This Thursday, December 23, they are 70 years since the death of Enrique Santos Discépolo, creator of several of the most popular tangos such as One, Swap Y Yira Yira, and owner of a personal style to portray everyday life, the difficult feelings of love and the society of his time, from a philosophical and committed perspective that transcends to this day.
Discepolin, the nickname of Enrique Santos Discépolo, was actor, theater director, playwright, musician, film scriptwriter, composer, cultist of musical theater, conductor and creator of the character “Mordisquito”, I portray a social class governed by appearances.
He was born in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Once and it was his older brother, the playwright Armando Discépolo, who took over his education after the death of his parents -when he was barely 11 years old-, and he was also the one who introduced him to the artistic world after Enrique confessed his interest in acting.
Discepolín grew up under the care of his brother Armando, after the death of his parents, when he was only 11 years old.
His first steps as an interpreter were taken in 1917 integrating the cast of the play Chueco Pintos, by his brother and Rafael José de Rosa: the following year, he premiered his first own play at the National Theater, The goblin, written with Mario Folco.
Before turning 20 I had already created the works The lord cure Y Pass it on, corporal. Already at that time, Enrique was beginning to feel love for tango, musical genre that allowed him to garner great friends such as Homero Manzi, Aníbal Troilo or Celedonio Flores, among other greats.
Perhaps influenced by his father Santo – an outstanding Neapolitan musician whose failure in Buenos Aires inspired Armando to create the central character of the grotesque “Stéfano” – the thin young man with a fragile appearance. began his path as a composer with the tango Cupcake, created in 1924 at the request of the playwright José Antonio Saldías, who, however, passed without pain or glory.
Discépolo’s first attempt at tango was in 1924.
In parallel tou theatrical life, which he developed both in Buenos Aires and MontevideoHe wrote tango lyrics that reflected the economic and social difficulties of his time, the 20s and 30s, from the melancholic irony and tenderness that characterized him.
Thus was born What vachaché, in which one of its passages says: “What you need is to pack a lot of money, sell your soul, raffle your heart, throw away what little decency you have left … Silver, silver, silver and silver again … So it is possible that you morphe every day, have friends, house, name … and whatever you want “.
“The hunger of others is something that always amuses those who have eaten”said Discepolín in a memorable scene from one of his films. The poet Julián Centeya once hinted that as an actor he had “an air of Chaplin,” with good reason. A Creole and Porteño Chaplin. His first success came in 1928 from the hand of Tonight i get drunk, popularized by female singer Azucena Maizani.
Discépolo was defined as a “Creole and Buenos Aires Chaplín”. Photo Newspaper La Razón
The age of recognition
From then on he began to have an important recognition in the universe of Buenos Aires music, and met the woman with whom he shared almost a quarter of a century: the actress and singer Tania, a Spanish cupletista who carried the name of Ana Luciano Divis and gave her as many joys as the troubles that appear in her works.
With Tania, undoubtedly the great love of his life, things were not easy: she introduced her large Hispanic family to the relationship, tried to make Choly Mur, her daughter from a previous marriage, a star, He harassed him with his desire for riches and there is even talk of infidelities that over time are unverifiable.
Then the tango premiered Jam, and Tita Merello made the aforementioned success a resounding success What vachaché; too Carlos Gardel gave impetus to his career by recording several of his first tangos – in total he composed 50-, among which his unforgettable version of Yira yira, in 1930.
Enrique Santos Discépolo with Tania, the woman with whom he shared almost a quarter of a century.
He created tangos that are still valid as Malevaje, I am a harlequin and the waltz Dream of youth, although his most popular songs were Swap, in 1934, Bandoneon soul, in 1935 and One in 1943, with music by Mariano Mores.
As a film director, he had a medium impact and his films include Four hearts (1939), Capricious and millionaire (1940), Candida, the woman of the year (1943) and The fan (1951), his last film, directed by Manuel Romero, where he also acts and shows himself as a soccer fan whose feelings guide his impulses.
A suffocating and claustrophobic drama
There is a general guideline that encompasses its topics. Discépolo proposes a suffocating and claustrophobic drama around the dense job of surviving desolation. In his own way, he was the philosopher of the crisis of 30.
