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“Gardel is the unbeatable of the song”

The history of tango in the memories of one of its biggest promoters, Silvio Soldán. A cut, a creek, and we go back to the track.

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Tanto argentino

Several generations of Argentines associate Tango with  Silvio Soldán . The more than twenty years of stay in “Grandes Valores del Tango” on Canal 9, or the recent “Aguante Tango” on Canal 26, show off the link of “gomía” -amigo- tanguero. Although he met several figures of Buenos Aires music when his name was already known in the media, the  impulse he gave to the talents of the genre from the  radio  in “Matinata”, and then on the television, transformed him into one of its greatest architects in the last fifty years . From his beginnings going to the city, and working as a waiter in the Cabildo and Richmond confectioneries, emblems of porteñidad, to the animation of Carliños and his Band, and the great leap to fame, the face of Alejandro Romay's Channel 9,  Soldán continues in the main festivals of the country spreading tanguera cradle that listened to gurí in the santafesina tranquility of Colonia Belgrano. 

Journalist: How is tango approaching?

Silvio Soldán: My first contact with tango is through radio in Santa Fe. And tango was the genre that was most heard. I always say that one of the secrets of the validity of “Great Valores del Tango” was that it had a huge audience and that allowed boys to know the genre. Today they have more channels with networks but little to do with Argentine music. Tango practically does not appear.

There in Colonia Belgrano starts my love for 2x4, listening to those shows live. Such is so that when I come to Buenos Aires, long before thinking about my career linked to shows, I was crazy about the dancers of the three head radios, Belgrano, Splendid and El Mundo. On weekends from 12 to 20 they had live orchestras, with people dancing, half an hour of jazzy, half an hour of typical.  It was inevitable that tango gets into my veins. 

Q: At that time what were the Typical Orchestras you admired?

SS: Oops, from that golden decade, Osvaldo Pugliese, Juan D` Arienzo, Héctor Varela and Aníbal Troilo, and others that are now less recognized as José Basso's. There were a lot of Tango, although I also liked jazzy ones. Such is so that on Saturday night dances was D`Arienzo and Barry Moral, Troilo and Adrián Casino, Varela and the White Boys. Like, the Typical was up there and it was what people were wearing, the others were a complement like the tropical and the characteristics.

Q: Was it milonaguear?

SS: A lot! As a teenager I did not stop going to the slopes and in Buenos Aires I didn't miss Pugliese and Alberto Morán. With “Passional” he went out to conquer girls, a romantic tango par excellence. Mariano Mores at the time I liked it but I was far away. Besides, he didn't do popular dances and had another audience, in theatres. Alfredo Gobbi was also another pretty admired by me. So imagine that when I had those freaks on television, and on the radio, it was hard to contain the excitement.

Q: And how does “Great Values of Tango” emerge?

SS: It was a program that Alejandro Romay was doing on Radio Libertad. He had Lidia Sanchez and Alberto Zabalza, some huge announcers as announcers. When he buys Canal 9 is the first thing he passes from radio to tv but not doing it, who had been the alma mater of such an event. When television goes the first animator was Hugo del Carril, who did not like it very much, and immediately started Juan Carlos Thorry. Some time later, Juan Carlos tired of the artistic environment, worked a lot in theatre, put together some mangoes and bought a hotel in Necochea. And he left the show. I was already working outdoors, so according to Romay, he was the ideal replacement.

When I first started, I was a little tied up because I had a great cast but it was a hot-bogged show. I didn't like it. Until one day Romay and Alfredo Gago, the eternal producer of the cycle, let me put my imprint. The idea was to make tango as popular as possible, highlight the big ones who were leaving, and make differences between what was good, regular and bad. Giving tango joy, with loose broadcasts, and no maphthalene Thank God I did well! At that time it also helped that the guests were really great values, those tangueros made history, today I don't know if it could be done...

Q: Why do you think you live in the memory of people who even didn't see it?

SS: It is a phenomenon that goes through generations as well as “Feliz Domingo” I from “Great Valores del Tango”, a cycle that ended 25 years ago, I drive the most relevant festivals in the country, La Falda, San Luis, Junín or Necochea.  People see me and recreate in my voice, and anecdotes, the best time of Tango. 

With “Feliz Domingo” something similar happens to me, and it is a source of work even today. Before the pandemic, he made six or seven presentations in the memory of the youth program. God enlightened me to be a part of these milestones in the media. Because I don't think there are many off-air programs that allow your drivers to perform events.

Q: On the radio with “Matinata” or “La Esquina de Soldán” also gave generous spaces to Tango, what differentiated it from television?

SS: I was never a  tango  historian and what I know is what I lived. What I was clear is a great diffuser of the genre. And dress it very well, that is to have impressive cast of collaborators in the microphone, Hugo Gambini, Florencio Escardo, Julián Centeya, Fioravanti, Roberto Gil, Cesar Tiempo, Hector Gagliardi, among several. So he brought together with a lot of audience the appeal of these talents from Argentine history, and Tango.

 Great Values of Tango 

Q: Who was Julian Centeya?

SS: A phenomenon.  People thought he was just a lunfarist and he was actually a big one of Argentine culture . I could talk about anything, geography, history, sports, with dazzling sapience. I remember that live asked him what he wanted to talk about and Julián after the “mirá, darling” dispatched himself with details, and essence, of the lesser-known stories of Buenos Aires. A sidewalk by sidewalk. He was a teacher who didn't give him the importance he had, even though he wasn't looking for applause either. He was a very bohemian guy.

