Oscar Zucchi
| Néstor Pinsón

El bulín de la calle Ayacucho - A well-furnished apartment and its visitors

he lyrics of “El bulín de la calle Ayacucho belong to Celedonio Flores and the music to the brothers José and Luis Servidio. It has been a number with a wide popular acclaim.

The brothers used to sign together without caring whose part was more important. So there were numbers entirely composed by Luis and other ones by José. But when José was asked about “El bulín de la calle Ayacucho” he said it entirely belonged to him.

Celedonio had already written “Margot” and “Mano a mano” and, in 1923 he sent the lyrics of this new tango to José Servidio who was playing at the Café ABC demolished not long ago and which was located on the now Córdoba Avenue (then Rivera) and Scalabrini Ortiz (then Canning).

Referring to Negro Cele, José said: «We were friends since childhood. He lived on Velazco Street between Malabia and Canning. I composed the music in a couple of days. The apartment really existed on 1443 Ayacucho Street. It was a cozy little room in which we did not even miss mice.

«We used to meet every Friday and those who were ever present were Juan Bautista Fulginiti, the singer Francisco Martino -the one who was with Gardel. The singer Paganini of the Paganini-Ciacia duo, Fernando Nunziata, by then in the Cicarelli-Nunziata duo, skinny Solá, singer, guitar strummer and a privileged throat for liquor and I. Ciacia always used to cook a stew. In the apartment there was a frying pan and a «brownie» (one of those large worn-out pots). The owner was Julio Korn who lent it to Celedonio. There we used to drink mate and chat a lot. But everything was over when negro Cele began his engagement with a girl in the late 1921».

But this tango hides some mysteries. In a note written by Roberto Selles for the Crónica journal he poses the doubt of the authorship by the Servidios and, at the end of it, he said verbatim: «According to what Arturo Bernardo told us, the lyrics were given, at first, to his sister Paquita Bernardo. It seems that as she did not write the music to it, Flores delivered it to José Martínez, who, according to what Luis Adolfo Sierra told us, he was the true composer who later gave the melody to the Servidio brothers».

The tango was published by a schoolteacher named Lamy who had a printing house on 4366 Paraguay Street. And it became famous at the Teatro Soleil performed by the Todarelli-(Luis)Mandarino duet that was accompanied by the then guitarist Humberto Canataro.

Even though it was recorded many times and that it achieved a wide acclaim, the Servidios did not get much money from that. The premiere performance on record was Carlos Gardel’s rendition. He recorded it in Odeon of Barcelona in 1925 —accompanied by José Ricardo— and, the following year, in Buenos Aires —with the guitarists Guillermo Barbieri and Ricardo.

Francisco Lomuto recorded it in 1925 as an instrumental. Later, in June 1941 Aníbal Troilo with the vocalist Francisco Fiorentino committed it to disc. Thereafter, Fiorentino with José Basso in 1949. Once again Troilo, this time with Roberto Goyeneche in 1971 and among some others, Edmundo Rivero.

Juan Bautista Fulginiti, one of its frequent visitors, was born in Genoa, Italy, on June 16, 1895. At age 20 he was attracted by payada (ad lib singing) and he devoted his singing to social subjects. He was member of a trio with Luis Acosta García and Estela, wife of the latter. They were known as Los Últimos Gauchos. He died in Buenos Aires on December 2, 1951. He was author of the tango “Llorando la carta”.

Francisco Martino was born in Buenos Aires on May 6, 1884 and died on May 25, 1938. Singer and guitar plucker, he was the first to team up with Gardel as a duo. Razzano was already there but for that tour he was unavailable due to an illness. They appeared in different towns until they reached La Pampa. A prolific author, Gardel recorded eleven of his numbers.

Fernando Nunziata, another one of the frequent visitors to the apartment, appeared as singer at the main venues of that time and also he was at first-level theater companies like the ones of Pablo Podestá, Muiño-Alippi, Enrique de Rosas, Arata-Simari and others. He as well worked at circuses and with one of them he got to the province of Corrientes in 1914. There he met Juan Carlos Marambio Catán with whom he went on tour and reached Asunción in Paraguay. His true family name was Nunciato. He was born in Italy in 1892 and died in the province of Córdoba on June 29, 1926. His voice was recorded in a large number of records.

As for Luis Mandarino, he was born in the area of El Abasto. For some years he appeared at venues of the Capital city until he teamed up with Todarelli and went to Paris. So nearly all his recordings were made in France and also in Spain and Germany. He was a composer and his pieces were committed to disc by renowned orchestras.

Some recordings of “El bulín de la calle Ayacucho”:

Carlos Gardel, with guitar by José Ricardo (1925)
Carlos Gardel, with guitars by Barbieri y Ricardo (1926)
Orchestra Aníbal Troilo, with Francisco Fiorentino (1941)
Orchestra José Basso, with Francisco Fiorentino (1949)
Orchestra Héctor Varela, with Rodolfo Lesica (1951)
Jorge Vidal, with guitars and string orchestra (1962)
Edmundo Rivero, with guitars (1967)
Tito Reyes, with guitars by Roberto Grela (1969)
Orchestra Aníbal Troilo, with Roberto Goyeneche (1971)
Tango Por 3 Tercet, Federico-Berlingieri-Cabarcos (1972)
Tercet Federico-Britos-Cabarcos (1977)
Orchestra Ricardo Martínez, with Armando Laborde (1980)
César Consi, with guitars by Consi, Ferreyra and Palacios (1985)
Alfredo Sáez, with Orchestra Pedro Mancini (1986)
José Luis Pepe Guerra and his group (1993)
Tito Reyes, with Ríos-Domínguez-Nebbia (1996)
Los Sabandeños qith Héctor González (1997)
Tangosur Tercet (1999)
Octet Octango, by Lucho Servidio (2001)
Bardos Cadeneros, with Hernán Lucero (2004)
Jorge Dobalo, with bandoneon by Antonio Pisano (2005)
Quartet Palais de Glace
Amadeo Mandarino and Dúo Fidicaro-Orcese
Los Cuatro Del Tango
Walter Yonsky, with orchestra
Tito Reyes, with Orchestra Ernesto Baffa
Josefina, with orchestra