Saturday, September 26, 2009

Forty Years Later - Amelita Baltar

There are forty years of history in today's video. The video was recorded August 31, 2009 at Luna Park in Buenos Aires. Almost forty years earlier (November, 1969), the same singer, Amelita Baltar, sang the same song, Balada para un loco, in the same location. The song was new - just created by Piazzolla and his chosen lyricist, Horacio Ferrer. Amelita Baltar was Piazzolla's new vocalist and new lover. The song was entered in a contest for best song at the First Latin America Festival of Song and Dance. Officially, it won second place but in a story well told in the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, the crowd gave it first place. The song went on to become a worldwide popular hit at the time and today is the most popular song of the Piazzolla/Ferrer catalog and the 12th most frequently performed Piazzolla composition on YouTube. You can find an early version of it sung by Ms. Baltar on the CD, Itinerary of a Genius.

Today's video was taken at the Tango Festival y Mundial de Baile. There were 6,000 people in the audience when Ms. Baltar appeared. The story is best told in this quote from La Milonga Argentina magazine: "But the greatest ovation, which brought the crowd to its feet with tears in their eyes, was for Amelita Baltar, who went onstage overcome with emotion at the exact moment when the presenter, Fernando Bravo, was remembering how right there, forty years ago, she had performed the now well-known “Balada para un loco” for the first time. Little by little, phrase by phrase, the singer repeated those same lines written by Horacio Ferrer and with music by Astor Piazzolla." You can read the full article here.

You will find other videos of Ms. Baltar singing Balada para un loco on YouTube including my favorite. You will also find versions by many other singers but Amelita Baltar owns this song.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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