Part II: Argentine Tango: who was Carlos Gardel?

Lidia and Hector Legrand

Imagine an American crooner with the sum of the popularity of Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra all combined into one. That virtual American crooner would be as popular as Carlos Gardel is for Argentine Tango lovers all over the world.

Several countries have claimed him as their native son including France, Argentina, Uruguay and others. Recent research has proven that he was born Charles Romuald Gardes in France on December 11, 1890 (All over the world December 11 has been declared International Argentine Tango Day). Gardel immigrated to Argentina with his single mother in 1892 when he was two years old.

There are quite a few interesting stories as to the reasons why these countries claimed him as their own citizen. If you are interested in the details, please send an email to [email protected].

His extraordinary vocal qualities and passion for Argentine Tango made him the most important person in the history of Argentine Tango.

His perfect pitch put him in the same category as Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Yo-Yo Ma, Mozart and several others.

In Part 10 in our series published last month, we wrote about Códigos (protocol). One of the 30 or so Argentine Tango códigos is that in respect to the memory of Carlos Gardel, no dancer should dance to a recording of an Argentine Tango sung by him. When a dancer does so, she/he is immediately labeled as a rookie in the Argentine Tango dancing scene.

Gardel was the star of seven films, three of them filmed in France and the rest in the United States.

Gardel died at the age of 44 in an airplane accident in Colombia while on tour through the U.S. and Latin American countries.

If you’d like to learn more about Carlos Gardel please send us an email to [email protected].

About the authors: Lidia and Hector are Argentina born U.S. citizens and SaddleBrooke residents founding members of SATS, chartered in both HOAs. They travel to Buenos Aires often to dance Argentine Tango, to participate in International Argentine Tango Festivals and to further refine their Argentine Tango teaching skills. 2014 is Lidia and Hector’s eleventh year as SaddleBrooke Argentine Tango Dance Instructors of both group and private students. They have been teaching Argentine Tango dancing for sixteen years. They also offer seminars and workshops on Argentine Tango music, history, culture and cuisine. Hector has authored a book on Porteño Cuisine associated with Argentine Tango available at Please visit their website