"El Tano Genaro", 1920's
For the first eight years of my life in Paris, I was brought up to the sound of the bandoneon played by my father. He died in February 1944. It was the war and times were hard. I moved. I spent three years in an orphanage learning a trade. Gradually I lost all the memorabilia of my father except for one crumpled photo.
It was not until many years later when I started dancing tango again that I met people connected to the world of tango and learnt the importance of my father in its history.
If I had not rediscovered the dance, my father would have remained just a memory for me. But now I have some of his recordings, photos and stories of his life.
Genaro Espósito printed on a record from Fotosonor 1935-36
In this endeavour, I am particularly indebted to Edouard Pecourt, one of the major collectors and historians of tango, to whom I owe photos, sheet music, CDs and original 78 records. He also helped me in my quest to trace the family of my half brother. And he introduced me to the President of the Academia Nacional del Tango in Buenos Aires, the eminent Horacio Ferrer, poet, writer and librettist of the opera “Maria de Buenos Aires”. Unfortunately, Edouard passed away in 2008.
All that would not have happened if I would not have met Linda Lee Thomas. I was invited to a reception at her home in honour of the famous bandoneonist, Néstor Marconi, with whom she had played at the Orpheum theatre, and there I met Bertram Levy, a doctor and now full time bandoneon player, who introduced me to Edouard Pecourt.
Linda Lee Thomas, the extremely talented pianist from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, took to the music of tango with a passion equal to her talent. She very graciously included in her repertoire a tango of my father, “Nelly” and made it sound better than the original.
My friends, Lucio Grave and Elena Dopiro, then came up with the idea of creating a web site about Genaro Esposito and spent countless hours putting it together for me.
To all of you, I am forever grateful.
As tango dancers, most of us admire those amazing performers and renowned teachers who travel the world, and who, for the great majority, come from Argentina, and the Mecca of tango, Buenos Aires, birthplace of this unique dance. But it never fails to surprise me how little we know of its history, its musicians, or how it could have come about. Much has been written about it, but little retained, and even less understood. Many professional dancers possess only a superficial knowledge of its history, the path followed from the very primitive sound of the early orchestras to the golden age of tango, to the classical quality of the music of Astor Piazzolla.
So I would like to introduce you to a musician of the very early infancy of tango, the so called “Guardia Vieja”, whom I knew well - my father Genaro Espósito and his orchestra “ El Tano Genaro”.