Amurado

LaurenzMaffiaOn a night that was free of rehearsals and performances, Pedro Laurenz was chilling out in Café El Parque, where his friend, violinist Jose de Grandis was playing. Later in the evening Grandis showed Laurenz the verses he recently wrote, and Laurenz, quite impressed by the drama, unfolding in the lyrics of “Amurado”, immediately composed the first part of the music. The chorus was not so easy, but Laurenz knew precisely who was going to help him with it…

… A few years ago, in 1920, Pedro Blanco Acosta, after spending his youth in Montevideo, returned to Buenos Aires. His first musical instrument was violin, but, persuaded by his brothers, he started learning bandoneon, the instrument that was gaining huge popularity on both banks of Rio de Plata. Soon he was playing in now forgotten Luis Casanovas orquesta, together with yet-to-become known Edgardo Donato. Later on, he polished his skills alongside El Tigre del Bandoneon, Eduardo Arolas. However, upon return to Buenos Aires, his new idol became his namesake and fellow, Pedro Maffia. There was seemingly nothing in common between the impulsive, nervous Acosta who developed a flashy, picturesque style of playing, and calm, rather grim Maffia capable of extracting the most gentle and delicate sounds from almost motionless bellows of his bandoneon. Besides, in 1924 Acosta was little known, but Maffia was already a celebrity, playing in prestigious Cafe Colon with fashionable sexteto Julio De Caro.

In 1924, the events were unfolding exceptionally well for De Caro sexteto, until the moment when both of their bandoneons decided to quit. Only one of them, Luis Petrucelli, actually did, nevertheless, De Caro brothers needed to quickly find the replacement. Among other potential candidates, Pedro Acosta was introduced to Julio De Caro, and when the latter heard the relatively unknown bandoneonista, he made an offer on the spot. Acosta was thrilled to play alongside his idol, but the perspective of being compared with famous Petrucelli was a horrifying one. But Julio De Caro already made up his mind. Firstly, he proposed frightened Acosta a few coaching lessons with him and his brother Francisco, and then, to make the matter even more flattering offered Acosta a new stage name – Pedro Laurenz. Laurenz was the name of the first husband of Acosta’s mother, to whom De Caro family was distantly related. Newly born Pedro Laurenz could not refuse.

A few days later Julio introduced Pedro Laurenz to his orquesta. The famous double bass player, Leopoldo Thompson silently looked Laurenz up and down, Pedro Maffia did not labor even to turn his head, while Francisco De Caro, who already new the strength of the young musician, was obviously enjoying the scene from behind the piano with a cunning smile . Still looking away, Maffia gently touched his bandoneon… and could not hold his admiration hearing how faithfully and skillfully Laurenz shadowed him. With the final chords, Maffia rose up, and still without a single word, firmly embraced abashed Laurenz…

…As it turned out, there was a common trait  between the two Pedro, besides the burning love to tango music… Either of them would rarely, if ever, smile… But on his way to meet Maffia, with the verses of “Amurado” in his bandoneon case, Laurenz almost laughed, remembering their first encounter of 1924… but now it was 1927, and Maffia already had his own sexteto, together with Elvino Vardaro, Cayetano Puglisi (see “The magic violin of Cayetano Puglisi“) and Osvaldo Pugliese.

Pedro Maffia warmly greeted his friend, whom he did not see as often as before, when they were playing together. He calmly looked through the lyrics and the music that Laurenz wrote, and very soon the chorus part was ready, together with a masterful bandoneon variation not on his own, but on Pedro Laurenz theme. It was immediately picked up and recorded by Roberto Firpo, Francisco Lomuto, Carlos Gardel… to name just a few. Soon Julio De Caro recorded it with Pedro Laurenz playing his friend variations, and since then, “Amurado” remained Laurenz’ most favorite tango.

Pedro Laurenz with Juan Carlos Casas, 1940: https://youtu.be/siJV77q2nJQ
Osvaldo Pugliese, 1944: https://youtu.be/3ASa601HAjM
Carlos Gardel, 1927: https://youtu.be/kKrPaYdQ-Ho
Julio Sosa with orquesta Leopoldo Federico, 1962: https://youtu.be/ceHog8Kl06Q

Castellano lyrics with English translation by Paul Bottomer and even more recordings of this delightful tango can be found on the liner notes of the videos.

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