“Don Juan”, by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica (1936)
Nicknames: El Pibe Ernesto
Violinist and composer
(10 July 1885 – 21 October 1934)
By Juan Silbido
A porteño, born in that neighborhood called Tierra del Fuego (located between the demolished Penitentiary and La Recoleta). His father, Antonio Ponzio, like a good Neapolitan, was a musician. Playing harp he died of an aneurysm. All of a sudden he fell down on the stage during a recital. His wife was Uruguayan and her name was Casilda Casafú de Ponzio.
Because of his father’s death, Ernesto had to interrupt his violin studies at the Williams conservatory. His household, in need of resources, anticipated the beginning of his performances. Inns and bars were his first venues. After his playing he, resolute and joyously, paraded with a small saucer in his hand to collect the money that would help his poor family’s income.
We found out that the well-known tango “Don Juan (El taita del barrio)” was, apparently, written in 1898. We also know that its 2nd edition bears a lyric written by Ricardo J. Podestá. According to different authors it was premiered at the dancehall run by Concepción Amaya, Mamita, Lavalle 2177, around 1900. Continue reading