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Di Sarli

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Di Sarli: ’50s Vocals with Pomar & Florio

Tormenta, singer Mario Pomar (1954)
Derrotado, singer Roberto Florio (1956)
Soñemos, singer Roberto Florio (1957)
Tenía que suceder, singer Mario Pomar (1955)

Drama, drama, drama: this tanda of late Di Sarli vocals has plenty of it. This is music for late at night, for a time when the dancers’ energy has ebbed and you want to create an emotional peak. Di Sarli’s 1950s sound is already very slow and legato, and with singers Roberto Florio and Mario Pomar, the orchestra sounds especially languid.
The words are just as dramatic as the arrangements suggest.
“Tormenta,” like many lyrics by Enrique Santos Discépolo, is a lament about the state of the world (“Show me a single flower that has bloomed while striving to follow you, Lord, so that I need not hate a world which shuns me because I will not learn to steal…“).
“Derrotado” is a classic tango lamenting the bitter end of a love affair. (“Though you toyed with my heart, I still can’t forget about you…)
In “Soñemos,” the lightest of the tanda, the singer implores his lover to dream of their impossible affair (“I know that it’s impossible to follow you and adore you, that it’s a sin to love you and to give you my heart. But it doesn’t matter, darling, we can dream tonight, though tomorrow we will weep when we awaken…”).
To finish out the tanda, I’ve chosen a lesser known tango, “Tenía que suceder.” In this enigmatic song, a man refuses to show his palms to a gypsy fortuneteller because he has a dark secret to hide. Click the link to read the full translation on my other site, Poesía de gotán.

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Di Sarli: Vocals with Jorge Durán

Tu íntimo secreto (1945)
Mañana no estarás (1946)
Que no sepan las estrellas (1945)
Tus labios me dirán (1945)

I am huge fan of Carlos Di Sarli—at one festival milonga I DJed, I played four different tandas of his music over six hours, more than any other orchestra. But I must admit…until recently, I wasn’t really a fan of his vocals with Jorge Durán. They seemed a bit too slow, and a bit overdramatic (especially compared to the recordings Di Sarli made with Alberto Podestá). Played too early in the evening, they might bring the energy down. But at the end of the night, they are perfect—they have a compelling, heartwrenching emotion that shines through even for those who don’t speak Spanish.

Di Sarli: 1950s Instrumentals

Viviani (1956)
Los 33 orientales (1955)
Una fija (1958)
Indio manso (1958)

The big, lush sound of these 1950s instrumentals by Di Sarli is absolutely magical. I know that many teachers in the U.S. use these an others for introductory classes on walking, because their tempo is moderate and their sound quality rich enough to get students hooked on tango music.
The only interesting tidbit I’ve got for you about the songs is the identity of the 33 “orientals” in the second song. Here oriental has nothing to do with East Asia; rather, it refers to the Banda Oriental (Eastern Shore) of a certain river…i.e., present-day Uruguay. The 33 orientales set sail from San Isidro to begin the fight for the independence of their province from the Empire of Brazil.
You may notice that this is the first tanda I have posted that includes music from the 1950s. Most of my tango tastes seem to be in the 1935-1945 range…so I really am a Golden Age music junkie!

Di Sarli: Vocals with Alberto Podestá

Nido gaucho (1942)
Vamos (1944) 
Lloran las campanas (1944)
La capilla blanca
(1944)

Ah, the great Alberto Podestá…I’ve already posted a tanda of him singing with Pedro Laurenz. Now here he is with Di Sarli, around the same time. These are obviously some of my all-time favorite tangos, as they were among the earliest I translated and posted to Poesía de gotán. The first and last feature lyrics by Hector Marcó, one of Di Sarli’s preferred collaborators. Besides the tangos in this tanda, Di Sarli and Marcó wrote many more classics together, which I will feature in future tandas.
This tanda is great for later in the evening, or any time the dancers seem to need slow, sweet music with a romantic feel—though to avoid monotony, I slipped in a dark horse: “Lloran las campanas.” It closes with a great classic hit, “La capilla blanca.”

Di Sarli: Vocals with Roberto Rufino

Griseta (1941)
Esta noche de luna (1943)
Tristeza marina (1943)
Verdemar (1943)

Roberto Rufino is one of Carlos Di Sarli‘s iconic vocalists of the 1940s. This tanda begins with the tragic “Griseta” and from there the romantic mood builds…and it seems to take on a “marine” theme. One my favorite lines in “Esta noche de luna” is “I am a star out at sea.” “Tristeza marina,” is about a sailor whose woman leaves him because he loves the sea more than her…and in “Verdemar” the title lady’s name means “Seagreen.”

Di Sarli: 1940s Instrumentals

Siete palabras (1945)
La cachila (1941)
La torcacita (1941)
Ensueños (1943)

Carlos Di Sarli is famous for being so demanding that his entire orchestra walked out on him—thrice. His recordings span thirty years, from his first Sextet in 1928 to the lush instrumentals of the late 1950s, and they display a variety of styles, from fast and rhythmic to slow, lush, and lyrical.
Choosing which tanda of Di Sarli to publish first was very difficult for me—I could have gone with those ’50s instrumentals, so familiar to many of us from our first tango walking classes, or perhaps picked vocals with Roberto Rufino, or Alberto Podestá, or even Jorge Durán (though personally, I don’t care as much for him).
I opted for this set of instrumentals to showcase the variety of sounds in Di Sarli’s palette. The tanda moves from more picado to more romantic, and makes a great bridge between the two styles of music. I’ve also played it backwards to move from romance to rhythm.