Julio De Caro

Julio de Caro was a violinist, composer and innovative director of the guardia nueva. With his sexteto he set many standards for modern tango music and it’s interpretation by the orquesta tipica. Like Carlos Gardel, he acted as a bridge between the guardia vieja and the Golden age of tango.

Julio de Caro was born in Buenos Aires on December 11, 1899. His father, José de Caro, was former director of a conservatory in Milan. He gave his son a high level of musical education but could never approve his choice of tango.

Early in life, Julio de Caro made a decision to leave his Father’s house. He made his debuts with Edurado  Arolas at the cabaret Tabarín in 1917. Performed with Fresedo’s cuarteto and the orchestra of Juan Carlos Cobian. And in 1924 he formed his own orchestra with his brothers Julio and Emilio de Caro, Pedro Maffia, Luis Petrucelli and Leopoldo Thompson.

De Caro’s orchestra is fundamental in establishing the musical standards of the golden age. Through Julio De Caro’s work as a composer and arranger, the musical structure of tango becomes more complex and is greatly refined with counterpoint, solos and variations. As a director, he establishes the traditional sexteto as a norm for a fully developed interpretation of tango.

An interesting particularity of Julio De Caro is his use of the violin corneta, a violin with a metalic horn for amplification. In times of acoustic technologies, it allowed for the violin to be hear in contracantos and solos during performance or recording.

As a composer, De Caro contributed many classics such as “Mala junta”, “Boedo”, “Orgullo criollo”, “El monito”, “Buen amigo”, “Tierra querida”, “El arranque”and “La Rayuela”. He arranged many tangos of the guardia vieja to allow their full execution by a sexteto without ever loosing their original essence. He left over 420 recordings, most of them between 1924 and 1932 with Victor first and then with Brunswick. He traveled to Brasil in 1927 and to Europe in 1930 where he participated in the filming of “Las luces de Benos Aires.

In 1933, De Caro began experimented with larger orchestras and other instruments, but his influence quickly declined due to the evolution of other orchestras. He continued to perform and to experiment in his own style. He recorded 38 tangos with modern technologies with  Odeon from 1949 to 1953.

Julio de Caro died in Mar del Plata in 1980. His date of birth, December 11, is the same as Carlos Gardel and was declared day of tango.

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