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Carlos Gardel
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Carlos Gardel

Carlos Gardel (December 11, 1890June 24, 1935), was an enormously popular Argentine tango singer who for many embodied the soul of this musical form, which evolved in the poor neighborhoods of Buenos Aires at the end of the 19th century.

Born Charles Romuald Gardés in Toulouse, France, he was the son of Berthe Gardes and Paul Lasserre. In March of 1893, his parents separated, and he and his mother emigrated to Argentina. Gardel grew up in Abasto, a heighborhood of Buenos Aires; hence one of his nicknames: "El morocho del Abasto" ("the dark-haired man from Abasto").

Gardel possessed a dark, sensual baritone voice which he deployed with unerring musicality and dramatic phrasing, creating miniature masterpieces among the hundreds of three-minute tangos which he recorded during his lifetime. Together with his long-term collaborator, lyricist Alfredo Le Pera, Gardel wrote several classic tangos, notably "Mi Buenos Aires Querido", "Volver", "Por una cabeza".

Gardel made a number of films, which were essentially vehicles for his singing and his matinee-idol looks.

When Gardel (together with Le Pera) was killed in an airplane crash in Medellín, Colombia in 1935 at the height of his career, millions of his fans throughout Latin America were thrown into profound grief.

Gardel is still revered in Buenos Aires, where people say of him that "he sings better and better every day." In addition, one of his favorite phrases, Veinte años no es nada (Twenty years are nothing) became a famous saying across Latin America.

Carlos Gardel was interred in the Cementerio de la Chacarita in Buenos Aires.


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