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Biography: Enrique Saborido

Biography: Enrique Saborido

Enrique Saborido, a legendary figure in the world of tango, was born on October 2, 1877, in the vibrant city of Montevideo, Uruguay. This bustling port city, known for its rich cultural tapestry and diverse musical heritage, would serve as the backdrop for Saborido’s early years and the beginning of his illustrious journey in music.

Family Background

Saborido was born into a family where music was more than just a pastime—it was a way of life. His father, a talented pianist, played a significant role in nurturing Enrique’s early interest in music. The Saborido household was often filled with melodies and harmonies, creating an environment that fostered creativity and musical exploration. This musical foundation laid the groundwork for Enrique’s future contributions to the world of tango.

Initial Interest in Music

From a young age, Enrique Saborido exhibited a natural affinity for music. He was particularly drawn to the piano, an instrument that would become central to his career. His early experiences with the piano were marked by a profound curiosity and a relentless drive to master the instrument. These formative years were crucial, as they shaped his musical sensibilities and set the stage for his later achievements.

Enrique’s early interest in music was not just a hobby; it was a passion that consumed much of his time and energy. He spent countless hours practicing and perfecting his skills, driven by an innate desire to express himself through music. This dedication to his craft would eventually lead him to the bustling music scene of Buenos Aires, where he would make his mark as one of the most influential figures in the history of tango.

Career Beginnings of Enrique Saborido

First Public Performances

Enrique Saborido’s journey into the world of professional music began with his first public performances in his hometown of Montevideo. These early gigs, often held in local venues and small theaters, were instrumental in honing his craft and gaining initial recognition. His performances were characterized by a unique blend of technical proficiency and emotional depth, which quickly captivated audiences. Saborido’s ability to connect with his listeners through his music laid the foundation for his future success.

Move to Buenos Aires

In his early twenties, driven by a desire to expand his horizons and further his musical career, Enrique Saborido made the pivotal decision to relocate to Buenos Aires. The move to this bustling metropolis, renowned for its vibrant cultural and musical scene, marked a significant turning point in his life. Buenos Aires, often considered the heart of tango, offered Saborido an abundance of opportunities to collaborate with other musicians and immerse himself in the evolving world of tango music.

Early Compositions

It was in Buenos Aires that Enrique Saborido truly began to flourish as a composer. His early compositions, which included some of his first tangos, quickly gained popularity within the local music scene. These works were distinguished by their innovative arrangements and emotive melodies, setting them apart from the traditional tango pieces of the time. Saborido’s talent for composition did not go unnoticed, and he soon became a prominent figure in the Buenos Aires music community.

His compositions resonated deeply with the public and contributed to the growing popularity of tango music both in Argentina and beyond. As Saborido continued to create and perform, his reputation as a skilled composer and pianist solidified, paving the way for his enduring influence on the genre. Through these early successes, Enrique Saborido established himself as a key player in the evolution of tango, a legacy that would continue to grow throughout his career.

Enrique Saborido’s early compositions played a crucial role in his rise to prominence within the tango music scene. Below is a list of some of his notable early works:

  1. La Morocha (1905)

    • One of Saborido’s most famous tangos, “La Morocha,” became an instant hit and remains a classic in the tango repertoire.

  2. Felicia (1907)

    • Another popular piece that showcases Saborido’s distinctive style and melodic prowess.

  3. La Serenata (1906)

    • A composition that highlights his ability to blend romantic elements with traditional tango rhythms.

  4. Mamá… ya no quiero más sopa (1909)

    • This piece reflects Saborido’s creative approach to tango, incorporating playful and expressive themes.

  5. El Trago (1908)

    • A tango that exemplifies Saborido’s skill in capturing the essence of the Buenos Aires nightlife and its cultural vibrancy.

  6. Vayan Saliendo (1909)

    • Known for its lively tempo and engaging melody, this composition was well-received by tango enthusiasts.

These early works not only established Enrique Saborido as a formidable composer in the world of tango but also contributed significantly to the genre’s development and popularity.

Rise to Fame

Breakthrough Work

Enrique Saborido’s rise to fame was marked by his exceptional talent for composing tangos that resonated with audiences both in Argentina and beyond. His breakthrough came with the composition of “La Morocha” in 1905. This particular piece became an instant hit, capturing the hearts of many and securing Saborido’s place as a prominent figure in the tango music scene. “La Morocha” is celebrated for its catchy melody and vibrant rhythm, which embody the essence of early tango music. This composition not only brought Saborido widespread acclaim but also contributed significantly to the popularization of tango as a genre.

Collaborations with orchestras and Influences

As his fame grew, Enrique Saborido began collaborating with some of the most prominent tango musicians and orchestras of his time. These collaborations allowed him to refine his style and expand his musical horizons. Working with notable figures such as Francisco Canaro, a legendary tango orchestra leader, and other influential musicians, Saborido was able to infuse his compositions with new ideas and techniques. These partnerships enriched his music, adding depth and complexity to his already impressive body of work. Additionally, Saborido was influenced by the rich cultural tapestry of Buenos Aires, which played a crucial role in shaping his musical style.

