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“Gardel performs the song of the village”

“Carlitos was the first victim of censorship in Argentina,” says historian Ema Cibotti, in a renewed look of the Zorzal and his beloved Buenos Aires

Carlos Gardel

“The huge Caesar Time noted that Gardel recognized in  Max Glücksmann, Carlitos' great mentor, who had been his Columbus and Garay. First because he discovers it, and then because he allowed him to be Buenos Aires.  There you have a person with an incredible culture and humility, who knew how to interpret himself, something not easy, and knew how to define himself before anyone else,” says the social historian of Tango Ema Cibotti, former head of history at the University of Tango -CETBA- and expands,Here is another characteristic of the porteños from the time of the Mudo. They knew very well who they were, cosmopolitan and liberal, despite what the nationalists and revisionists thought, and the question about the national being they then did perpetuates and harmful.  And, the Porteños, we are still that society of liberal customs that bothers dogmatics. Gardel is the dilect son of being Buenos Aires,”  concludes who represented us in the homages in Colombia to Morocho del Abasto, via zoom talks, in the recognitions for the 130 years of birth.

“The great conflict with Gardel, and the world of culture in general, martinfierista literature and, also, that of Boedo, is that they feel stripped of saying. Gardel first the word spoken with feeling, the first word really Creole, to the Borges and Manzi. The Magician understands how to sing tango by discovering how we speak, and teaches the world our language from 1917. Tango is a way of speaking, from Buenos Aires, and some thought they were their guardians under seven keys,” says the author of books about historical dissemination and, in addition, citizen rights activist, and says, “ Carlitos was the first victim of censorship in Argentina.” 

Journalist: Can you compare the overbounds of the funeral in Gardel and Maradona?

Ema Cibotti: We must separate the many and not use President Justo to hit President Fernández, and vice versa. First of all, the Justo government did not pay an official tribute. It was civil society that did funeral honors with total state absence.  Natalio Botana's son recounts in his book that there was a pact between his father, the owner of the newspaper “Crítica”, and President Justo to divert attention from the political earthquake following the assassination in the Senate of the Nation of Enzo Bordabehere.  Bravely this Santa Fe covered Lisandro de la Torre with his body, who was denouncing the government negotiates.  That happened a few weeks after Gardel's death, and his decided from the high spheres to manipulate popular sentiment to conceal acts of corruption .

Q. Who was Gardel for the people who was going to fire him?

EC: A guy like them, winner, but never renegade his origins. Gardel was walking the streets whistling. If people couldn't buy the ticket, Carlitos would go out to sing to the sidewalk. Gardel was a great walker in the City, he liked smells, colors, shades. In a report to the Sofovich's father Manuel, the singer confesses that he likes to kick aimlessly and that he was not afraid of being recognized.  More than once he was “peeled” because he bought things from the needy who boarded him on the street. 

Q: And why does the State decide not to take over?

EC: Because Gardel was an awkward figure. And, in space, for the Church in the perspective of Monsignor Gustavo Franceschi. This prelate from “Criterion”, a very influential magazine, attacked the Zorzal and the whole Tango, something I analyze in “ Mourning in the Guardia Nueva. When Buenos Aires cried to Gardel”  (Return of Page) One of his most famous phrases was that “in six months no one will remember Gardel” And in this is accompanied by the Argentine government because after the 1930 coup, Church and State are only one thing.

Let us think that two years earlier the Church and the State, with Franceschi's leadership in managing the media, had gathered the greatest concentration in national history with the Eucharistic Congress. For the conservative sectors it was a demonstration that liberal Buenos Aires, and somehow anticlerical, had died. However, that Buenos Aires was still alive in the hands, and the voices, who received the courtship from Puerto to Luna Park in February 1936.

Q: Why Luna Park?

EC: A month before it had been the framework of a massive assembly, which closed a stoppage for many months of construction workers.  It was the symbolic and physical space of the City for major popular events.  When Franceschi approaches the funeral march he cannot believe the number of humble workers with notorious union affiliations. We also have an Argentine society different from the other Latinas, which was refounded with the immigrant contribution, overlapping the traditional Latin American caste society, and which had horizontal characteristics: from 1810 elections were held that determine that in the Buenos Aires campaign of 1820 vote even the illiterate. Of course he was male, and not being secret allowed the manipulation of elites, but there are several suffragist antecedents of the Saenz Peña Law of 1912.

So  early we were a  mass society  . Three years before Gardel's funeral we had the mass of the former president Yrigoyen, with public employees marching behind the float leaving the offices empty. Even the funeral of the former president Mitre was massive in 1906.  But here it was different, Gardel was an idol from the bottom, emerged in the hamlet, enough to put the hairs at the end of the clergy and politicians. 

 Back, feel, feverish the gaze 

Q: How do you explain so much affection with a Gardel that since 1933 he hardly lived in the country?

EC: But his films were coming. Besides Gardel left to come back. Consider that by the time it was not too much when boat trips lasted for months. And his Buenos Aires friends were among us.  Gardel was a figure in the present tense. 

