Francisco Canaro was born in poverty in Uruguay in 1888, and started working at an early age. His nickname was “Pirincho” – a crested bird found in the Riverplata area. Allegedly, as a new born, he had so much hair that when seeing him, the midwife exclaimed “He looks like a pirincho!”
As a child, Canaro was always attracted to music. He started playing the guitar, but what really captured his heart was the violin. As he had no money to buy one, he made one using an oil can and some wooden parts.
In 1912, Canaro composed his first tangos: “Pinta brava” and “Matasanos”. In 1924, he started adding a singer to the orchestra, but only to sing the brief main section of each tango.
In 1925, Canaro went to Paris, where tango was the new craze. Together with his brothers, two singers and the pianist Lucio Demare, he toured Spain, Europe and then the United States for several years. When he finally returned to Argentina, he embarked on a grand national tour. He also took advantage of the popularity of broadcasting and became a major radio star, which established him as a mainstream orchestra known by everyone in the country, dancers and non dancers alike.
Over time, Canaro became such a significant part of tango, that referring to him became part of common language. In the 1950’s, a radio program coined a phrase to refer to any extremely old event: “When Canaro already had his orchestra”. Another popular say was: “He’s got more money than Canaro”.
Besides being a very successful musician and a prolific artists, Canaro also fought for the rights of composers, which were widely ignored until the creation in 1935 of the now called SADAIC (Argentine Society of Authors and Composers).
After a long and fruitful career, Canaro passed away on 14 December 1964.
Listen to selected tandas by Canaro
Here is a selection of tandas by Canaro, all great to get you on your feet!
Check our song translations – beautiful music and lyrics
Pinta Brava. Fiery, sexy, arrogant, in your face. A volcano, an earthquake. A real latin girl who will haunt your nights and won’t be forgotten that easily. Hold your breadth…
|Quién te juna, quién te embroca,
Pinta brava presumida,
pa’ largarte por Florida
como un Ford a patinar.
Who’s watching you, who’s keeping
an eye on you,
Feisty Pinta Brava,
off the leash on Florida street,
parading the streets like a Ford.
Nati y Bruno