Enrique Saborido collaborated with and performed alongside several notable orchestras during his illustrious career. Here is a list of some of the prominent orchestras he worked with:

  1. Francisco Canaro’s Orchestra

    • One of the most famous tango orchestras of the time, led by the legendary Francisco Canaro.

  2. Roberto Firpo’s Orchestra

    • Known for its innovation and influence in tango music, Firpo’s orchestra was a significant collaborator with Saborido.

  3. Juan Maglio “Pacho” Orchestra

    • Led by Juan Maglio, a key figure in the early tango scene, this orchestra helped popularize Saborido’s compositions.

  4. Osvaldo Fresedo’s Orchestra

    • Fresedo’s orchestra was known for its sophisticated style and was another important ensemble that Saborido performed with.

  5. Anselmo Aieta’s Orchestra

    • Led by Anselmo Aieta, this orchestra was well-regarded for its contributions to tango and worked closely with Saborido.

  6. Eduardo Arolas’ Orchestra

    • Known as “El Tigre del Bandoneón,” Arolas’ orchestra was influential in the development of tango and collaborated with Saborido.

  7. Juan de Dios Filiberto’s Orchestra

    • This orchestra, led by Filiberto, was renowned for its patriotic and emotive tango pieces and performed several of Saborido’s compositions.

These orchestras played a crucial role in performing and popularizing Enrique Saborido’s works, helping to cement his legacy in the tango music world.

Performance Venues

Enrique Saborido’s regular performances at well-known tango venues in Buenos Aires further solidified his reputation as a leading tango composer and pianist. He became a familiar presence in popular venues such as the Café de los Angelitos and the Royal Pigall, where his performances drew large and enthusiastic crowds. These venues were integral to the Buenos Aires nightlife and provided a platform for Saborido to showcase his talents to a diverse and appreciative audience. His ability to connect with listeners through live performances played a key role in his enduring popularity and success.

Through his breakthrough work, influential collaborations, and memorable performances, Enrique Saborido rose to prominence in the world of tango. His contributions to the genre have left an indelible mark, influencing generations of musicians and dancers who continue to celebrate his legacy.

Collaborations with Famous Tango Dancers

Enrique Saborido collaborated with several notable figures in the tango scene during his time. His work primarily involved both composing and teaching tango, which connected him with many prominent dancers and musicians. Here are some key collaborations and associations:

  1. María La Vasca: She was one of Saborido’s most famous dance partners and collaborators. They performed together in various venues, helping to popularize tango in its early days.

  2. Carmen Calderón: Although more famously associated with El Cachafaz, Carmen Calderón also interacted within the same circles as Saborido. They were part of the tango community that frequented similar dance academies and social gatherings.

  3. Juan Carlos Cobián: A notable tango composer and bandleader, Cobián was part of the same musical and cultural milieu as Saborido. Their paths would have crossed frequently in the vibrant tango scene of Buenos Aires.

  4. La Mora: Another significant dancer during the early tango era, La Mora, was often part of the same performances and social events as Saborido, contributing to the popularization of tango music and dance.

Saborido’s role as a composer and pianist allowed him to work closely with many dancers who used his music for their performances, thus playing a crucial role in shaping the tango dance culture of the time​.

Impact of Collaborations

Enrique Saborido’s collaborations with these famous tango dancers not only enhanced his music but also contributed significantly to the evolution of tango as a performance art. The synergy between his compositions and the dancers’ interpretations brought new life to his music and helped to popularize tango on an international scale. These partnerships were instrumental in shaping the tango scene and ensuring its continued relevance and appeal.

Saborido’s ability to work with such talented dancers speaks to his versatility as a composer and his deep understanding of tango as both a musical and dance form. His legacy is not only preserved in his compositions but also in the unforgettable performances created through these collaborations, which continue to inspire and captivate audiences around the world.

Major Achievements

Iconic Compositions

Among his most celebrated works is “La Morocha,” composed in 1905, which became a cornerstone of his legacy. This tango, with its captivating melody and vibrant rhythm, quickly became a favorite among tango enthusiasts and remains a classic to this day. Another significant composition is “Felicia,” which further solidified Saborido’s reputation as a master of tango music. These pieces, along with others like “La Serenata,” “Mamá… ya no quiero más sopa,” and “El Trago,” highlight Saborido’s ability to blend traditional tango elements with his unique creative flair.