When he starts his tour, in something I tell in a  series of micros on my YouTube channel with the title “The enemies of Gardel” , he makes a complete note about the tour in Julio Korn's “The Modern Song”. There it is anticipated that  Morocho del Abasto returned to work on Argentine radio, on Radio Belgrano . Even Berta moved quietly to Toulouse as she did when her son left on a long tour. El Zorzal planned to return to Europe in the mid-35, see his French maternal family, and return to Buenos Aires. Such was the link that the singer had with Korn that, through the magazine, hundreds of photos dedicated to fans were sent. Gardel had a permanent contact with his audience, something very contemporary.

Q: Talk about the modernity of Gardel...

EC:... and of the time. There is a character who is Korn, unrecognized, the founder of “Radioland”, and who was an entrepreneur who understood the culture of modern spectacle very well.  Gardel's not alone. There are many with him who are very ahead of his time.  If Gardel had been able to realize his dream of studies in Argentina and Uruguay, another would be the evolution of our cinematographies. And the women, Azucena Maizani, her great friend, and Libertad Lamarque, are colleagues who understand perfect what was to be done. For something Libertad follows the Gardelian road and transforms into a continental star. The field was ploughed. Or César Amadori and Zully Moreno, who also continue Carlitos's footprint in the show. Faced with this Creole star system, worldwide and without visible rules, Franceschi is frightening and declares war.

Q. Did Gardel learn about these objections?

EC: No. But  one can see that it is the tip of the iceberg of self-censorship to Tango that would be strong towards the end of the thirties . The monsignor wrote a dozen editorials against Gardel, and Tango, which anticipate that climate “Criterion” was mandatory in Argentine intelligentsia, with a weekly circulation of 50,000 copies, and quite read on the left and right. Roberto Arlt and Homero Manzi, on one side, and Borges, Victoria Ocampo, Matías Sánchez Sorondo, on the other, could browse through it. It is very impressed because those denigratory and poisonous words are only restructured by the artistic world.  Again, Gardel's friends, Maizani and Lamarque, are the ones who make their face visible in front of the powerful Church.  

 Gardel and his enemies 

Q. With Franceschi, were there any other enemies of Morocho del Abasto?

EC: In the intimacy of Gardelian evolution is the secret that the singer sought, and created, his audiences.  He was always attentive to popular tastes, and if on tours he played in tropical countries, he sang rumbas.Or cuecas . The Gardel criticized was the Gardel without borders.  But he doesn't look at Europe, Carlitos looks at Latin America.  First it hurt the country and its songs , so there are so many anecdotes  Rosario and Mendoza but also Concepción del Uruguay and Bragado.  Gardel performs the song del pueblo, and tango was one more to which he was not willing to box.

And this populism of Carlitos, the magazine “Criterion”, which brings together a first chauvinist and exclusive nationalism, will be denodiously confronted. Gardel does not believe in borders, is universal, liberal,  cosmopolitan being essentially Buenos Aires at the same time.  When the Thrush dies, Armando Defino calls Berta to see where to bury Carlitos. And for her there is no doubt, Buenos Aires. In the midst of pain he says that was Gardel's manifest will.And then Defino starts a patient repatriation task despite the bureaucratic obstacles of the Argentine government. There was a time, at the end of July 1935, that Berta arrived in Buenos Aires and was upset because the return of the body was not yet resolved. She was already hurt by the loss of a brother in Toulouse. And, in despair, he threatens to live in Medellin, with the scandal that would have been for the national government. So he also had enemies among the officials of Justo's executive.

 In culture, in  Manzi  's criticism it is synthesized that nationalists could not forgive Gardel his cosmopolitan yearning . Our nationalism, of Catholic roots, is very provincial. They don't want to know anything about the world, let alone Latin America, the Patria Grande, and Latin American brother, was an invention of the left of the sixties. The revisionism of the thirties looked at the navel.

And they didn't have an external enemy for them, we didn't have France and Germany, so we had to look inside, Franceschi said. And in passing he painted one of the snake eggs of national history.  The first theory of the internal enemy is Monsignor Franseschi, call himself compadrito, guarango, gaucho, man of tango. And then it will be continuity with the Onganyate and the last dictatorship, the young, the militant, the different. 

Q: Ema, what are you excited about Gardel today?

EC: Its absolute integrity. How do you see him, he was. There are thousands of testimonies from his contemporaries. Mona Maris, José Razzano and many others pointed out in the media that he was a very generous man, excellent professional, who loved what he did and, above all, his mother Berta, Gardel's great love. And that he suffered a lot when he went on stage being the best Argentine singer of all time! He loved to walk in the cities and connect with joy with parishioners.He had his arrangements with the conservatives, the mafia and creole politics but nothing pollutes him. It is also surprising the testimonies of Mercedes Simone and Maizini where one observes that Gardel knows how to be friends with women in a sexist society. It would seem that it doesn't have folds. Gardel's integrity is a mirror to look at us every day.

Publication Date: 13/12/2020

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We suggest you continue reading the following notes:

On the day of his birth, 4 things you didn't know about Gardel
tiro-a-Gardel The day Gardel was shot



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