Without intending it and despite his regret, he was the ethical archetype of his time: more than putting lyrics to some tangos, Discépolo put lyrics to a way of being and feeling authentically porteña. There was no citizen redoubt that remained wild in its production, guided by forced silences, various disappointments that hit rock bottom and were recognized in a voice without an owner.
Explicit or masked protest abounds in many of his tangos, some of and a resounding originality: the moving speech of loneliness that is drawn in Yira … yira, has an antecedent in What go-cha-che and it would coincide with the design of the catastrophic forecast of Swap.
ONE great for another great: Enrique Santos Discépolo for Menchi Sábat. Hermenegildo Sábat
These are stories that have hopelessness as their axis and disenchantment on either side. A cocktail that ensured validity in the black almanac that we Argentines had to go through. Country in technicolor, but that continues to have a gray background, expiatory, accusing, country that blames.
To describe and portray it, without cosmetics, Discépolo used his own storytelling technique: passes each situation through an operating room and submits it to a jibarization process, to keep the thicker narrative lines. That Quijote from Corrientes Street feels that the failure of the protagonists of his tangos was, strictly speaking, the failure of an entire community.
In that vein, he used irony and vitriol: Jam, Secret, Three hopes, Infamy, Martyrdom Y What sapa, sir, are its most explicit exponents. In them, The inevitable fracture of commitments and the dissolution of the prototypical couples of his tangos are nothing more than the no less tragic dissolution of the solidarity bonds that give shape and meaning to a supposedly just society..
Enrique santos Discépolo, an acute poetic chronicler of reality. Photo Annemarie Heinrich
Deserves distinctive consideration Tonight i get drunk, emblematic tango of that rear, on the other hand perhaps his most accomplished tango. There is a certain smile in the description, but it is actually the symbolic value of a laugh thrown from a coffin.
Used to denigrate that woman he loved, a paraphernalia of descriptions in various languages, such as “fané” (from caló), “descangayado” (from Portuguese) and that other Latin reference (“requiescat in pace”) to draw, at the same time, the hecatomb of a woman and her own defeat. However, there is the certainty of an inconclusive love.
Militancy, rejection and loneliness
It is said that there is an Argentina before 1945 and another after that date. Discépolo joined Peronism, a political movement that aimed to correct a pyramid of inequalities. He made, to collaborate from the radio and sometimes with a pamphlet tone, that character “Mordisquito”, in his talks with an imagined “Contreras”.
Discépolo and a bar made up of Homero Manzi and Héctor Stampone, among others.
Also on radio, in 1949 became the official voice of the time, questioning on a daily basis and by the National Broadcasting Network the ethical and moral values that did not coincide with those held by power.
Simultaneously with an isolation in moderate ascent, a more placid look is noticed in his work, at times more comprehensive, at others an obvious tribute to venerable Buenos Aires institutions (Cafetín of Buenos Aires or the letter of The corn).
The most recognizable Discépolo, however, is that of Desperate song, Speechless, continuations of his very close relationship with the highest rated poetic love: the one that ends without completeness. On the other hand, Storm, composed as if it were a psalm, he exhibits it in his eagerness to search and repair, with pain and loss on the surface.
Tita Merello and Enrique Santos Discépolo, two of the great figures of our popular music. Photo Clarín
Probably One mark a cut in the author’s production, meriting an almost metaphysical work, which did nothing but portray the common vicissitudes of heartbreak, in a poetic environment between refined and pathetic.
Your unfinished topic, Bog, can be inscribed in the structure of those first works in which the masculine condition privileged.
By then, Discépolo had begun to be dangerously alone. Shades of the color of tar darkened old relationships mortified by his Peronist militancy, which turned into a rejection with a load of hatred translated into threats, mistreatment and changes in his own lyrics in order to humiliate him, which made him sick.
On December 23, 1951, Discépolo’s heart exploded, of pure skinny. But a skinny man does not always die of skinny: he had been overthrown by a dry, absolute, isolating and suicidal spiritual loneliness, at last a whole lifestyle.
Source: Télam – Clarín
Reference from clarin