1. Francisco Canaro / Roberto Maida - "Poema" 1935
2. Francisco Canaro / Roberto Maida - "Soledad" 1935
3. Francisco Canaro / Roberto Maida - "Ciego" 1935
4. Francisco Canaro / Roberto Maida - "Alma del bandoneón" 1935
Probably the most popular of Francisco Canaro´s recordings is the beautiful "Poema" although it seems to have vanished from the playlists of most DJ's. This is due to the song being "overplayed" for a long time and also the fact that a lot more of Canaro´s and Maida´s recordings have become available in the recent years, so there's a lot more songs to choose from as well. I'm not personally the greatest Canaro fan (to put it mildly) but I do feel like I'd rather sometimes hear "Poema" in the milongas than a lot of the other songs that get more play at the moment.
Canaro has always been more popular in milongas in Europe than in Buenos Aires and in an interesting article about "Poema" in the Poemas del Río Wang blog it was noted that the song never was as popular in Buenos Aires and no other orchestra in Argentina recorded it. Still, I'd like to think that it is the one vocal tango recording from Canaro that gets played in Buenos Aires (at least on my previous visits) while mostly everything else than the milonga recordings leave the Buenos Aires audiences unimpressed. The above mentioned article describes the song as follows:
"Most of of the practicing and aspiring Argentine tango DJs must have noticed that Francisco Canaro’s superb (and much overplayed) 1935 “Poema” doesn’t quite fit seamlessly into tandas “Poema” is quite singular in its gently melancholic, softly nostalgic flow, while other Canaro’s hits of the period tend to be more insistent and dramatic in quality, energetically driving rather than softly soothing. [...] “Poema” is undoubtedly the best composition of Eduardo Bianco, an Argentine who lived in Europe for nearly 20 years, and who mastered the art of making the tango of Argentina sound the Parisian way."I feel that the last sentence applies to a lot of Canaro's music as well as I'd describe his style pretty much making the tango of Argentina sound the European way almost as if it was in it's own genre of tango. Maybe this is one of the reasons why his recordings appeal so much to many dancers in Europe and also creates a strong dislike for many as well. What do you think my readers? I'd like to hear your thoughts on the popularity of Canaro in Europe and outside Buenos Aires. I've used especially "Poema" often as an example when I discuss and wonder about why and how some songs gain and lose popularity.
Back to the tanda at hand. While especially "Ciego" is more "energetically driving than softly soothing" the tanda stays in the melancholic mood and has beautiful melodies and also more rhythmical parts to all the songs. "Soledad" was recorded by Carlos Gardel and "Alma de Bandoneon" is another of the great classics of tango music and Canaro does a fine version of it with Roberto Maida.
For lyrics and translations I recommend checking out the new Tango Translations Database and the translations for Poema - Soledad - Ciego and Alma de Bandoneon.
I chose songs from the Francisco Canaro album Poema, but the title song itself had a glitch in the end of the song so I used the song from the Cuartito Azul album for the tanda playlist. If you do purchase the Poema album you will have to edit out the glitch in the end of the song before playing it in milongas.
Enjoy and have a nice weekend all. I know I'll see some of you in the Embrace Berlin Tango Festival the coming days where I will be also playing on monday at the La Berlinesa milonga.
Canaro, Francisco - TOTW - Todo Tango - tango.info - iTunes Store