Alicia N. Marino

e was born in 245 Castro Street, between México and Independencia Avenue, in the city of Buenos Aires. His parents were Vicente Marino Sarnicola, Italian, a land surveyor and amateur poet, and Orfilia Martínez de la Rosa, educator, piano teacher and professor of drawing and painting. He was the second of four siblings.

He did not go to grade school because his mother taught him at home. She also was Jorge Caldara’s teacher. In 1917 he attended the first year of secondary school but had to quit when his father died. His dad had planned another future for Francisco Alfredo. By that time, he was fourteen, he played guitar in the parties held in the yards of his neighborhood. He had learned to play but his father did not know about it. Even though he played by ear he had a thorough knowledge of music because his mother was a piano teacher and his father also played piano. Because of that he dedicated to him his waltz “El viejo piano” with music by Farrell and Tobal. It was a daily pleasure listening to good music at home.

At a very young age he began to frequent cafés, night life and the bohemian places in downtown Buenos Aires. Blessed with perfect pitch, an excellent mezza voce sound, good intonation and diction, he was radio speaker and actor on Radio Stentor and Radio El Mundo for over thirty years.

He was the first soloist singer that appeared onstage at the Café El Nacional on Corrientes Street. Prior to his debut only all-girl orchestras and those tango aggregations that played instrumentals were the ones which used to appear. In the late 1922 tango with lyrics to be sung began to be in vogue. A paradox of life: Francisco Alfredo Marino was the first singer at that café and Alberto Marino was the last one in 1952, 30 years later. In 1924 he teamed up with Pablo Eduardo Gómez as a duo and appeared at the cabaret Casino Pigall and at the El Nacional.

Two years later he wrote “El ciruja”. One afternoon on August 12, 1926 at the El Nacional Ernesto de la Cruz suggested a challenge for his friends about who was capable of writing the most marginal lyrics with slang (lunfardo) idioms. Francisco accepted the challenge and so the tango to which de la Cruz added music was born. Its title was a Pablo Gómez’s idea and that same day he premiered it accompanied by the Orquesta Típica led by Ernesto de la Cruz at the El Nacional.

Later it was followed by “El batidor”, also with music by Ernesto de la Cruz, which was recorded by Juan Maglio (Pacho) in November 1926 and the following year by Ignacio Corsini; “Viejo tango” with music by Juan Arcuri was recorded by José Servidio as an instrumental in 1928. Roberto Firpo in 1931 committed to record a tango with the same title, written by Fava and J. C. Fernández Díaz that led to confusion and “Viejo taura” with music by Nicolás Blois which was recorded only as an instrumental by the Orquesta Típica Victor and by the singer Ítalo Goyeche with guitar accompaniment in 1927.

The Dúo Gómez-Marino recorded tango and folk music numbers accompanied by guitars for the Electra label: “Ay qué tormento” (gato), “De mi tierra” (zamba), “La carreta” (tango), “La güaina” (chacarera), “Pobre corazón” (bailecito), “Son decires” (chacarera). Thereafter he formed the Trío Iturralde-Marino-Barroso to back up Juan Carlos Marambio Catán with whom they made tours of the interior of the country and Montevideo (Uruguay).

In 1927 he married Rosa Gioia and that same year he appeared with Gómez at the homage to the Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello staged at the Café Tortoni where Carlos Gardel was also present. It was the only time that El Zorzal Criollo sang at that venue. The painter Benito Quinquela Martín was a witness of that event.

In 1928 he wrote “Llora malevo”, tango with music by Juan Emilio Nervo, which was recorded by Roberto Firpo with Teófilo Ibáñez on vocals. On April 29 his first son, Norberto Alfredo Marino, was born in Buenos Aires.

The following year he temporarily retired and moved to the province of San Juan where he worked in the Ministry of Internal Revenue Service until the coup d’état by the General José Félix Uriburu took place. On September 27 his second son, Héctor Jorge Marino, was born.

In 1930 he went on a tour of Europe invited by Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores to join his orchestra. When they were in the Strait of Gibraltar on the ship Florida, the latter sank, but despite there were several people who died, most of the passengers were rescued including all the members of the orchestra who were taken to Malaga and they were able to go on with their tour.

In 1931 he split with Geroni Flores and formed a duo with Héctor Morel with whom he appeared in Gijón, Oviedo, Bilbao, Barcelona and Madrid. They recorded for the Victor company: “El farol de los gauchos” (zamba) and “Por el camino” (zamba).

One year later he played as soloist of the Orquesta Típica Palermo and appeared at the El Lido of Madrid and at the Teatro Vital Aza of Malaga. Touring in the Spanish Africa he appeared in Tetuan and Morocco. In the late 1932 he returned to Buenos Aires with Morel who changed his name to Héctor Farrel and they split. Marino came back to Buenos Aires to reunite with his family.

Thereafter he was refrain singer (chansonnier) of the Elvino Vardaro orchestra in which Aníbal Troilo was lead bandoneon. Besides several appearances in different venues they appeared on LR9 Radio Fénix and on radio stations in Montevideo.

He appeared in musicals of Francisco Canaro: La patria del tango and Mal de amores (1936/37), he also was in revues at the Teatro Maipo alongside Dringue Farías. As well he continued with his work on radio as speaker, radio soap opera actor and art director. Even though he started on LS8 Radio Stentor, he was immediately requested by Radio El Mundo. There he changed his stage name to Alfredo Marino. In that radio station he was in its staff for twenty-eight years and ended his career as art director.

On that radio, in 1941, he was starred alongside the actor Pedro López Lagar in Wuthering heights impersonating Hemley. Later in Rebecca, an unforgettable woman, in which he was Fabel. These plays were later staged for the theater with the same cast.

By that time he wrote “Vieja volanta”, a tango with music by Ernesto de la Cruz which was recorded by Juan D'Arienzo with Alberto Echagüe on vocals on December 26, 1944; “Del pasado”, a milonga with his own music that Alfredo De Angelis recorded with Carlos Dante and Julio Martel on vocals and, also by Juan D'Arienzo with the vocalists Alberto Echagüe and Armando Laborde, both in 1945.

In the early fifties he appeared in two plays: Filomena Marturano and Panorama from the bridge with the López Lagar theater company. He also appeared in the radio cycle ¡Qué vida esta señor!, always on Radio El Mundo. In 1955 he impersonated Tío Juan (Uncle John) in the popular radio soap opera Los Pérez García. In Peter Fox lo sabía (Peter Fox Knew It) he impersonates Inspector Bergman, the detective’s assistant.

On June 30, 1972 at the Salón de la Franco Argentina he was honored as Honorary Member of the Academia Nacional del Lunfardo where the prestigious José Barcia, Juan Carlos Marambio Catán and Ricardo Turla made their speeches on the occasion.

The following year he passed away in Buenos Aires and his remains are in the Pantheon for Actors at the Cemetery of La Chacarita.

His wife Rosa, his sons Norberto and Héctor; his daughters-in-law Nélida and Norah, his grandchildren Norberto, Alicia and Jorge accompanied him and were with him up to the last moment. The beginning of that autumn tore our hearts apart like it did with the tree leaves.