Ella Es Así (1938) - the milonga par excellence. The inspired arrangement is the funkiest thing, obviously inspired by his life in Montevideo.
I personally play Donato every time I dj, no exceptions.
With a totally different approach to arrangement, orchestration and rhythm, violinist Donato has a special place in the hearts of dancers crazy for tango and milonga. A very unique style accented by his use of women singers - considered a brave approach in tango, as the only other leader featuring women was Canaro. He loved the sound of multiple voices to enrich his arrangements.
Tango being what it is and where it came from and what it endured, there aren't a light of light moments in it. Donato who grew up with and seriously studied opera, nonetheless could/would not suppress an infectious sense of humour. Gawd love him for that.
He was born in Buenos Aires but his family moved to Montevideo and that's where he grew up.
It's interesting to note that his break-out from a strict opera education came by playing a a jazz band. And he started composing tangos.
He started getting noticed with a few songs. And then when he was around 27 he wrote - A Media Luz. Soon it was recorded by Canaro, Firpo and Gardel. You don't get any more noticed than that.
Interesting to note that it was first performed in a stage revue by a woman. Perhaps this is why he was determined to always have glorious womens' voices when most of tango wouldn't hear of it.
His next big hit composition was named after a club in Montevideo, T.B.C. Groups are still recording this today, it's so beautiful.
He formed his own orquesta and spent the next few years playing in clubs and on the radio and recording. In 1933 he was in the first the first "talkie" movie ever made in Argentina.
He was to compose more than 200 tangos.
Edgardo, with a big band and rich sound, made music for dancing, pure and simple. Rhythmic, playful, melodic - his music brings happiness. Composed many hits: A Media Luz, Pensalo bien, El huracán, El acomodo, Mi serenata, Riachuela and more. - including some candombe hits.
You could say he was doing the D'Arienzo-Biagi style long before they became known for it.
Donato was seldom played before 2000 outside of Argentina. I got my first exposure in a fabulous way: in a milonga class with Miguel Angel Zotto in Miami. It was a life-changing experience because I not only got the sound, I got the picture. Miguel is something else as a dancer (and the best rock 'n roll dancer I think I have ever seen). When he dances milonga, time stops for me. Miguel was playing Ella Es Así over and over. I went crazy for it from that moment.
I immediately went searching for Donato material and was hugely disappointed by the bad technical quality of the recordings I found. So, I went to work restoring them.
At the core of the band is the playing of Anselmo Aieta. He plays such a sweet and tender bandoneón. Interestingly, Donato used an accordian as well to introduce a different harmonic into his wonderful sound.
Just have to say - Edgardo speaks to me in such a unique way. I recall being new to tango and hearing him (the technical quality of his RCA distributed records is awful - what a shame) and just not getting it at all. I still wonder what was wrong with me. He is off on his own absolutely inspired planet. Perhaps only the lucky and maybe the slightly touched can ever go there! I've got my ticket and am at the front of the line looking to dance the way I want to and Edgardo knows what that is.