Mario Soto

Real name: Soto, Mario
Lyricist, commentator and actor
(20 August 1912 - 20 April 1995)
Place of birth:
La Plata (Buenos Aires) Argentina
Abel Palermo

e was born in the city of La Plata, capital of the province of Buenos Aires. Since an early age he had a liking for poetry. In the parties at school he was always the pupil chosen to recite at the celebrations.

As a teenager he began to write poems and, later, small theater plays that were staged in clubs or in venues of his neighborhood. He even led his own group of independent theater.

In the late 30s he decided to settle in the capital with the idea of working as an actor or scriptwriter but he was not very lucky. But fortunately he was acquainted with the bandoneonist Alfredo Attadía who introduced him to maestro Ángel D'Agostino. Immediately he became the agent of the orchestra and also who presented them in the shows.

In October 1941, with Ángel Vargas on vocals, they recorded the first number with lyrics by Soto, the milonga “Compadreando”. And in December they cut “El Yacaré”, a tango dedicated to the jockey Elías Antúnez, written by the same authors. The following year, and featuring the bandoneonist Ismael Spitalnik, they recorded the beautiful but not well known tango, “Todo terminó” and, finally, “Me llaman tango”, written by Emilio De Caro.

Vargas and Attadía split with D’Agostino to form their own orchestra and with them went the lyricist to carry out the same role as before. This was for a short time because the singer returned to the bandleader of his greatest hits. After this attempt, he joined Pedro Laurenz.

In 1949, on recommendation by Spitalnik, he joined the Osvaldo Pugliese Orchestra with which he would reach his definitive consecration when in July 1951 was recorded, with Alberto Morán on vocals, “Pasional”, one of the most paradigmatic tangos of the popular repertory. This number also meant a turning point for the singer and became one of the romantic tangos most requested by the audience. The drama of its lyrics and the brilliant Morán’s interpretation turned out a perfect formula. Later another recording of one of his numbers came, also with music by Jorge Caldara: “Por pecadora”.

As from 1954, El Flaco (The Skinny) began his stage as soloist and commissioned Armando Cupo for the leadership of his orchestra and Soto as his agent and manager of his appearances.

Morán recorded “Pasional” twice more in his career. In 1955, with Armando Cupo and, at the end of his career, in 1986, with the background of the orchestra led by Alberto Di Paulo. He also successfully performed another piece written by Soto, the tango “Muchachita de barrio”, a watercolor of the period, romantic and quite representative of his style. Its music was composed by Cupo. Furthermore, they both wrote the lyric of “Mientras quede un solo fueye”. Other numbers of his that were committed to record were “Juntos” and “Una vida más”, both with music by Cupo and recorded by Morán.

Several years passed and Soto embarked on a long travel to Europe and was based in Spain where he succeeded in working as an actor and poet. He appeared in movies and in different shows.

In 1988, he returned to Argentina and decided to settle in his hometown where he spent his last years devoted to writing. He published a book entitled Pobre Cristo.

He died at age 82 but my memory recalls the years when he was young and had a vibrant voice that announced «Our tango is here, here’s Osvaldo Pugliese and his boys!»