Gardel's debut in Paris
by Enrique Cadícamo

Enrique CadícamoI was in Spain with the authors of the tango "Adiós muchachos", a worldwide hit, except in Argentina, and they did a witty trick. César Felipe Vedani, spurred by the co-author Julio César Sanders, imprudently, with a few hours of difference, granted exclusive authorization to two recording companies. In such a way, the profits would be doubled.

Sanders had certain influence upon his partner. They signed the contracts, and after a few days they collected a succulent advance in pesetas but the labels involved discovered the fraud.

For reasons of commercial reputation, both companies avoided to make public the attitude of the Argentine boys, and reached an agreement: to release the piece jointly. The success of "Adiós muchachos" made them recover the money lost with interest.

Vedani, who was eager to visit Paris, traveled while Sanders remained inGardel's first performance in Paris was on September 30, 1928 Theatre Femina on the Champs Elysees, in a benefit concert for the victims of the Guadeloupe catastrophe Barcelona, the latter was unwilling to leave the Rambla Cataluña. I had been thinking to travel later, but Gardel's debut at the "Florida", pushed me to do it without delay.

Nights later, minutes before its departure that long subtle train arrived at the platform with its shiny cars. After traveling all night long I arrived in Paris the following noon. A taxi cab took me to the modern comfortable "Radio" hotel, on Clichy Boulevard.

After dinner, I went to pick up Guillermo Barbieri who lived on the Rue Fontaine. With him, we approached the "Costa" barroom, in front of the cabarets "Palermo" and "Garrón". We entered the latter to have coffee.

I came to know that Eduardo Bianco was playing with his orchestra at the "Empire", and had had an unpleasant drawback with one of the two musicians he had requested from Buenos Aires, the bandoneonists Juan Pecci and Lotito. Lotito, the same week of his arrival, he was rolled down by a bus, on the corner of the Rue Pigalle and Rue Fontaine, in front of the "Gavarni" café, he died in Pecci´s arms. Pizarro organized a charity collection headed by Gardel for the vigil and burial expenses.

The evening of Gardel's debut at the "Florida" had come. The entrepreneur Raúl Santolini had invited a lot of important people of the show business. The luxurious "boite" was crowded. It was a quarter of an hour before Gardel's coming to stage. I estimated I had time and went to see him.

Gardel in Paris - 1928When I entered his dressing room, he was wearing his sophisticated gaucho outfit. Soon his agent, Mr. Pierotti and Guillermo Barbieri, with his guitar, appeared. Gardel was calm and in a good mood. When he saw me, he remembered the first tango of mine he had recorded and, as in a whisper, he began to informally sing a few bars of "Pompas de jabón". I thanked him and got out of the room immediately.

His never equaled voice, born for tango, his sparkling pleasantness and his matchless smile, conquered the consecrating applause in Paris that evening on October 2, 1928.

A few days after, I went to see him at the Reinita Hotel, on the Rue Donneau. I was about to congratulate him but when I entered his ample suite he warmly greeted me, interrupting his habitual gymnastics and saying that if he were slim as I was, he would eat two dishes of ravioli a day.51 rue Spontini, Paris. Gardel stayed here during 1928-29.

From a small "kitchenette" Pierotti appeared with a mate in his hand. He said hello and Gardel asked him to make some coffee. While he was getting it ready, the Morocho told me in brief about his struggle to make possible his debut at the "Florida", his "premiere", his launching prior to the Femina Theater of Champs Elysées. He was very grateful for the generous behavior of the Pizarro brothers, who persuaded Paul Santolini for his debut.

Pierotti brought coffee and, while we were having some sips, Gardel somewhat inspired, through the window pointing out at the Paris panorama, told me: "La Ville Lumiére is like a beautiful woman, hard to conquer" and, superstitiously, added that he felt that behind him a guardian angel was protecting him... it was his mom.


See also: Enrique Cadícamo: Una carta (fechada 21-XII-1998) que le envio Cadicamo a Jose Felix, referente a la publicacion de un CD "Gardel interpreta a Cadicamo". Tambien una nota de Cadicamo, en la revista Cantando fechada 5 de julio de 1960. Aporte: Jorge Muscia.

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