César Olguín covers more than a century of tango in Mexico – El Sol de México

The teacher César Olguín has a small studio in the upper part of his house with a large window that illuminates his afternoons. The light gives a melancholic profile to his collections of scores, records, books, recognitions, corks and dozens of figurines of musicians who, like him, eternally play the bandoneon.

It is the conducive environment for the genre that he has performed for 45 years, when at the end of the 70s he arrived from his native Argentina, “with the dream in his hands” of living an adventure. He never believed, despite the signs, that he would stay and become a witness and figure of an essential part of the history of tango in Mexico.

“Life is strange, strange and mysterious. We are not the ones to understand if there is a destiny or if one does it. But, in what has happened to me, Mexico has always been linked to me. I play a very particular instrument, which is of German origin and is known in the world as an Argentine or River Plate music instrument, but the first song that I began to study as a child, from the age of eight, was ‘She’, by José Alfredo Jiménez,” he says in an interview with The Sun of Mexico César Olguín, founder of the Mexican Tango Orchestra.

That connection is captured in his first book, “Even if a lot of time passes. Tango in Mexico”, armed with interviews, bibliographic research and own anecdotes, which recounts a large part of the presence of tango in our country over the last 120 years.

“Since the beginning of the 20th century, the first Mexican tangos, the first performers and the first recordings had appeared. We are talking about more than a hundred years of tango in Mexico with some bumps and interruptions, but with an always active life.

“Some tell me that my book is a kind of history, but I never intended it that way, because the history of tango here is fragile, with many black holes. I myself met and worked with many tango musicians, who are not physically present today, people about whom I could not find information, nor family members. In this book I tried to support everything with reliable information without making assumptions,” explains the music promoter, who is also a music promoter.

The book mentions, among other essential data, the record of the first recording of tango made by Mexicans in 1904 and the time in 1908 that Esperanza Iris danced tango at the inauguration of the Teatro de la Ciudad, as well as the advance of this genre that It became popular among lyricists and performers such as Agustín Lara, Carlos de Nava “El Gardel Mexicano”, Jorge Ledesma and more contemporaries, such as Javier Noyola, René Torres, Pablo Ahmad and César Olguín himself.

The book also compiles little-known data, interviews and graphic material from the presence in Mexico of the Argentine composer Astor Piazolla, the creator of the “nuevo tango” or “avant-garde tango”, whose grandchildren are Mexican.


Olguín, who has released 28 albums, considers that the pulse of tango in Mexico is currently difficult to measure. “When they ask me about the vision I have about the place that tango occupies in the public, I never know whether to answer if it is elitist or marginal. Nowadays, due to the particularities that our countries go through that relegate culture a lot, I would say that it is marginal, despite the fact that in recent years there has been a proliferation of milongas, which have a charm and a sensual part that attracts attention. of young and old.”

Regarding the possible similarity that there may be between tango and Mexican music, Olguín recalls that the title of the book is a verse from the famous bolero “Júrame”, by the Mexican composer María Grever, originally recorded in 1926 as a tango. Regarding this coincidence, he affirms that there are several examples of songs that in both River Plate and Mexican music have jumped between genres, which he mentions in this book: “Sombras nada más”, “El Reloj”, “Sabrá Dios”, among others.

“If you take away the rhythmic part and grab the lyrics of a ranchero or Mexican song, it has the same characteristics of tango. Maybe it paints the landscape a little differently, because tango is totally city-based and Mexican tango covers a broader geography. But in the end they all talk about the same things, things that we share as humans, like pain, love, betrayal, life and death,” he concludes.

“Even if a lot of time passes,” is presented this Saturday, at 6:00 p.m., in the Manuel M. Ponce Room of the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The author will be accompanied by the announcer Germán Palomares and the music journalist Juan Arturo Brennan.

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