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 e bedrune

By Juan Manuel Peña

Orchestra leader, pianist and composer
(27 June 1924 – 8 January 1996)
Full name: Ebe Nelly Olga Bedrune
Sobriquets: La Mujer Tango (The Tango Woman), La Dama Blanca (The White Lady)

woman conducting tango

She was the daughter of the composer and bandoneonist of Rosario, Abel Bedrune, with a well-known career in Rosario with his tango orchestra. Ebe started her career at age 20. She also discreetly played piano.

When she appeared she used to wear a white tail coat and had a wavy fair hair. She was tall and showed a great energy when conducting a sixteen-piece orchestra with her baton.

She had graduated as grammar school teacher at the Colegio Normal Nº 2 and as music teacher at the Conservatorio Liszt of Rosario. She furthered her music studies about argentine folk music, and she taught music at the Escuela Manuel Belgrano of Rosario. And due to her father influence she devoted herself to the music of Buenos Aires.

In an interview made in 1944 she said that her father was the first bandoneon player that spread tango in Rosario. We don’t agree with that even though he was an outstanding professional player of tango music in Rosario. Others had already dug it, according to the Rosario historian Zinni.

Bedrune Sr. was a man with a long career and in the bandoneon section of his orchestra played the great Julio Ahumada and also another great, Antonio Ríos, alongside a female vocalist that later would be the famous actress, Lola Membrives, at the Teatro Olimpo of Rosario. His orchestra was known as “Orquesta Típica Rosarina A. Bedrune”. So it is verified by the ads of the journals of that time.

Ebe used to say that «… tango is the ultimate folk expression we have at hand, a genuine product of the outskirts of Buenos Aires and of our time…».

The orchestra led by Ebe played a tango a little bit updated in comparison with the original conception. She defined it as “tango cuadrado” because it was an old, forgotten rhythm, though renewed but that reminded us of the “canyengue”.

«I think that tango is that beat. If you deprive it of that rough affirmative stop, that sober and, at the same time, eloquent beat, tango is no longer tango and is a dope…» she used to state.

She made her debut by conducting with her baton at the Industrial Exhibition of Rosario, substituting for her father who was ill then. Later she appeared at a show at the Teatro Colón of Rosario called “El tango en sus tres épocas” to great acclaim.

Thereafter, in 1942, at the Parque Independencia, under the auspices of the Municipality of Rosario she appeared at a popular ball with a twenty-piece orchestra.

She appeared professionally at different venues before arriving in Buenos Aires, successfully, maybe because of her exotica figure dressed in a white tail coat. Manuel Sucher, famous in the 40s due to his tangos co-written with Carlos Bahr was pianist of her orchestra. And in her bandoneon section there were musicians like Tomás “Cacho” Giannini. On some occasion, Osvaldo Berlingieri was also pianist of her orchestra.

Around 1943 she came to Buenos Aires and led for a short time the orchestra of another tango great: Juan Carlos Cobián. Ebe told the journalist Regina Monsalvo: «My concerns forced me to quit and move to Buenos Aires. Here I succeeded in getting a chance by maestro Juan Carlos Cobián who allowed me to rehearse conducting his orchestra in search of a new beat… I was hired to conduct at a Buenos Aires dancehall. I want you to tell them how much I have to thank maestro Cobián for this…».

She appeared with her orchestra on Radio Splendid and at the Confitería Grand Sud of Lanús. Unlike other musicians from Rosario, she was not successful in the Capital. Her father was not successful either when he appeared in Buenos Aires.

Tomás Giannini, in an interview made by Oscar Zucchi, said: «In 1950 I made a tour with her. She only conducted; she was dressed like a man. The orchestra then was: on piano José Simarro, on violins Arnik and Luis Kramer, on bandoneons Miguel Carrasco, José A. Cappiti and Maldonado, and on bass Luis Dimas…».

She carried out a fifty-year-long career and today she is completely forgotten. Among the numbers she composed “Ya se viene el chaparrón” and “Muchachita rubia” can be mentioned.