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The Argentine Virtuoso Artist, Ángel Villoldo's Works and Life

Ángel Villoldo: Overview

  • Born: 1861 (not verified) - Argentina
  • Died: 1919 (not verified) - Argentina
  • Musical Media: Tango, Creole, Mazurkas, Spanish guitar

Composer, Angel Villoldo

Ángel Villoldo was born to Argentine parents in Buenos Aires and was a stalwart writer, musician, dancer, and composer during his lifetime. Apart from his status as the proponent of tango, he also acted at the Circo Rafetto and learned music from the Italian master Ermanno Andolfi. Villoldo dedicated El Porteñito and Yunta Brava to Andolfi out of great respect. Many credible sources state that he lived until 95 years of age, but it is our strong belief that he was 58 (1861 - 1919) when he passed away. Whichever the case was, he changed global perceptions of tango like never before. 

Dive deeper into Ángel Villoldo's life and works: The Father of Tango

Villoldo belonged to a time of exceptional artists such as José Betinoti, Manuel Cientofante, etc., and they came to the limelight around the 1900s. He also did music recordings for many famous labels and brands. He was also a prolific poet and wrote pieces in popular magazines such as Fray Mocho and La Pampa Argentina

El Choclo is one of his finest pieces written in the year 1903 and Villoldo’s bona fide masterpiece. Following this, Villoldo wrote La Morocha (1905), a tango, whose music was composed by Enrique Saborido. Additionally, he also wrote the lyrics of Alberico Spatola’s 13 in the year 1913. La Morocha is credited to have been the key work which made Europeans fascinated with the tango for the first time. His body of lyrical work also includes Alfredo Bevilacqua’s Apolo and Rosendo Mendizabal’s El Entrerriano. His compositional pieces, apart from El Choclo, were inclusive of the likes of El Porteñito (1903), El Esquinazo, La Caprichosa, etc. 

Villoldo was responsible for the composition of Don Pedro (1911), a tango, during a concert celebrating works by Italian composer Domenico Zipoli. He was also the composer of a number of songs with genres like Creole and Mazurkas. And in fact, Gardel Razzano’s 1917 recording of Cantar Eterno was composed by Ángel Villoldo himself. Villoldo introduced the tango to the Parisian society in 1907 and then, he went on to create the "Method for Playing Guitar" by numbers, in 1910. Rightfully hailed as the Father of Tango or padre del tango in Spanish, his creativity was only matched by his enormous body of work.

Villoldo was a master at what he did, and his tango became an exceptional centerpiece for the hybridization of the musical arts. He fused the tango and the gaucho, two very integral parts of the Argentinian national image and has even been compared to Hemingway and Bob Dylan. He is also known to have played the harmonica in conjunction with the guitar with the help of a special harness that he created. Indeed, he achieved much more than any Argentinian or South American musician had achieved before him.



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