Singer Nelly Omar dies at 102
As with most of the famous tango singers, Nelly Omar had a nickname - hers was 'Gardel in skirts'.
Born in 1911, Nelly was smitten by Carlos Gardel in 1918 and started performing in 1924. One of ten children from a very poor family, she met Gardel when he was part of a performance organised by her father. Her father died when she was young, and she went out to work to help support the family, but her love affair with tango music had begun and her career took off when she was 'discovered' by musician-composer Ignacio Corsini. She made her name, as did many of the tango musicians, performing on radio and it was the shows on Radio Belgrano with tango greats, Libertad Lamarque and Augustin Magaldi that cemented her success.
Nelly, whose birth name was Nilda Elvira Vattuone, was not as successful in her romantic life as she was in her career. Her marriage to Omar Molina last barely 2 months, but in 1937 when she met Homero Manzi, the romance led to Manzi composing songs for Omar to sing including 'Ninguna', 'Sur' and 'Solamente'. Some say he also wrote 'Malena' for Omar, but that is disputed.
Nelly's first tango album was recorded in 1946 with the orchestra of Francisco Canaro and included on that recording are many favourites including 'Sentimiento gaucho', 'Desde el alma', and 'Nobleza de arrabal'.
In the 1940s Omar forged a close relationship with First Lady Eva Perón, which after the Revolution led to her being blacklisted. So she took her career to Uruguay and Venezeula, returning in 1972 to Buenos Aires - where she sang publicly right up to her 100th year. She died on December 20, 2013.