Impact on Tango

Enrique Saborido is widely considered a pioneer in shaping the early tango music style. His innovative approach to composition and performance helped to define the genre during its formative years. Saborido’s music was characterized by its emotional depth, melodic richness, and rhythmic complexity, setting new standards for tango music. His contributions not only popularized tango in Argentina but also helped to elevate it to an international audience. Through his compositions and performances, Saborido played a crucial role in the evolution of tango, influencing countless musicians and dancers who followed in his footsteps.

Recognition and Awards

Throughout his career, Enrique Saborido received numerous accolades for his contributions to tango music. His work was celebrated both in Argentina and internationally, earning him recognition as one of the leading figures in the genre. Saborido’s influence extended beyond his compositions, as he was also honored for his performances and collaborations with some of the most prominent tango orchestras of his time. The acclaim he received from both his peers and the public is a testament to the lasting impact of his work on the tango music scene.

Enrique Saborido’s major achievements highlight his pivotal role in the history of tango. His iconic compositions, innovative contributions to the genre, and the recognition he garnered throughout his career underscore his enduring legacy as a tango legend.

Personal Life


Enrique Saborido’s personal life was as rich and fulfilling as his musical career. He was married and had children, some of whom followed in his footsteps by continuing the family’s musical legacy. His household was one where the love for music was deeply ingrained, creating an environment that nurtured creativity and artistic expression. The influence of Saborido’s passion for music extended to his family, ensuring that the next generation would carry forward his contributions to tango.

Interests and Hobbies

While music was undoubtedly the central focus of Enrique Saborido’s life, he also had a keen interest in other forms of art and culture. He was particularly passionate about theater and literature, often drawing inspiration from these fields for his musical compositions. Saborido’s love for theater and literature not only enriched his personal life but also influenced his creative process, adding depth and dimension to his tango compositions. These interests reflected his broader appreciation for the arts and his desire to continually explore and engage with different cultural expressions.

Contributions to Tango

Musical Style

Enrique Saborido is celebrated for his distinctive musical style, which skillfully blended traditional tango elements with innovative features. His compositions were characterized by their melodic richness, emotional depth, and rhythmic complexity. Saborido’s ability to infuse new ideas into the traditional framework of tango music set him apart as a pioneering figure in the genre. His works often incorporated elements from other musical styles, creating a unique and dynamic sound that resonated with audiences.

Cultural Impact

Saborido’s contributions to tango went beyond his musical compositions; he played a crucial role in elevating the genre to international fame. Through his innovative approach and captivating performances, he helped to bring tango to the forefront of the global music scene. Saborido’s work was instrumental in showcasing the cultural richness and emotional intensity of tango, making it accessible and appealing to a broader audience. His efforts contributed significantly to the recognition and appreciation of tango as a major cultural and musical form.

Influence on Future Generations

Enrique Saborido’s legacy continues to inspire future generations of tango musicians and dancers. His innovative compositions and unique style have left an enduring mark on the genre, influencing countless artists who have followed in his footsteps. Saborido’s commitment to teaching and mentorship also ensured that his knowledge and passion for tango were passed down to new generations. His impact on the world of tango is evident in the continued popularity and evolution of the genre, as musicians and dancers alike draw inspiration from his work to create new and exciting interpretations of tango.

In summary, Enrique Saborido’s personal life and contributions to tango are a testament to his remarkable talent and enduring influence. His legacy as a composer, performer, and mentor continues to shape the world of tango, inspiring artists and captivating audiences around the globe.

Later Years

Continued Influence

Enrique Saborido’s influence on the tango music scene did not wane as he aged. Well into his later years, Saborido continued to compose music that resonated deeply with audiences. His compositions maintained their characteristic emotional depth and melodic complexity, ensuring that his music remained relevant and beloved. Even as new trends emerged in tango, Saborido’s work continued to be celebrated for its foundational contributions to the genre. His ability to adapt and innovate while staying true to the core elements of tango allowed him to remain a significant figure in the music world.

Teaching and Mentorship

Beyond his contributions as a composer and performer, Enrique Saborido played a vital role in nurturing the next generation of tango musicians. He dedicated a considerable portion of his later years to teaching and mentoring young talents. Saborido’s deep understanding of tango and his passion for the music made him an invaluable mentor. He shared his knowledge and skills with aspiring musicians, helping them to develop their craft and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of tango. His commitment to education and mentorship significantly contributed to the growth and sustainability of tango music, ensuring that the genre would continue to thrive.

Legacy and Death

Enrique Saborido passed away on September 19, 1941, but his legacy lives on in the world of tango. He left behind a rich repertoire of compositions that continue to be performed and cherished by tango enthusiasts around the globe. Saborido’s influence can be seen in the work of countless musicians who followed in his footsteps, inspired by his innovative approach and deep emotional expression. His contributions to tango music have been immortalized in the history of the genre, securing his place as one of its most pivotal figures. The legacy of Enrique Saborido endures, a testament to his remarkable talent and lasting impact on the world of tango.

Andreas MaierA

Andreas Maier

Researcher in Love with Tango!

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