Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Alberto Podestá sings at Porteño y Bailarín

When I was in Buenos Aires last year I heard that Alberto Podestá was to sing at Porteño y Bailarín. This amazed me: the singer, who sang with Miguel Caló, Carlos Di Sarli, Pedro Laurenz, Francini-Pontier, was still alive? I had listened to Podestá sing Paisaje and Recién with Laurenz, and Bajo un cielo de estrellas with Caló, over and over again. It was just the best tango music ever.

But I was leaving the morning of the day (or rather night) that Podestá was to sing. So there I was, six miles up over mid-Atlantic as he sang at Porteño y Bailarín. He was due to sing in London with the Cafe de los Maestros last summer, but didn't make it to the hall: he is 84. So I was delighted to hear that he was to sing at Porteño y Bailarín late in December. The place was packed, and he seemed to love being there, singing for us. I'd expected three numbers and a round of applause, but he sang on and on, taking requests from the audience. His physical voice is no longer wonderful, but his spirit and musicianship still drive him, and the emotional intensity of his singing was extraordinary.

There's a translation of an interview with him here. And it's well worth looking at this, a well-lit video of Podestá singing, with subtitles, which really makes good sense of what you are hearing and watching. Here he is in December.

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