Tanda of the week: Alberto di Paulo canta Alberto Podestá

Tanda of the week: Alberto di Paulo canta Alberto Podestá

We continue with the exploration of the tango music from the "forgotten period" of 1970-2000, roughly speaking. Today, Maestro Podestá returns to the stage with the orchestra of Alberto di Paulo to sing some tangos we all love but in arrangements you are likely to have never heard at a milonga.

Alberto di Paulo is not a milonga regular. Although his career had begun in the Golden age and spanned the entire tango period of the 20th century (he died in 2011, so he must have witnessed the great tango revival), he's now mostly forgotten outside the collector community. One reason for that could be that his orchestras appeared to have existed mostly to support singers such as Echagüe, Laborde, or Podestá, who required the services of a band-leader at one time or another. That would've made him number #2 in such ensembles, and one can only speculate how that would effect his style development and recording opportunities outside of those arrangements.

The recordings selected for this tanda were made in the early 1980s (1980-1981). I was already alive and kicking at that time, albeit not yet devoted to tango. I find it vertigo-inducing to consider that Master Podestá was still singing (forcefully, without many signs of decline) in my lifetime. I remember being incredulous when told he was still alive at the time I started with tango but that is sadly not the case anymore.

Podestá is loved for his early work with Di Sarli, Caló, and Laurenz. I wonder what he thought of it later in his life. It must be unsettling to ponder if one has said all he was supposed to say in his early adulthood? Be it as it may, that thought, if he ever had it, did not stop Maestro Podestá to sing and record until the end of his life.

I haven't listened to these recordings for many years and approached them with caution. It was to my great delight when I re-acquainted myself with them and found them compelling. They are mightily lyrical, use some rubatos for effect, and yet their drive is consistent and conductive to dancing. This, and Maestro Podestá still "got it".


1) Alma de bohemio
2) Ave de paso
3) Motivo sentimental
4) Tú, el cielo y tú

I have 6 recording from Di Paulo's collaboration with Podestá. According to tango.info, there's a couple more. The selections follow one of my standard models for a lyrical tanda where I look for a captivating opener, provide an early relief with #2, then develop more the lyrical potential and end with something poignant.


No special considerations.

One might be able to sneak this tanda into a conservative DJ set where no modern music is requested by the organizers. In such a case, I would play it later in the evening instead of some 1950s music. The chances are good that the organizer wouldn't even notice that this music is from the 1980s.

I mean no offense to the organizers, I'm sure they would notice if I played Andariega or Gotan. This music, unlike many other tangos from that period, does not sound like it was meant for the sitting audience. I don't know if the people danced to it at that time but they can, now.

image credit goes to M

Read some more