Escuela de Tango Danza "DISCEPOLIN"

by Sergio Pujol



Poet, composer, actor and theatrical author
(March 27/1901-December 23/1951)
Family name: Enrique Santos Discépolo



Some years ago, in their test Them assassins of the mémoire - a sharp study about the Neo-Nazi revisionism in contemporary Europe -, the French writer Pierre Vidal-Naquet it reproduced the letter of "Swap", Enrique's tango emblemático Santos Discépolo. A disheveled appointment? Maybe a feature of an intellectual's exotismo in oxygen search outside of the environment of the European culture? According to the author, Discépolo he/she would admit it he/she fell in their hands through some Latin American friends. And he decided to include it in a book that anything had to do with the tango. He found the image of the swap like scenario of the insolent chance, of the confusion of values and the desacralización the most appropriate to seal their accusation text.

It was not that the first time that the work of Discépolo woke up interest in the field of the thought. Spanish Camilo José Guards the it included between his popular favorite poets and Ernesto Sábato he has not doubted to be identified with the pessimistic philosophy of who knew how to write in "That vachaché": "The true love drowned in the soup." Many years before these recoveries, the poets Giving lunfardos Linyera and Carlos of the Spike defined Discépolo like an author "with philosophy." Another scribe from Buenos Aires, Julián Centeya, when pointing out some of its films, spoke of "philosophy in currencies", at the same time that he/she took a risk an analogy - without a doubt limitless - among Discépolo and... Carlitos Chaplin.

Contrary to other popular creators that deployed their talent in an instinctive way and a so much naif, for then to be claimed by future exégetas, Discépolo was always aware of its contributions. It could even make sure that all its artistic production is articulated by common style, a certain air or spirit discepoliano that people recognize immediately, with affection and admiration, as if her work - more than once defined as "prophetic" - I/you/he/she expressed the sense common of the Argentineans. The singularity of Discépolo continues disturbing, so much inside as outside of the universe of the tango. While most of their contemporary today sounds stranger for the new generations, the man that wrote and it composed "Swap" it persists, it is effective. Or to say it with one of their favorite images: it continues biting.

Enrique was formed seeing theater of his brother's hand Armando, the Rio Plata great playwright of the grotesque one, and soon after it was attracted by the popular arts. It arrived to the tango after having proven, with disparate luck, the theatrical responsibility and the performance. In 1917, it debuted as actor, beside Roberto Casaux, a comic boss of the time, and one year later signed next to a friend the piece The goblins, not well tried by the critic. Then he/she lifted the aim with The gentleman it cures (adaptation of a story of Maupassant), Traded Day, The alone man, Pass it end and, mainly, The organ, social ferocious painting sketched next to his brother, when averaging the years 20. As actor, Discépolo it evolved from procession to allotment name, and he/she would remember with enthusiasm their work in Mustafá, among many other premieres.

Although the worlds of the theater and the tango were not divorced in Argentina of Yrigoyen and Gardel, the decision of Discépolo of transforming into an author of popular songs was resisted by the biggest brother - Armando charge of Enrique's education had been taken after the early death of the parents -, and it cannot be said that the things have been him/her easy to the weakling and shy Discepolín. A tibia influences relative (Saint, the father, was a Neapolitan outstanding musician settled down in Buenos Aires) it can have been a first sign toward the combined art of the sound organization and the letrística, but the revelation was not immediate. On the contrary, so much the insipid "Cake", their first composition made to the playwright's order Saldías, as the notable and revulsivo "That vachaché", published by Julio Korn in 1926 and used for the first time in a theater of low Montevideo a rain of whistles, they were a wrong beginning, or at least that was believed in Buenos Aires that it acclaimed Manuel's tangos Romero, Celedonio Flores and Pascual Contursi.

The obstinate author's luck changed in 1928, when the songwriter Lily Maizani sang in a theater of magazines "tonight I get drunk", a tango of edges horacianos (by Horacio of the Odes) and topic highly Rio Plata: that old cabaretera that the time tried with ungodliness. Days after the premiere, the verses of that tango circulated for the whole country. The Argentinean musicians of tour for Europe included it in their repertoires, and in XIII Alfonso's Spain the composition enjoyed great popularity. Discépolo of the tango had been born. That same year, the actress and singing Tita Merello recaptured the ones insulted "That vachaché" and it put it to the "tonight height I get drunk." Finally, 1928 would be the year of the love for an intellectual loaded with insecurities. Tania, a Spanish variety singer resided in Buenos Aires that it would be revealed like a very appropriate interpreter of her tangos, would accompany Discépolo the rest of her life.

