Carlos Gardel recorded a foxtrot on his first trip to Paris, in 1923, called Oh Paris. It is easy to forget that the tango orquestas that are venerated today were at the time the popular music of the day, and that extended beyond the rhythms of tango, vals, and milonga that are acknowledged to day. The range included also the ranchera, the polca, the marcha, the pericón, the chacarera – dances derived from Argentinian folklorico. It also included the modern rhythms imported from America and from the British (who even at this early stage had a firm grip on the shape of ballroom dancing) – dances such as the rumba, the Charleston, the one-step, and of course the foxtrot. But much of the music in these rhythms was written locally.
Over a recording career of 50 years Canaro recorded nearly 2000 tangos and around 350 valses, but he also recorded over 100 rancheras, and a similar number of foxtrots, along with a host of other rhythms in smaller quantities. Amapola is a charming foxtrot written by José Marcía Lacalle García and with lyrics by Luis Vicente Roldán that Canaro recorded on 16 July 1927. For that release Canaro’s orquesta is referred to as a “jazz band”! The song was recently re-recorded in Australia in 2011, by José Carbó and the Grigoryan brothers on their 2012 CD My Latin Heart.
Amapola, lindísima Amapola,
Será siempre mi alma tuya, sola.
Poppy, pretty little poppy,
Always will my soul be only yours…
Canaro was one of the most prolific recording artists but other recordings from other orquestas follow a similar pattern with proportionally reduced numbers. De Sarli’s recordings include over 500 tangos, 30-odd valses and 20-odd milongas, but also 3 rancheras, 2 foxtrots and 1 each of paso doble, rumba, and schottische. This last dance is originally a Scandinavian relative of the polka and it even features in the lyrics of a tango, Buenas Noches, Buenos Aires, that I played two weeks ago. It was written by Sebastián Piana with lyrics by Osvaldo Sosa Cordero:
Pinceladas de Río y Nueva York, / con acentos de Londres y París,
ya cantando con Napoles, amor, / o en un schottisch riendo con Madrid.
…Buenas noches, Buenos Aires, /te saluda mi canción.
Brushstrokes of Rio and New York, /with accents of London and Paris,
and you are singing with Naples, love, or in a schottisch laughing with Madrid.
…Good Night, Buenos Aires, you greet my song
Image credit: https://tango.info/02480002741107