July 28, 2021

“La balsa”, the anthem of Los Gatos that was born in a bathroom and became the first cry of national rock

“A few months ago, in the recording studios of RCA Victor, Los Gatos recorded their first single album in 33 revolutions with topics titled ‘The Raft‘ Y ‘Just yesterday‘, no one would imagine that from that moment on a new and own style of’ beat ‘music was positively defined in Spanish, “the record company described in a press release. The success was not immediate. The subject had to navigate and overcome high waves to reach a good port.

The members did not hesitate to go out to promote it with the expectation of getting some repercussion. “It appeared without pain or glory. At that time, a company put all its support on the A side of the 33 single, on which it depended on the artist to be able, in the future, to perform the long play. Side B was almost always a filler which, in general, was not then included in the LP We toured the radios night after night, looking for someone who would like to spend it even once. Many times we approached the operator’s cabin and gave him the disc, telling him that we were a new group “, recalled Litto Nebbia, author of” La Balsa “with Tanguito, in his book”I sound band”.


The musician added: “The skinny guy would tell you ‘Leave it to me later, maybe.… in the middle of the newsletter, I can spend a little time with you ”, recalled Litto Nebbia, author of the classic with Tanguito, in his book“ My soundtrack ”. The effort had its reward. After a few months, the song began to play on radio and record stores. It became fashionable and began to sell more and more and exceeded 200 thousand copies.

Los Gatos were with a show in Paso de los Libres when they found out that the simple was working and that the company had taken an interest. Thanks to this, the band agreed to record his first album which also reached the top of sales. The simple “Wind, tell the rain” Y “Let me seek happiness”, As side B, which also sold very well.

The group, who completed Ciro Fogliatta (keyboards), Alfredo Toth (in low), Oscar Moro (battery) and Kay Galifi (on guitar), without imagining it, he laid the foundation stone of national rock. Although a year earlier, in June 1966, The Beatniks, the band made up of Moris and Pajarito Zaguri, released “Rebel”, Los Gatos was the first cry that marked his generation.

“I am very lonely and sad here in this abandoned world”

With this phrase the topic starts. Tell the story that he went to Tanguito (aka Ramses VII) who came up with that first part. It was the spark, the trigger for the rest. The delivery room was the La Perla confectionery, a historic nighttime meeting point for college students and young bohemians. It was the place where those first rockers arrived when La Cueva closed, since it was open 24 hours a day.

I was interested in what he was singing. He said, ‘I don’t know how to complete it.’ He played the first verse, I picked up the guitar and finished. He was born in two minutes ”, Litto confided to La Viola. Also, the musician and composer recognized that it was a difficult time for boys who wanted to differentiate themselves with music. “One of the issues is that we needed freedom of expression, and not so much criticism from our elders. I looked for the concept of a raft as a synonym for freedom. If we wrote it very directly, they could censor us ”.

“It came out naturally. You don’t think about it. When you have an armed group with a vocation, you want it to sound good. You never do it looking for something special”, He defined. The renowned journalist Pipo Lernourd -author of “Ayer Nomás” with Moris- witnessed the birth of the hit and reminded this medium: “I was there the day it was composed. Litto went down to the bathroom and listened to Tanguito, who shut himself up in private rooms to play the guitar, had a very special sound. He told her it was good. They sat down with us and finished it together ”.

LOS GATOS. Oscar Moro Alfredo Toth Kay Galifi Litto Nebbia y Ciro Fogliatta

In another interview with La Viola, Javier Martínez (singer and drummer for Manal) added a specific piece of information to the reconstruction of the story. “It wasn’t really the bathroom. But since La Perla was about 70 meters long, it almost reached the other block. About Rivadavia he was about 40. It was not the bathroom, it was the corridor that led to the bathroom that was about 30 meters and that it had a special acoustics ”. .

What was the origin? There are various theories. A lonely young man, abandoned, with a certain oppression of the time, who seeks his freedom. The possibility of “wrecking” without being disturbed. It was born singing softly, in a bar, with the intention not to disturb the customers. A quiet bossa nova with improvised lyrics. Creation flowed in one go.

