Francisco Canaro

Francisco Canaro was a prominent orchestra director, violinist and composer of the guardia vieja. He had a long and prolific career covering over 50 years of tango history from his early years with Vicente Greco up to the beginning of tango concerts in the 1960’s. He recorded over 3500 tracks, including over 900 titles in the acoustic era [3]. As a composer he produced many classics including “Mano Brava”, “Sentimiento gaucho”, “La ultima copa”, “Sonar y nada mas”, “Madreselva”, “El chamuyo” and “Se dice de mi”.

Francisco Canarozzo was born in Uruguay in 1888 to a humble family of Italian immigrants. By the age of 10 he began working in the streets of Buenos Aires selling news papers along with his brothers to help sustain the family. His first violin was made by himself out an oil can from a factory where he used to work. [1]

With his oil can violin Francisco Canaro began performing in public for money. By 1908 he was a regular in the cafes and nightclubs of La Boca. He joined the orchestra of his friend Vicente Greco and together they made their first recording in 1911. He composed his first tango “Pinta Brava” in 1912 and contributed to shape the first orquestas tipicas by incorporating the double bass.

By 1925 Canaro was in Paris with his own orchestra. He also went to New York and toured the interior of Argentina and Japan. He was first to include an estribillista in his orchestra in 1924. Some of the signers most identified with him in the early years are Charlo and Ada Falcon, a woman with whom he had a notorious love affair. [2]

Canaro contributed to many movies as a composer, actor and producer. In 1934 he founded his own production company, Rio de la Plata, which produced 11 movies but without much success. He also fought for copyrights and founded the Argentine Society of Composers and Songwriters (SADAIC).

According to José Gobello, Canaro is the second most important figure of tango after Carlos Gardel. His memoirs, published in 1956, are an important source on the history of tango.

Canaro died of Paget’s disease in 1964.

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[1] Canaro, Fransicso. Mis memorias: Mis bodas de oro con el tango. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1999. Print.

[2] Yo no se que me han hecho tus ojos. Dir. Lorena Muñoz and Sergio Wolf. 2003. Film.

[3] Lanner, Christoph. “Discografia de Francisco Canaro”. sites.google.com. Web. Aug 2016.

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