Argentine Tango School

Ángel Villoldo, Argentine Tango musician, composer and lyricist.

“El choclo” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1937.

“El choclo” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1937.

Ángel Villoldo, Argentine Tango musician, composer and lyricist.

Ángel Villoldo

Composer and lyricist (16 February 1861 – 14 October 1919)

Ángel Villoldo is considered by many “The father of Tango”, and unanimously considered the most representative artist of the Guardia Vieja.

Little is known about his childhood, and the information about his youth is many times contradictory.

Around 1900 he began to be known as payador, composer, and singer in Recoleta for the celebrations of the Virgen María in September.

At these celebrations, big tents were erected for several days. They started to be frequented by “compadres” and “cuchilleros” (knife carriers), so its original character was replaced for another, less family-oriented, of alcohol, dancing, and knife fighting.

At these gatherings, in which the life of a man was of little value, everyone respected Ángel Villoldo, who performed there his first tangos.

His most important composition is undoubtedly “El choclo”, because of its melody and its rhythm, which became an emblematic tango.

Read more about Ángel Villoldo and the History of Tango

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"El Cencerro", Argentine Tango music sheet cover.

“El cencerro” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1937.

“El cencerro” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1937.

José Martínez

Pianist leader and composer (28 January 1890 – 27 July 1939)

In 1890, in the early days of Tango and still in the period of struggle for reaching a definitive form, several figures that in a short time, fifteen or twenty years, had an outstanding importance in the later development of our music were born.

Of all those names, José Martínez, was a name of a truly remarkable importance.

This musician was known in the milieu with the nickname of “El Gallego” (The Spanish), about which he used to say: «That is ridiculous, I am porteño. I have a Spanish family name but my parents, my grandparents and great-grandparents were Argentine».

He was self-taught, and practiced piano at the place of some friends, despite he had no previous music instruction.

Read more about José Martínez at www.todotango.com

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Ernesto Ponzio, Argentine Tango musician and composer.

“Don Juan” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1936.

“Don Juan” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1936.

Ernesto Ponzio, Argentine Tango musician and composer.

Ernesto Ponzio

Violinist and composer (10 July 1885 – 21 October 1934)

A porteño, born in that neighborhood called Tierra del Fuego (located between the demolished Penitentiary and La Recoleta).

Because of his father’s death, Ernesto had to interrupt his violin studies at the 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.

According to different authors it was premiered at the dancehall run by Concepción Amaya, Mamita, Lavalle 2177, around 1900.

Read more about Ernesto Ponzio at www.todotango.com

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"Unión Cívica", Argentine Tango music sheet cover.

“Unión Cívica” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1938.

“Unión Cívica” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1938.

Domingo Santa Cruz

Bandoneonist, leader and composer (20 December 1884 – 5 August 1931)

His father used to fill his leisure time by playing music with a small bandoneon that he owned.

Domingo, still a child, took advantage of his absences, and, entranced, he held the bellows, and out of it, he achieved sleepy phrases.

As for formal musical training, in fact, he had none. For him, it was enough a sensitive vocation and a strong will.

He began as a composer in 1904, with the tango “Unión Cívica”.

Read more about Domingo Santa Cruz at www.todotango.com

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Ricardo González, Argentine Tango musician and composer.

“La rosarina” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1937.

“La rosarina” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1937.

Ricardo González, Argentine Tango musician and composer.

Ricardo González

Bandoneonist and composer (20 November 1885 – 30 September 1962)

This musician, born in the porteño neighborhood of San Cristóbal, started as a guitarist.

It was him who taught Eduardo Arolas to play the bandoneon.

He was a neighbor and friend of the Canaro‘s family and the Grecos’. It was precisely Vicente Greco who encouraged him to learn to play bandoneon.

His tango “La rosarina” deserves a special paragraph because it was the one which stood out most.

The girl who inspired it was named Zulema Díaz.

Ricardo was struck by her beauty and hence he chose that title for his tango.

And she also danced well!

Read more about Ricardo González at www.todotango.com

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