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The blessed woman who invented the quartet, who is venerated by all Cordoba and should even be beatified. It bears the title of mother of Cordoba, because she is the mother of the quartet and therefore becomes the mother of the village of Cordoba. It is the origin of swing, caravanera idiosyncrasy, Tunga tunga that runs in our veins. Leonor Marzano was a saint, but he chose Cordoba to create this musical genre that today constitutes our identity and musicalizes all our landscapes. It is the most grand character of the Tunga Tunga Cordoba.
Born on October 24, 1921, she was the only child of Augusto Marzano and Josefa Bonesso. It was a family that made a living on the railroad. When mother Josefa dies, father and daughter move to Cruz del Eje and later to Cordoba Capital, motivated by the musical passion of Don Augusto, who played flute and double bass in an orchestra called Los Bohemios. That's where that passion for music comes and that close relationship with the creativity of the do re mi.
Once in La Docta, Leonor wanted to study at the Conservatory of Carril. The piano was his chosen one. More than eight years of study , a teaching degree and a specialization in piano and music, gave him enough knowledge to experiment with some rhythms. Her safety and the imagination of a true artist made her create the tunga tunga that would infect an entire population.This rhythm arose from the mixture of the roots of the Spanish double pass and tarantela. At that time she was just a teenager, but her invention would mark the history of a province forever. And why not, from one country. It was during the 30s, in that Cordoba of Italian and Spanish immigrants, that made the tunga tunga indispensable.
His father, Augustus, with a refined ear, saw a unique feature in that style that Leonor had created. He was cheerful, catchy and, above all, danceable. But she didn't belong to any gang anymore , and she didn't work on the railroad because she didn't want to leave Leonor for so long alone. The funny thing is that Leonor didn't spend a second alone, musician Miguel Gelfo fell madly in love with her. Between innings, turns, chords and solos, they formed a family. Marta Gelfo was born of that love, and she remembers: “My grandfather had a Ford 38 and took it to fix Humberto Primo and Jujuy. One day he takes the car to test, and the dressing room was my dad. While they were walking around, he told her that he was playing the accordion and invited him to participate in the orchestra, there he met her mommy.”
The sensational Leo Quartet debuted in 1943, in the LV3 radio auditorium . It was the first time they played in public and everyone was amazed. A 22-year-old woman played the piano and jumped her fingers on the keys like nobody else. The word of mouth of this success began to run in the villages of the area. Everyone wanted to meet “the lady who played the piano” , who occupied a predominant place on stage: transversely, never with his back, so that the audience could see his hands move. “ She took three bags of hot water, one for the belly, one for the back and one for the feet, they went in groups without glasses, they died of cold. But my mom loved touring, she did it with a love,” says her daughter.
The pioneer of the quartet didn't give up her piano even when she was pregnant. In 1947, Marta came to the family and, three years later, Edward. Leonor continued playing even a month before his children were born. His place was then temporarily occupied by pianist Cesar Malé.
At the time of the band's greatest success, the couple worked from Monday to Monday, so the boys were in charge of a neighbor, until at age 14 Marta took over the house and her brother. They would come from the dances, sleep two or three hours and go on a trip again . “ She always had a big smile , despite the sacrifices she made to be away from home. She was always sweet with us,” she recalls.
The musical career of the first quarteteapot in the world was extensive. After 25 years of touring, it would come to an end with the arrival of the grandson. “ The day Martin was born, we were all at home and she told us, “ I'm going to stop playing, from now on I want to dedicate myself to my grandson” , explains Marta about the birth in 1969 of her son with Carlitos Rolán (one of the most outstanding singers of the ensemble), first grandson of Miguel and Leonor.
However, Cordoba's mother never left the quartet, whom she considered as another son. From her home, she continued to compose songs with her husband and son-in-law. They spent hours and hours sitting next to the piano. “ My dad whistled at her, and she, who had music theory on her, wrote,” she recalls.
Once he moved away from the stages, his soul fell asleep a little. The dances were in his memory, his companion Augustus passed away and the talented Leonor fell into the habit of smoking and watching TV. The quartet ran through his veins, but it was no longer the same. I had no one to dance it with. On January 12 , 1993, Leonor Marzano left this world to become a legend. His legacy continues in the blood of every quarteter, every dance in every somersault.
Thank you, Mom Leonor!
Publication Date: 31/10/2020
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