In a time in the one that the responsibility and the composition were clearly differed in the mark of the cultural industries, Discépolo wrote letter and music, although this last era imagined with hardly two fingers on the piano, for then to be taken to the staff by some musician friend (generally Lalo Scalise). This double capacity allowed Discépolo to work each tango like a perfect unit of letter and music. With an exruciating sense of the rhythm and of the dramatic progression, with a melodic impeccable (Carlos of the Spike defined it as a Philharmonic" "Thumb) pleasure, Discépolo managed them to make of its brief and many times you force histories a Rio Plata authentic human comedy. He/she abandoned great part of the modernist influence that made havocs in other letristas (Rubén Darío was the literary hero of hundred of Argentinean poets, during many years) and he/she translated to the smallest format in the song certain dominant ideas of the time: the grotesque one theatrical, the idealism crociano, the extrañamiento pirandelliano...

The proliferation of ideas in each letter found in the cunning humor and in the music's lyricism a certain one balances, a sensorial compensation, a way of "saying things" in and through the tango. No other author would arrive so far.

Certainly, the fact that Carlos Gardel almost recorded all its first tangos he/she helped in great measure to the diffusion and legitimation of Discépolo like author and composer of a gender full with authors and composers. In that sense, the version gardeliana of October 10 1930 of "Yira... yira..." it figures among the Argentinean music's big moments. The intensity of the recording, in which there were not theatrical special resources and the singer avoided all unnecessary emphasis, you/he/she is given by the immediacy of the expression gardeliana. There are not instrumental preambles that familiarize to the listener with the material, beyond a tight introduction of the guitarists that you/they expose the refrain with the shakes and fraseos of typical bordonas of the accompaniments of the time. The melodic line, with deceiving simplicity enters suddenly, with a force that excludes the complaint.

"Yira... yira..." it was listened and interpreted as an accusation loaded with scepticism. The militant ridiculed in "Que vachaché" returns to the load, but this time supported by a material deep crisis. Now, the "engrupido" that refused to believe that "the true love drowned in the soup" occupies the place of the cynic voice. The principles have been exchanged by the reality. It is the victory of the bad reputation, but already without the cynicism - and much less the grotesque one - of some years before. The character of "Yira... yira..." it trusted the world, and this it defrauded it. As in other tangos of Discépolo, the letter counts a "fall", a wicked dawn: there is no longer space for the deceit and the imposture. (From this perspective, they are not completely mistaken who they have seen in Discépolo to a moralist disappointed by the modernity, although perhaps it is much more than that).

The line that begins with "Que vachaché" and it matures in "Yira... yira..." you continues in the tangos "That sapa Mister" and, in 1935, "Swap" But it is not this the only "style" of the art compositivo of Discépolo. This knew how to be romantic in the waltz youth" "Dream, mocking in "comic" tangos as "Fair the 31" and "Chorra", expressionist in I am "a harlequin" and "Who more, who less", pasional in "Confession" and desperate" "Song and a nostalgic and elegiac point in "One" and "Cafetín of Buenos Aires", both creations written jointly with Mariano Live. It was not as fruitful as Enrique Cadícamo, and a considerable part of its creations lacks interest. It is certain that the musical variety of Discépolo had to do with its theatrical and film restlessness. Their setting of "Wunder Bar" and their good known movies - "Four hearts", "In the light of a star" - they gave to know songs - some almost forgotten - that the director and actor wrote with his "programmatic" sense.

Enrique Santos Discépolo was born in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of the Eleven, March of 1901, 27 and he/she died December of 1951, 23 in the central department that shared with Tania. Their commitment with the peronismo, public fact through its brief and fulminating participation in a discussed radio program, distanced it of several of its old friends. Two years after their death, when the political trenches no longer needed it but several of their tangos they continued hitting in the collective conscience, Discépolo was remembered by the writer Nicolás Olivari in a memorable note. There Olivari assured that the author of "Yira... yira..." it had been the fastener of the Buenos Aires humorism, greased by the anguish. In certain way, that era a definition discepoliana.

Sergio A. Pujol is a historian and critical musical. Among other books, "Discépolo published. An Argentinean (Emecé, 1997)" biography.

Source: Todo Tango