Carlos Di Sarli

Carlos Di Sarli (Bahia Blanca 7th of January 1903, Buenos Aires 12th of January 1960), has been one of the greatest tango orchestra’s directors, composer and pianist (also known as El Señor del Tango). He started to play piano when he was very young, studying in the conservatory where his brother was teaching. He initially joined a popular music travelling company, touring the country and also playing some tango, then later moved to Santa Rosa in la Pampa, working in a cinema, playing music for mute movies, and in a club, both owned by his father’s friend,  Mario Menara. He made a brief return to Bahia Blanca, where he formed his first orchestra, playing in local cafés (Café Express and Café Moka). Together with his brother Roque, he then moved to Buenos Aires, where he played professionally with different orchestras, among which: Anselmo Aieta, Juan Pedro Castillo, Alejandro Scarpino. In 1926 he joined Fresedo’s Orchestra, and this will be a turning point in Di Sarli career as Tango musician. Fresedo had such a big influence on Di Sarli, that the maestro later dedicated him a tango, Milonguero Viejo, in 1927.

Curiosity: his original name was Cayetano, only later on he changed it to Carlos.

Di Sarli and his orchestras:

In that same year he finally formed his first sextet, playing in several clubs and radio shows, and recorded many tangos with the RCA Victor. After a discussion with a club owner in Buenos Aires, who did not understand why Di Sarli was wearing dark glasses (it was because of an accident he had when he was young, working in his father factory), Di Sarli went back to Bahia Blanca, where he played in La Central Club until 1934.

Di Sarli, El Señor del Tango, leaves his permanent mark on the history of Tango

1939 is the turning point of Di Sarli’s rise as one of the greatest Tango musician ever. He formed his orchestra in 1938 and played for Radio Mundo, then, once Roberto Rufino, only 16, joined the orchestra, they recorded the Tangos “Corazon” and “Retirao”, the first 2 tangos of many more that still delight nowadays thousands and thousands of milongueros all over the world.

Di Sarli with Rufino, Podestà and Duran, 1939 – 1944 – 1948.

Di Sarli/Rufino is a pair well known to any Tango dancer, and it is very rare that during a milonga none of their tangos are played. Di Sarli’s style is very harmonic, as if every instrument is a piece needed to keep everything together, rather than shine on its own. Directing his own orchestra with his piano marking the compás, Di Sarli achieved to blend together simplicity, rhythm, harmony and sublime nuances. The only exception to this feeling of togetherness of the instruments are the violins, sometimes left free to go on their own notes, to highlight certain part of the piece, while the other instruments let them shine.

Best Di Sarli’s tangos of this first period:

Cosas olvidadas
En un beso la vida
Lo pasao pasó
El cielo en tus ojos
Junto a tu corazon
Mañana zarpa un barco
La capilla blanca
Tu, el cielo y tu
Un tango y nada mas

Carlos Di Sarli with Pomar and Serpa, 1951 +

After taking a break for a couple of years Di Sarli started recording again in 1951, composing many instrumental Tangos, while some other with the singer Mario Pomar. All tango orchestras had evolved by this time, and while the compás is still marking the danceability of any tangos, Di Sarli slows down the rhythm and amplifies each note, making the music more dramatic. It is a style with less staccato, more dramatic and intense, although the compás is still very present and the importance of the piano played by the same Di Sarli is the same as before.

Best Carlos Di Sarli Tangos 1951-1955

Organito de la tarde
El ingeniero
A la gran muñeca

Carlos Di Sarli with Florio and Duran, 1955-1958.

During the last three years of Di Sarli recordings, the singer Florio joined the orchestra. Tango was no longer danced as much as in the golden age, and every musicians changed their style in order to please no longer the dancer but also the radio listener, although in these last three years Di Sarli composed some amazing tangos for dancing, such as El jagüel, Cantemos corazón and Bahia Blanca.

Di Sarli’s valses and milongas

Although Di Sarli is famous for his tangos, there are many valses and milongas regularly played for the tango dancers all over the world.

Best Di Sarli’s Valses:

Cortando camino
Rosa de otoño
Estampa federal

Best Di Sarli’s Milongas:

Milonga del centenario
Pena mulata
La mulateada
Rosa Morena (Abuelita Dominga)

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