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Carlos Gardel is waiting for you at La Chacarita

Published: 2017.07.10 - 15:35:02   /  /  Laura Barrera Jerez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

Carlos Gardel is waiting for you at La ChacaritaThere are still those who question the birthplace of Carlos Gardel, the man whose voice has been declared "Memoria del Mundo". The versions have indicated three countries: France, Uruguay and Argentina. However, during his lifetime, the Morocho del Abasto evaded the issue: it seemed it was not important for him. Perhaps that is why his legend was not marked around his birthplace, but the silent and symbolic border where his remains lie.

Although Carlos Gardel died when he was only 45 years old, his lifetime and tangos were enough to create great privileges: in Argentina he is considered to be one of the two most famous deceased miracles of the cemetery to the west of the City of Buenos Aires, a place known as La Chacarita.

On June 24, on the anniversary of his death, many Gardel fans gather before his grave to access the crypt if they open the doors. On occasion, members of the Asociación Amigos de Carlos Gardel have organized visitors' entrance. Two coffins are seen in the sacred place: in the upper one is the artist and in the other his mother rests.

There are many devotees who trust in the powers of the singer: they lean on the coffin, talk, give thanks, and ask for favors ... The legend has spread in such a way that even when they cannot access inside, the visitors trust in the coldness of the marble that covers the pantheon: they touch it with their hands and pray, as if from the interior a saving force will emerge with the same mystical tone of those emblematic tangos.

Outside there is also a statue that perpetuates his figure: smiling, as in the fullness of his life, ready to receive all imaginable offerings. This is what the researcher María Julia Carozzi of the Catholic University of Argentina tells us: "Cementerio del Oeste. June 24, 2003. A member of the Gardelian Association and a girl who looks like her granddaughter, standing by the statue of Gardel, make order the flowers brought by the arriving visitors and light the cigarettes they will place one after another, in its right hand. The space between the left arm of the statue and its body has been filled with flowers. Red carnations abound. They have also placed a racing badge on the lapel of the singer. A man sings excitedly, with a white flower in his hand, looking into the eyes of that smiling statue that is Gardel in front of his singing.’’

On June 24, 1935, the singer died in a plane crash in Medellín, Colombia. On February 5, 1936, his remains returned to Buenos Aires. They say that 30 thousand people waited for the coffin and that would be only the beginning of extensive venerations.

Amongst flowers, cigarettes and prayers, many plaques have been placed on the exteriors of his tomb in gratitude for his concessions. There are affectionate memories of Uruguayan, Cuban, Mexican, Brazilian, Chilean, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Colombian, Dominican, Venezuelan, German, French, Spaniards, Japanese, Americans ... There you can make out the twinkling of the far-off lights that signal his return. “Returning with wrinkles on my forehead, the snows of time have silvered my brow. Feeling that life is just a sigh, that twenty years is nothing, that my feverish gaze adrift in the shadows searches for you and calls out your name. Living with my soul bound to a sweet memory that makes me weep yet again..."

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