Julian one day entered the newspaper “Crítica”, was not yet Centeya, and faced the editor-in-chief saying he was a journalist and needed to work. It was Julian, sat on the typewriter, and a minute later he handed over a paper with a line. Dead of laughter, the boss hired him after reading “sir, I'm hungry, can I get a voucher?”

I had a complicated character, but I couldn't complain because I was on schedule. His humor was convoluted like him, and if someone recognized him he refused for fear of the mangazo. Julian never had a coin, faithful to the bohemian who died.

Once we had to cover the Carnival of Gualeguaychú and I took Julian from co-equiper, if I loved (laughter) We arrived in Entre Ríos and had cancelled the reservation at the hotel you will know why. Then they take us to the only thing there was, a hotel accommodation, and Julian was laughing killing himself with the possibility that they could see us get out of there. That was his humor. He was once called from San Juan for a speech about Sarmiento and the full history of the region's heroes was sent in an hour. When he finished, he told him that he forgot to fulanito about such, why, screaming in the room Julian, “son of his mother, I make a hundred goals in an hour and you claim me a wrong penalty.”

Another: one afternoon he says serious, “I'm going to pick up my brother Homero Manzi's bones, and holding hands, I'm going to kick Corrientes Street to feel the Tango” And it disappeared a couple of days. And one more: he lived near the Ricardo Guitérrez Children's Hospital, Palermo, and justified why he was not based in the suburbs, “the neighborhoods are very nice to evoke them but not to live them” (laughter)  If he had been able to choose, Centeya would live in the tip of the Obelisk. 

Q. Who you had a long-friendship relationship with was Roberto Goyeneche, right?

SS: Polaco was going to see a lot in Caño 14, tanguero redoubt in San Telmo in the seventies and eighties, and it was a fixed one in my programs. Goyeneche always had problems with his voice and, I remember, finished acting sweaty, wet from head to toe. Then it was dried with a huge fan. I told him that was hurting his health, but he didn't do a lot of attention, he was a Centeya guy, a bohemian who lived on his rules.

Q: Who was Goyeneche?

SS: An out-of-series.  Goyeneche had the virtue of approaching the rockers . And he was one of the first to build bridges since Tango, just like Rubén Juárez. That road was so strong that any rocker currently carries among his belongings, among the instruments, a photo of Pugliese.  For Argentine musicians there is a tanguero saint, “San Pugliese”.  

This is a natural thing. Many of the first generation rockers also had family closely linked to tango, a bandoneonist brother, or a milonguero cousin.

Q: Gardelian year, Silvio, let's talk about Carlos Gardel...

SS:  Gardel is the unbeatable of the song. He invented Tango as we know it today.  My favorite singers are Floreal Ruiz and Goyeneche but Gardel looks at them all upstairs. Carlitos taught them how to sing. When I go to Festivals and see angry singers, something I care about young people, I advise you to be inspired by Gardel. Gardel never sang angry, or sad, even though he said “and his eyes closed” Always with a smile. There are many who are today famous singers who followed my advice because in general terms we don't have to be so angry with anything.

Q: What are your favorite Gardelian interpretations?

SS: Several compositions with Alfredo Le Pera and the Turig Tucci orchestra. Carlitos with guitars I like it but in another way. My Gardel is the melodious of “The day you want me” or “Back” is that Gardel was ahead of his time, and that justifies a lot of its validity.  I watch a film of the Thrush and I record it contemporary, in colors, and the rest of the cast, in black and white. Gardel is never old or old. 

 Tango for the future, tango to listen 

Q: Is Tango always coming back?

SS: I see that there are many girls and boys from academies who choose tango instruments and melodies to learn. You see some orchestras that look like rockers, with long hair, on t-shirts and slippers, and I think they make tango feeling rockers.

What is remarkable is what happens with D'Arienzo's legacy and it is something worthy of study. There are about ten orchestras that are detachments from the music of D'Arienzo, the Lords of Compás, or La D'Arienzo, some of the best known ones. From Pugliese there will be some, Troilo capable another, but with D'Arienzo there is a continuity linked, perhaps, to the speed that is so contemporary to modern music.

Q: A tango, Silvio

SS: How difficult! And two, or three, I don't even tell you. “Uno” is a jewel of Argentine art. “None” is another one that makes me crazy on the romantic line. Or “Passionate” or “The Last” in the “you are the last of my life”... it's a fantastic thing. Many of Mores, with whom I wrote “Sabor de farewell”, one of my greatest satisfactions of life.Another, already in another field, was writing for Sandro and Chico Navarro. With Sandro we made the success “When there is so much love”, which was the B side of “Rosa, Rosa” in the simple. And with Varela I composed “So did my grandparents dance” and we had a great success, as with  Hugo Marcel , with whom I wrote “Today I have seen her pass to Maria” But much is not remembered that part of me of composer, and that's what I won five song festivals.  Everyone can hum a song, but hardly anyone remembers who created it. 

Q: How to transmit Tango?

SS:  Young people have to approach them and explain it. No one can like anything without knowing.  Sometimes taxi drivers, or traders, confess to me that they hated me as boys because in their family they watched “Great Valores del Tango”, times of a single device, but they are now very grateful because they learned with me to want Tango.  In Palpalá, Jujuy, there is a square called “Silvio Soldán. Great Valores del Tango”, in recognition of my 50-year work in the endurance of Buenos Aires music, and that has been one of the best gifts that Tango gave me. 

Publication Date: 11/12/2020

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