Alberto Lanzarotti

here is a tango hit that is repeatedly aired in the programs of the genre and which we lately associate inevitably to the Malvinas war, even though its authors wrote it many years before. That tango was for the well- remembered Oscar Alonso one of his very good renditions. The reader might have guessed that we are talking of “La novena”, a tango written by Alfredo Bigeschi and the bandoneonist Miguel Bonano, protagonist of this note.

We have for it, what the musician himself told us, besides numerous written testimonies of his career. Among them there is a note made by the journalist Carlos Marín.

The work of Bonano began to be known in Avellaneda —his hometown—, due to his appearance with a music quartet in the opening of the Select cinema theater and also, for his performance at that theater in the times of silent movies.

In 1926 he began his studies with the teacher Bartolomé Chapela. Soon thereafter, with the guitarist Maximiliano (who played a 9-stringed guitar) and the violinist Angel Fariña, he appeared in the committees of the politician Barceló. Later he switched to the Cine Mitre, as member of the quartet led by the pianist Lía Acuña de Andreoni with Mersio on violin, Rossi on double bass, and on bandoneon, Bonano. He also played at many dancehalls in his city.

His musical quality and his background made that a pianist friend, José Márquez, would recommend him to Eduardo Bianco who was successful in Paris. Bianco summoned him and so the young Bonano left with his bandoneon and his illusions. Previously there was a farewell party for him at the Select where numerous artists performed, such as: Carlos Gardel, Azucena Maizani, Mercedes Simone, among others.

Embarked on the German ship Sierra Ventana, he arrived at the port of Boulogne Sur Mer on October 12, 1928 and from there he traveled by train to Paris. Based there, for three nights he watched the orchestra that played at the Apolo Theater and later he joined that group.

By performing in a place like that, he frequented first figures like Maurice Chevalier, Josephine Baker, the Norma and Constanze Talmaggi sisters. With the Bianco's orchestra they opened the Palace du Mediterranée. On some occasions also, they made parties at Chevalier's place.

Bonano's youth and his great facilities amazed audiences and his colleagues. His work in France was enlarged more than what was expected, since the orchestra carried out an extensive tour that included Spain, Italy, Rumania, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Germany and Switzerland. The performance of the aggregation was a boom and it was called «The famous orchestra of the kings», because they appeared before the king of Spain in San Sebastian and the queen Maria of Rumania. Likewise it was in the Villa Saboya, of Italy, where the king gave silver cuff-links to each of them. In Naples they played before Benito Mussolini.

Their performance in Turkey, in Constantinople (now Istanbul) was outstanding, where with a crowded theater and with a standing audience, they closed the show with the tango “A media luz” and then people applauded in excitement and tossed their hats off.

Again in Paris, he continued linked to Bianco until May 1929. The nostalgia for his relatives —let's think how young he was— caused him to return and on May 30, 1929 he left from Genoa towards Buenos Aires on the ship Conte Rosso.

But that trip will have a special development because, Bonano delighted tells us that, when they stopped in Barcelona, Carlos Gardel, who had appeared to great success in Spain, went aboard on that same ship going to our country.

On the Spanish port, Bonano met Irusta, Fugazot and Demare who also had appeared in the Catalan city and they told him about the Zorzal's voyage who was accompanied by Riverol and Aguilar. The encounter was touching and the voyage was marked by its days of songs, drinks and widespread happiness. But when they were to enter Buenos Aires after so long a trip, they were informed that they had to wait in quarantine because the bubonic pest had spread in the city.

When that time expired, as soon as he arrived, he began to work in the Select cinema theater, and composed the tango “Mi primer gol” which Gardel recorded.

With the arrival of the talking cinema his job came to an end and he joined the Edgardo Donato's orchestra in which he played for seven years. Then he switched to join the group Los poetas del tango which included: Miguel Nijensohn, Antonio Rodio, Héctor Artola, Miguel Bonano and Francisco Fiorentino on vocals. According to what he told us, the attempt hardly lasted the month they appeared on Radio Belgrano because the emcee Tito Martínez Del Box announced in one radio show: «Now you will listen to the true poets of tango». And Miguel Bonano assures that Canaro heard it and as he didn't like the sentence, he spoke to Yankelevich's secretary, a gentleman named Cossio, and the cancellation of the contract of those «poets» took place.

Then the Nijensohn Orchestra was formed with which they opened the Lucerna night club, on Suipacha Street. The musicians of this new enterprise were: on bandoneons, Ramos, Sayago and Bonano; violins: Sevilla and Pandolfi; double bass: El Nene Nicolini. Those players and others added later formed Lucio Demare's big orchestra. And when they were playing on Radio Belgrano Máximo Mori joined them.

The order of the different groups that Miguel joined was the following: with Roberto Zerrillo he played one year; with Rodolfo Biagi, 7 months and later played with Alberto De Caro that also had Manuel Sucher, Héctor Presas, Azara, Preboche, José De Caro and Rosita Quintana and Félix Gutiérrez on vocals. They made their debut with this orchestra in Chile. On his comeback he played in the Eduardo Bianco's orchestra at El Nacional theater, in the Arturo De Bassi's company. A great number of great musicians went to hear them there.

Subsequently he continued for four years with Ángel D'Agostino. He appeared later at the theaters El Nacional, Comedia and Maipo, as accompanist of Jovita Luna, Alba Solís and Sofía Bozán for 12 years. He had a 21-year tenure on Radio El Mundo as staff musician.

Time later, the Ahumada-Bonano orchestra was put together. It appeared to great success on Radio El Mundo. This group recorded 4 numbers for Odeon. Later he worked as treasurer in SADAIC.

Of his intense work as musician and composer, we can highlight: the above mentioned “La novena” and “Mi primer gol”, “La canción de la ribera”, “Por un te quiero”, “Presentimiento”, “Alas queridas”, “Mi querida aurora”, “Los piropos”, “Esta vuelta pago yo” and some others, some exclusively sung by Sofía Bozán.

Published in Cuadernos de Difusión del Tango, nº 14.