyo was a musician, signer and composer of the guardia vieja, considered as the father of tango. He contributed to popularize tango in Buenos Aires cafes in the 1900’s. He is said to be among the first to bring tango to Europe along with Alfredo and Flora Gobbi and he is the composer of “El Choclo”.


Villodo was born in Buenos Aires in 1868 in the neighborhood of Barracas. In his youth he worked at many different jobs and learned to play the guitar and harmonica on his spare time.  He first became known as a payador in cafes and restaurants of Buenos Aires around 1900. Villoldo is also the most important lyricist of the guardia vieja. His lyrics are very distinct from the tango canción later popularized by Contursi and Gardel. They describe the life of compadres and cuchilleros and are an important testimonial of ordinary life in the outskirts of the city at the beginning of the century [2].

Villoldo composed over 70 tangos, the first of which was “El Portenito”, followed shortly after by “El Choclo” (1903). He also wrote lyrics for “La Morocha” and “El Entreriano.” His texts were interpreted by himself or other signers such as Dora Miramar, Linda Thelma, Flora Rodriguez, Lea Conti and Pepita Avellaneda.

It is often said that Villoldo went to Paris to record tangos for Gath y Chaves, opening the way to the popularization of tango in Europe. Though according to Benedetti these records were never seen and there is no evidence that Viollodo did travel to Paris. [3]

Back in Buenos Aires, Villoldo played in cafes near the corner of Suarez and Necochea in the neighbourhood of la Boca where an increasing number of tango musicians such as Vicente Greco, Francisco Canaro and Roberto Firpo were also performing in 1908. [2]

In 1889 he published a compilation of Argentine folk song  and in 1916 another compilation of popular Argentinean songs. [1] Villoldo died in Buenos Aires in 1919.


[1] Pinsón, Néstor. “Biographía de Ángel Villoldo.” Todotango.com. Web. Aug 2016.

[2] Pesce ,Ruben, Oscar del Priore, and Silvestre Byron. La historia del tango: La guardia vieja. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1977. Print.

[3] Benedetti, Hector Angel. “La tienda Gath & Chavez tambien publicó discos.” Todotango.com. Web. Aug 2016.