Mythos Gardel – Myth of Gardel

Mythos Gardel  (English text s. below)

Carlos Gardel – die Legende. Man verbindet den berühmtesten Tangosänger aller Zeiten mit Argentinien, jedoch ist vielen nicht bewusst, dass Gardel offiziell kein Argentinier war.

Carlos Gardel wurde 1890 unehelich als Charles Gardès in Toulouse (Frankreich) geboren. Als er zwei Jahre alt war, emigrierte seine Mutter mit ihm nach Buenos Aires. Er änderte seinen französischen Namen in Carlos Gardel und machte eine beispiellose Karriere als Tangosänger in Argentinien. Gardel war nicht nur in Argentinien, sondern auch in Lateinamerika und Europa ein absoluter Star. Als er 1925 bei einem Flugzeugabsturz in Kolumbien starb, wurde er weltweit von Millionen betrauert. Sein früher Tod im Alter von 35 Jahren trug zu seinem Mythos bei.

Um Gardels Staatsbürgerschaft gab es lange Zeit Kontroversen. Um der französischen Wehrpflicht zu entgehen, wollte er die argentinische Staatsbürgerschaft annehmen. Aber Argentinien zögerte, weil es diplomatische Verwicklungen mit Frankreich fürchtete. Daher nahm Gardel über Freunde Kontakt zu Behörden in Uruguay auf und schaffte es, Papiere zu bekommen, die Tacuarembó – einen kleinen Ort im Norden Uruguays – als seinen Geburtsort auswiesen. Damit konnte er einen uruguaischen Pass erhalten.

Eine Anmerkung: Aus diesem Grund konnte auch nur Uruguay – und nicht Argentinien – 2003 den Antrag stellen, dass Gardels 770 Original-Tonaufnahmen in die Liste des UNESCO-Weltkulturerbes aufgenommen werden.

Gardel wohnte in Abasto, einem Arbeiter- und Künstlerviertel in Buenos Aires. Sein ehemaliges Wohnhaus ist heute das Museum Carlos Gardel. Das Konterfei von Gardel ist überall in Buenos Aires sehen. Das Foto zeigt ihn auf der Tür des “Teatro Ciego”, einem Theater für Blinde, das in der gleichen Straße wie das Gardel-Museum liegt.

gardel_1030221wDas Konterfei von Tangosänger Gardel am Teatro Ciego in Buenos Aires
The Portrait of tango singer Gardel at Teatro Ciego in Buenos Aires

Myth of Gardel

Carlos Gardel – the legend. When you think of the most famous tango singer of all times you automatically think of Argentina. But many people don’t know that Gardel wasn’t officially an Argentinian.

Carlos Gardel was born illegitimate in 1890 as Charles Gardès in Toulouse, France. When he was two years old, his mother emigrated to Buenos Aires with him. He changed his name to Carlos Gardel and had an unequalled career as a tango singer in Argentina. Gardel was an absolute star, not only in Argentina but also in South America and Europe. When he died in an airplane crash in Columbia in 1925, millions of fans worldwide went into mourning. His early death at the age of 34 contributed to his myth.

For a long time there were controversies about Gardel’s nationality. In order to avoid the French military service he tried to adopt Argentinian nationality. But Argentina hesitated fearing diplomatic embroilment with France. Therefore, with the help of friends, Gardel got in touch with authorities in Uruguay and succeeded in getting a document stating that he was born in Tacuarembó, a small town in the North of Uruguay. Thus he could get a Uruguayan passport.

A footnote: For this reason only Uruguay – and not Argentina – could file an application in 2003 for Gardel’s 770 original recordings to be included in the list of the UNESCO world cultural heritage.

Gardel lived in Abasto, a working class and artist neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. Today his former house is the Museum Carlos Gardel. His portrait can be seen everywhere in Buenos Aires. The photo shows him in the entrance of the “Teatro Ciego”, a theater for the blind, situated in the same street as the Gardel Museum.

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