Carlos Gardel arrived in Buenos
Aires at the age of two. As a young man he became known in the clubs
and cafés of the barrios (districts) in Buenos Aires, establishing
a famous folk singing duo with José Razzano. But it was in the 1920s,
when he began to specialise in tango singing, that he rose to extraordinary
Known as El Zorzal Criollo, the songbird of Buenos Aires, Carlos Gardel
is a legendary figure in Argentina. The charismatic French-born singer's
career coincided with the development of that intrinsically Argentine cultural
icon, the tango (the vulgar music and dance of Buenos Aires' tenements).
Gardel made the music his own by inventing the tango-song, and was an instant
popular hit in Latin American countries. The elite overcame their aversion
to the tango's humble origins and open sensuality only when the man and
his music were already widely accepted in New York and Paris. Radio performances
and a film career extended this appeal.
Gardel's sky-rocketing career was cut short in 1935, when he lost his
life in a plane crash in Colombia. An orgy of grief swept from New York
to Puerto Rico, and a woman in Havana suicided. Hordes of people thronged
to pay their respects as the singer's body made the journey to its final
resting place in a Buenos Aires cemetery, travelling via Colombia, New
York and Rio de Janeiro. Instantly immortal and preserved forever young,
his enduring fame is measured by the oft-heard Argentine expression 'Gardel
sings better every day'. Sixty years after his death, a devoted following
keeps the legend blazing, playing Gardel's music daily, placing a lit cigarette
in the hand of the life-sized statue which graces his tomb and keeping
his few films in circulation.
Songs and Videos.
Click on the links to see his streaming videos.