Plegkaria

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Tango is one of the main musical elements of the national identity of modern Argentina. It is born in the marginalized environment of the port of Buenos Aires, but soon conquers Europe and the USA, where it is carried by traveling Argentine musicians and dancers during the first decade of the 20th century. Its acceptance by the upper and middle classes was due to its transformation from a multicultural musical expression of the underworld to a dance-music one for whites, as well as to its thematic cleansing of its overtly sensual origins. Primarily marginal types and their provocative liminality are replaced by quaint figures who are possessed by unquenchable, but stylized love passions. This is how a “tamed” musical genre emerges that recalls a more romantic Argentina. Tango takes Parisian cabarets by storm, and its initially targeted popularity soon develops into widespread appeal. Record companies, composers and orchestras manage it as an integral part of their business. At the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s, Greece succumbs too to this “tangomania”. During the interwar period, tango has a central place in the repertoire of elafro (light music) and enriches discography’s catalogs with hundreds of original compositions which complement the systematic arrangements of popular pieces, mainly of European origin, “dressed” with Greek lyrics.

This recording, a re-release of His Master's Voice recording under number Columbia Ελλάδας DG 3 which has been uploaded for research purposes, is an adaptation of the tango-chanson "Plegaria", set to music and lyrics by Eduardo Bianco.

The first recording of the song took place in France, in 1927, by the Orchestre Argentin Bianco - Bachicha and Juan Raggi, whose name does not appear on the record label (Odeon KI 1187 - 165.098).

The song was recorded several times in historical discography. For example:

- Fabre's Melody Band, Lisbon, February 1928 (Columbia Portugal WP325 - J-846)
- Daniele Serra, Milan, October 21, 1929 (Gramophone BM 1151-2 - 100-629 R10235 HN262)
- Chór Dana, Warsaw, 1929 (Syrena-Electro 20387 - 6399)
- "Preghiera", Gabré - Orchestre Dobbri, Berlin, 1930 (Parlophon 43465 - B 7762-I)
- Henry Theel, Finland, 1943 (Rytmi Nto 173 - B 2036)
- José Maria Gonzalez, Antananarivo, Madagascar, April 13, 1954 (Gramophone 0LA 6890-1 - SG613 BF638)
- Luis Alberto Fleitas. Brazil, 1957 (Rádio Gravações Especializadas RGO 187 - RGE-10049-a)

In Greek historical discography, the song was recorded by Michalis Thomakos (present recording), Petros Epitropakis and the Bezos - Stipas Hawaiian (lap steel) guitars.

The Greek musical score, with lyrics by Paul Menestrel, was published in Athens by the Gaitanos publishing house under the title "Plegaria!... (Mia prosefchi)". 

This recording probably took place in Milan, given that, according to the extremely interesting report compiled by Edmund Michael Innes from the trip he made to Greece in April-May 1930 as an emissary of the British record label His Master's Voice for the purpose of collecting and recording information about the company's situation in Greece (also) in relation to the other record labels that were active in the area, Columbia used to send to Milan one of its tenors, [Michalis] Thomakos (Tomako), almost every two months in order to record its latest Western "hits".

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis, George Evangelou and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[Bianco Eduardo Greek lyrics: Unknown]
Singer(s):
Thomakos Michalis
Orchestra-Performers:
Orchestra
Recording date:
17/02/1930
Recording location:
Milan (?)
Language(s):
Greek
Dance / Rhythm:
Tango
Publisher:
Columbia (Greece)
Catalogue number:
DG 14
Matrix number:
WG 6
Duration:
2:47
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Col_DG14_Plegaria
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Plegkaria", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=9742

Tango is one of the main musical elements of the national identity of modern Argentina. It is born in the marginalized environment of the port of Buenos Aires, but soon conquers Europe and the USA, where it is carried by traveling Argentine musicians and dancers during the first decade of the 20th century. Its acceptance by the upper and middle classes was due to its transformation from a multicultural musical expression of the underworld to a dance-music one for whites, as well as to its thematic cleansing of its overtly sensual origins. Primarily marginal types and their provocative liminality are replaced by quaint figures who are possessed by unquenchable, but stylized love passions. This is how a “tamed” musical genre emerges that recalls a more romantic Argentina. Tango takes Parisian cabarets by storm, and its initially targeted popularity soon develops into widespread appeal. Record companies, composers and orchestras manage it as an integral part of their business. At the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s, Greece succumbs too to this “tangomania”. During the interwar period, tango has a central place in the repertoire of elafro (light music) and enriches discography’s catalogs with hundreds of original compositions which complement the systematic arrangements of popular pieces, mainly of European origin, “dressed” with Greek lyrics.

This recording, a re-release of His Master's Voice recording under number Columbia Ελλάδας DG 3 which has been uploaded for research purposes, is an adaptation of the tango-chanson "Plegaria", set to music and lyrics by Eduardo Bianco.

The first recording of the song took place in France, in 1927, by the Orchestre Argentin Bianco - Bachicha and Juan Raggi, whose name does not appear on the record label (Odeon KI 1187 - 165.098).

The song was recorded several times in historical discography. For example:

- Fabre's Melody Band, Lisbon, February 1928 (Columbia Portugal WP325 - J-846)
- Daniele Serra, Milan, October 21, 1929 (Gramophone BM 1151-2 - 100-629 R10235 HN262)
- Chór Dana, Warsaw, 1929 (Syrena-Electro 20387 - 6399)
- "Preghiera", Gabré - Orchestre Dobbri, Berlin, 1930 (Parlophon 43465 - B 7762-I)
- Henry Theel, Finland, 1943 (Rytmi Nto 173 - B 2036)
- José Maria Gonzalez, Antananarivo, Madagascar, April 13, 1954 (Gramophone 0LA 6890-1 - SG613 BF638)
- Luis Alberto Fleitas. Brazil, 1957 (Rádio Gravações Especializadas RGO 187 - RGE-10049-a)

In Greek historical discography, the song was recorded by Michalis Thomakos (present recording), Petros Epitropakis and the Bezos - Stipas Hawaiian (lap steel) guitars.

The Greek musical score, with lyrics by Paul Menestrel, was published in Athens by the Gaitanos publishing house under the title "Plegaria!... (Mia prosefchi)". 

This recording probably took place in Milan, given that, according to the extremely interesting report compiled by Edmund Michael Innes from the trip he made to Greece in April-May 1930 as an emissary of the British record label His Master's Voice for the purpose of collecting and recording information about the company's situation in Greece (also) in relation to the other record labels that were active in the area, Columbia used to send to Milan one of its tenors, [Michalis] Thomakos (Tomako), almost every two months in order to record its latest Western "hits".

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis, George Evangelou and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[Bianco Eduardo Greek lyrics: Unknown]
Singer(s):
Thomakos Michalis
Orchestra-Performers:
Orchestra
Recording date:
17/02/1930
Recording location:
Milan (?)
Language(s):
Greek
Dance / Rhythm:
Tango
Publisher:
Columbia (Greece)
Catalogue number:
DG 14
Matrix number:
WG 6
Duration:
2:47
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Col_DG14_Plegaria
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Plegkaria", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=9742

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See also