Federico Silva

Real name: Silva Iraluz, René Federico
Lyricist and journalist
(5 January 1920 - 4 February 1986)
Place of birth:
Montevideo Uruguay
Ricardo García Blaya

his interesting Uruguayan lyricist is a true representative of the Romantic school that, mainly, sprung up in the forties. Even though he admired Homero Expósito's writing —not precisely a pure romantic—, in his beginnings, his style is closer to José María Contursi’s.

Horacio Ferrer, does not deny what is above said, but he says that his work is marked by Expósito’s influence, that later evolves until determining a more personal style.

In spite of these subtle differences, it turns out evident that Silva in the sixties expresses a direct poetry, that keeps the romantic and sentimental nature, but with a design less formal and more modern.

According to Gobello: «He was a lyricist with great practice, gifted with good taste and certain literary decorum learnt, surely, in his work as journalist. It is not very little but, being more, it is not enough to be regarded as poetry». (Tangos, Letras y Letristas, Editorial Corregidor.)

His first tango was “Déjame verte”, in 1943. Later came “Pena de luna”, (with music by Sebastián Piana), “Letra de tango”, “Flor amarga” (José Puglia and Edgardo Pedroza), “Sin estrellas”, “Vencida” and “Murga de pibes” (with Donato Racciatti). In the late fifties another successful series starts with “Hasta siempre amor” (Donato Racciatti), “Que falta que me hacés” (Armando Pontier and Miguel Caló), “El puente” (Armando Pontier), “Vos y yo corazón” (Luis Stazo), among many others of that period.

Federico Silva was above all a journalist. He began as a chronicler at the newspaper El País —the most important in Uruguay—, in 1937. He was later sports editor of El Diario evening paper, where he signed his notes with the pseudonym Esfiel. In 1938 he went on writing about show business at the Cine Radio Actualidad magazine. He joined later, between 1955 and 1965, the staff of the weekly magazine Marcha, which was a publication that gathered intellectuals and politicians, to release chronicles about music and tango.

He as well wrote for the magazines Tangueando, of Montevideo, and Cantando of Buenos Aires. As a veteran chronicler of El País paper, he was responsible, since 1958 to 1960, of the special edition published by that periodical in each anniversary of Gardel’s death in its Suplemento Familiar.

As interesting information it is worthwhile saying that Federico Silva always wrote about Gardel with the conviction of his French origin and acknowledging doña Berta’s motherhood. He have the above mentioned copies of the Suplemento Familiar where he expresses directly this opinion.

In the sixties he wrote “Tal vez mañana” (Donato Racciatti), “Amor de verano”, “Desconocidos” and one of the tangos I like most “Ya vuelvo” (all them with Luis Stazo).

In 1968, he wrote 12 numbers for a release by the Victor label, with the singer Roberto Goyeneche accompanied by the Aníbal Troilo orchestra. All the numbers were composed by Armando Pontier. Among them stand out: “Palermo en octubre”, “Cielo de cometas”, “Otra vez Esthercita” and “Nuestro Buenos Aires” which was the title theme of the LP.

Besides lyricist and journalist, Federico Silva also wrote interesting books: Informe sobre Gardel, Informe sobre Sosa and Informe sobre Troilo, and had an important performance on radio as director of the program Motivos populares which was aired for over twenty years, through the radio stations Sport, El Espectador and Montecarlo of Montevideo.

Evidently, his greatest hits were the above mentioned tangos “Hasta siempre amor” and “Qué falta que me hacés”, which have many recorded renditions and were included in the songbooks of the most important singers of the period.

As for “Qué falta que me hacés” it turns out interesting to know that it was premiered on Radio El Mundo by the Miguel Caló Orquesta de las Estrellas (all-stars orchestra), on April 15, 1963. Some days before, on April 11, when it was rehearsed with the singer Alberto Podestá, the manager of the orchestra, José María Suñé, had to ask Federico Silva to leave the place due to his bothering suggestions about how it had to be sung. The co-authorship by Miguel Caló is for pure commercial reasons, because he had nothing to do with the creation of the piece.

Photos: From the El País, newspaper of Montevideo, provided by Raúl Montero.