Juan D’Arienzo

Violinist and orchestra leader (14.12.1900 – 14.01.1976)

Like many other tango artists, D’Arienzo started with tango at a very young age. At first, he was playing violin at smaller theatres, and when he was 19 – he performed in the National Theatre, in a show called Cabaret Montmartre. Since then, he continued his work in the theatre, together with Angel D'Agostin.

D’Arienzo became popular after Rodolfo Biagi joined his orchestra in 1935. That was the moment when D’Arienzo restored forgotten rhythms of his first tango compositions. A year later, he became very popular, and milongas had become alive and full of rhythm. He also became a star of the new radio station El Mundo. However, he did not leave his theatre work with pianist D’Agostin.

In 1938, Biagi had left D’Arienzo’s orchestra; however, D’Arienzo was already known by the 2/4 rhythm that returned argentine tango to the dancers and the dance-floors. He awakened people, milongas, and dance-floors. That was the time when D’Arienzo was got his nickname – the king of rhythm.

For Juan D’Arienzo, argentine tango represented character, power, rhythm, and energy. He used to say that argentine tango was in crisis by 1940, and that the main reason for that was that "the old school" tradition was forgotten. He also blamed tango orchestras, because their music was just a basis for the singers’ voice. He said that the singer’s voice is just another instrument in the orchestra, and therefore it is wrong to dedicate music to the vocalist.

He succeeded in restoring tango’s life, masculine power, clear rhythm, and temperament. He created a pure argentine tango, in which – if any vocalists – singer was serving the orchestra; argentine tango, again became a music for dance.

The basis of his orchestra consisted of five violins (Cayetano Puglisi was the first violin), bases, five bandoneons, singers, and piano (played by Polito). He never played with a smaller orchestra; for some performance, he even doubled his orchestra.

D’Arienzo encouraged musicians to go back to the original argentine tango, 2/4 rhythm, and real tango character. Many of the most wonderful milongas are his creations – their rhythm provokes dance.

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