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Autograph by Carlos Gardel

Autograph by Carlos Gardel

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The Voice of Tango, Carlos Gardel, signs an autograph for a fan.

Autograph by Carlos Gardel. 8.5cm x 13.4cm. No indication of date, probably in the United States. Perfect state. Single piece.

Anyone who has walked through the cities on the coast of the Rio de la Plata, in the south of the Americas, knows that an air of melancholy runs through these parts of the world, not like sadness, but an indecipherable nostalgic beauty. Tango is the main symbol of this feeling. It is impossible to listen to a tango without feeling homesick. From what? Each one will say. What is not a subjective interpretation is the name of the main exponent of this musical aspect: Carlos Gardel, an elegant and vain man, who was recorded in the popular imagination with his suit and hat, as shown in the rare autographed photograph we found recently. However, the origin of this great star is uncertain, and although the currently most accepted version is that he was born in France, the singer's past is full of mysteries and adventures.

Even though Buenos Aires was Gardel's home, there are three main hypotheses for his birth, all of which at some point were told by the singer himself. In 1904, after running away from home at the age of 14, he was detained by a policeman who claimed that he had been born in France, in Toulouse, in the year 1890. As early as 1915, another version surfaced, in which he supposedly Gardel had been born in the city of La Plata, south of the Argentine capital. Years later, in 1923, Gardel had his passport drawn up declaring that he was born in Uruguay, in 1887. On each of these occasions, the King of Tango registered with slightly different spellings, Gardes, Gardez and, finally, Gardel.

But why would the singer have given such different information about his identity? It seems that Gardel wanted to get away from some unorthodox deeds committed in his past. A famous Argentine newspaper had access to the singer's criminal record and some revelations came to light that may explain his reasons.

It seems that, before his international fame, Gardel had a past as a crook. A police document from 1915 presents him as “el pibe Carlitos”, the boy Carlitos, who participated in the so-called “uncle fraud”, a scam that consisted of approaching a stranger in a bar claiming to have a rich uncle, who left an inheritance, but in a distant city. Soon, the man was asked to borrow money to go to the place to rescue the treasure, with the promise of a large compensation. Needless to say, the said nephew escaped with the money without ever sending news again, did he? But would Gardel really have participated in this type of setup?

It is impossible to guarantee the origins or past of Carlos Gardel before he became famous, but it is a fact that his voice marked the history of humanity, being part of the Memorial of the World, a Unesco program. Gardel made 957 recordings, covering 792 different themes. In addition to music, he was also a film star, recording both in France and the United States. Today, Gardel is a symbol, more than Argentine, Latin American. Sadly, the singer died at a young age, before the age of fifty, in a plane crash in Colombia. Still, he goes down in history not as a crook, but as the man who set the vibration of a continent to music.

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