According to Pajarito Zaguri, in an interview with Víctor Pintos for the magazine Expreso Imaginario ”, Tanguito had her in mind for some time. “One morning we were at his house in Caseros, and the bolero“ La Barca ”was played by José Feliciano on the radio. We were eating something and talking about I don’t know what, and suddenly Tango said something like ‘Lindo, eh’. It had stuck with the song”. “Today my beach is dressed in bitterness, because your boat has to leave to cross other seas of madness. Take care not to shipwreck in your life “, describes the lyrics of the bolero composed in 1957 by Mexican Roberto Cantoral.

“In the bathroom of La Perla del Once you wrote ‘La balsa'”

Jose Alberto Iglesias -Tanguito’s real name- was born in Caseros, on September 16, 1945, into a working family. His nickname was born in adolescence, because he liked to dance rock and roll. This is how his companions baptized him Los Dukes, in 1963. They jokingly called him “dance a tanguito” and he responded by improvising with his rock steps.

His recording debut with his group was with a song by Palito Ortega and Dino Ramos, “Say why don’t you want” Y “Mi Pancha”, a composition of his. A year later, in January 1964, the group released a new single “Carnival, carnival” by Ball and Roger (in Spanish) and “Maquillada” by Freddie Cora.

The group came to share the stage with Sandro and Los de Fuego, the Pick Ups and Bobby Cats, whose singer was Billy Bond. Soon after, the singer left the group and started a sort of solo career.

By the authorship of “The Raft”, Tanguito collected a large sum of money. “One afternoon, together with Miguel Abuelo, they walked around the center buying records like Donovan, Beatles, Clapton, Dylan, Bloomfield, Sandro and some of the Beach Boys. His musical taste was wide. He also liked The Yardbirds, The Four Seasons, BB King, The Teen Tops, and the Rolling Stones. With a huge pile of long plays, Tango decided to take them home. it was night. They took a taxi downtown and together with Miguel they left for ‘Caseros City’ ”, described a note published in April 1982, in the magazine Imaginary Express.

“He ordered the tachero to stop, he downloaded several records, he gave some to Miguel to help him and others – many – remained in the car. Of course, he had not a penny left to pay for the trip. He started running and got into a neighbor’s house. Miguel behind, dying of laughter. The tachero waited for them to pay him, to the honks, and the two crazy people who don’t appear anymore. The taxi driver had to return to the center with the discs as payment”, He completed about the curious anecdote.

On that erratic musical path, Tanguito had several songs to record. In 1968, the RCA label called him to record a simple, accompanied by the orchestra of Horacio Malvicino. There were two topics that were recorded: “The golden princess” Y “The remaining man “ (composed with Javier Martínez).

The album went on sale on April 4, under the artistic pseudonym of Ramses VII, but it did not have repercussions, which caused the termination of the contract. Soon after, he became involved with the recently created Cassava label. Two years later, the musician had the opportunity to record at the TNT studios with the members of Manal. On the first and second date, Tanguito did not appear. In the third, he was only in the Martínez studio.

The artist recorded only with his voice and his guitar the songs “Natural”, “Amor de primavera”, “All day I wonder”, and “La balsa”, among others. A raw and stripped sound. From that session the phrase was immortalized: “In the bathroom of La Perla del Once you wrote ‘La balsa’”From Javier, who from the control, together with the recording technician, asked the singer to interpret his version of the success. After refusing on several occasions, Tanguito agreed to do it.

At the end of the spring of that year, the compiled Let’s order pears from Cassava, in which his song “Natural” was included, with a good response from the critics. The completed material would only be published in 1973. “A long play by Tanguito that no one was interested in releasing when he was alive, will be put into circulation now, after his death,” the magazine reported. Fur, in its number 36.

Tanguito began to live on the street. I had nowhere to go at night. He was submerged in amphetamines and living on borrowed money. His situation became increasingly serious and he ended up in the Borda Hospital. On May 19, 1972, he was found dead on the side of the train tracks, near Puente Pacífico, meters from Juan B. Justo Avenue, at the height of Demaría Street. It was never known if it was an accident or someone pushed him. Without seeking to transcend, Tanguito remained in history for swimming against the current. The first national rock myth.