Nada más

ada_falconThe best-known romance in the whole tango history, between the green-eyed beauty Ada Falcon and handsome Francisco Canaro began as long back as in 1929, and lasted for almost ten years. If you are interested in the details, there is a documentary “Yo no sé qué me han hecho tus ojos”, shot in 2003, and a whole chapter in M. Lavokah “Tango Stories” book, dedicated to this story. But we will fast-forward to September 28, 1938, the date of Ada’s last recording session with Canaro, after which their romance officially ended.  The two tango she had chosen for the session were “Nada más” (Nothing more) and “No mientas” (Don’t lie). The last time Ada addressed the man she loved for a decade with those heart-breaking words:

I desire nothing, nothing more
Than you not leaving me face to face with my life.
And die I will if you leave me
Because without you I won’t know how to live.

So, who were the authors of this amazing tango? I bet you would never guess…

Long before Canaro met Ada, and dedicated to her bewitching green eyes his vals “Yo no sé qué me han hecho tus ojos”, two kids aged about fourteen, one playing violin, and another – piano, premiered their music in some insignificant theater on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The piano player, growing up, went through one orquesta after another, and, having formed his own orquesta, in 1940 met with a singer that has defined all his further career. The name of the singer was Angel Vargas. The name of the “kid”, as you probably have guessed was Angel D’Agostino. Between 1940 and 1946 “the duo of two angels” made about 100 recordings, at least half of those being regularly played on the milongas all around the world. The other kid turned out to be not so successful violin player, yet, in 1928 he formed his own sexteto, and recorded, between 1928 and 1929 around fifty tracks. He also tried himself as a composer, and one particular tango, named “Callejas Solo”, recorded by him with Carlos Dante in 1928, stuck in the tango history for a very long time. However, you, most probably, never heard either “Callejas Solo”, or, for that matter, any recordings of this particular sexteto on any milonga. Still no clue as to the name of the second kid?

Well, in 1935 the “kid” formed another orquesta and soon got a contract to perform in Cafe Chantecler, which was also often visited by Rodolfo Biagi. One day, purely by chance, Biagi took the seat at the piano of this new orquesta… and with their first recording session that happened on December 31, 1935 the whole city was turned upside down, marking the dawn of the Golden Age of tango. Yes, now you’ve guessed right – the name of the second kid was no one else but Juan D’Arienzo, the King of the Beat. But what does this second story has to do with the last tango that Ada sang to her lover?!

It so happened that there was a third kid, who, after being expelled from the school for throwing an inkpot to his teacher, tried himself as a singer in one of the earliest D’Arienzo outfits, but later excelled as tango composer and lyricist. This third kid name was Luis Rubistein, well known to us by such hits as “Carnaval de mi barrio” and “Charlemos”… as well as “Callejas Solo”. And so, just around the time of the break up between D’Arienzo and Biagi, in the middle of 1938 (see “Tango stories: Pensalo bien”), Luis also wrote the new lyrics to the tune of “Callejas Solo”, with the first line reading “Yo quiero nada, nada más…”. D’Arienzo premiered and recorded “Nada más” with Alberto Echagüe at the mike and Juan Polito at the piano in July of 1938, then Canaro recorded it with Roberto Maida in August of 1938, and only one month later, in September, Ada Falcon was pleading to Canaro with those very same words…

No other orquesta ever picked up this fateful tango after Ada’s performance. However, it firmly stayed in D’Arienzo repertoire, throughout all his long career, crowned by 1971 recording with Mercedes Cerrano.

Here is the list of the recordings of this tango:

Ada Falcon with Canaro orquesta (1938):
Juan D’Arienzo with Carlos Dante (1928):
Juan D’Arienzo with Alberto Echagüe (1938):
Juan D’Arienzo with Mercedes Cerrano (live video, 1971):

Luis Rubinstein Castellano lyrics with English translation by Paul Bottomer can be found on the liner notes of Ada Falcon recording and other recordings from “Today Tango Is…” channel.

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