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Poetas
Carlos Varela

Singer
(16 July 1909 – 21 December 1996)
Full Name: Carlos Alberto Varela
More Varela:
e was born in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Flores. His prolific parents brought to life ten children, five boys and five girls. Despite his big family and that getting money meant a great effort he succeeded in attending school and was able to finish grade school. But secondary school that he had begun at the Mariano Moreno high school was interrupted on his own decision. He wanted to be independent, to have money, so his parents accepted it with the same benevolence as when they heard him singing in contests with other kids of his age.

He looked for a job and was errand boy in a shop. Some years later he became clerk in the telephone company. But he discovered that he was able to devote himself to professional singing. His family, as usual, backed him and an uncle of his introduced him to show business. The event took place on Radio Prieto. He was twenty years old and he appeared, among others, accompanied by the pianist Orestes Cufaro. It was a pleasant learning that lasted several months.

After that experience, one of the boy friends whom he used to meet, the lyricist Vicente Planells del Campo (author of “Honda tristeza” and “Ave sin rumbo”), introduced him to Roberto Firpo who auditioned and hired him. Vicente was an employee at the “Álvarez y Cabana” tailor’s shop. As he was good looking he worked as a living dummy (mannequin vivant), proudly walking a round trip along Florida street wearing the suits advertised by the shop.

By that time recordings were the main activity of this musician. Once a week, the members of his orchestra met in the studios located on the upper floor of the Grand Splendid cinema theater, on Santa Fe Avenue near Callao. Varela began in the late 1929, but the recording and the release of the discs date back to some months later. His debut was on February 27, 1930 with the tangos “A Montmartre” and “¡Qué querés con ese loro!”. According to the discography consulted, during that year he cut 68 numbers, most of them tangos, but also waltzes, fox trots, pasodobles, rancheras and some other fashionable beats. Before the end of the year and for some public appearances, Firpo formed a trio with Miguel Nijensohn (piano), Héctor Presas (bandoneon), D’Amore (violin) and Carlos Varela (refrain singer).

In 1931 he had no activity alongside the maestro because he made a long tour throughout the towns of the province of Buenos Aires along with the pianist José Plá. Thereafter he joined a small outfit led by the pianist Pedro Vergez, former pianist of Juan Guido, to appear at different venues but among them it’s worthwhile to highlight the “Germinal” café on Corrientes Street.

In 1932 he returned to Firpo and to recording sessions. That year they were four, eight in 1933, twenty the following year, eighteen in 1935, eleven in 1936, five in 1937 and the last one in August 1938. In a few numbers one of the bandoneon players of the group, Héctor Villanueva, sang a second voice, in others, the violinist Enrique Forte, (composer of the tango “A Belisario Roldán”) did it.

In 1933, along with Firpo, he was starred in the film “Dancing”, directed by Luis Moglia Barth. In it he sings  “Desde pebeta”. And in 1935 they recorded “Cero a cero”, a tango frequently aired in soccer stadiums before the beginning of the matches.

After the stage with the maestro he went on his own. He appeared at several night clubs in vogue and made some stints as substitute singer in the aggregation led by Nijensohn. In 1940 he appeared on Radio Belgrano as singer of the light music orchestra conducted by Eugenio Nóbile. His songbook was comprised of Italian songs. On the above mentioned radio station he met two tango men that, like him, took advantage of an occasional job. They were Alfredo Gobbi and Eduardo del Piano.

He could have been a singer for D’Arienzo, but on one audition the choice was Alberto Reynal. In 1941 he was staff singer for Miguel Nijensohn. An anecdote he used to tell as a curiosity of his tenure on Radio Belgrano is as follows: Antonio Rodio had been hired by the radio station but an important detail made it difficult: he had no orchestra for the debut. His friend Nijensohn found the  solution: he lent the former his orchestra with he himself on piano.

Since 1943 and for three years he was member of the group headed by Enrique Forte. In 1946 for a short time he joined the Miguel Zabala’s outfit whose other vocalist was Carlos Pellegrini, true name of who later would be known as Jorge Maciel.

In 1948 he became friends with José García, the leader of  “Los Zorros Grises”, who had decided to disband his orchestra. However, as he had some offers to work in the interior of the country he put together a small group for that purpose. He, as bandleader and violinist, his brother Pablo and Pablo González (bandoneons), Carlos Parodi (piano) and Varela on vocals. So wandering around they got to the city of Villa María, Córdoba, where they were offered to play at the Hotel Primavera. Soon thereafter problems arose among the boys and García, together with González and Varela, not only decided to stay but also to buy the hotel and be the musicians in charge of playing in the evenings. The partnership lasted until 1951. By that time he came to know his second wife whom he married in 1953.

In 1961 he moved to Rosario and time later —according to a short note published— he became a transportation entrepreneur until the time of his retirement. For several years he weekly went to the “Rincón de Lito Bayardo” where a group of regular customers, among them someone we know, Francisco Ubaldi, told us: «the chats and reminiscences by don Carlos Varela were like daydreaming».