Abel Palermo

mong the features that we may highlight of this good native baritone are: the color and the strength of his voice, his clear diction, without affected ways or exaggerations and his tango phrasing.

He was born in La Coruña, Spain. His parents were José and Antonia Barbeito. In the late twenties they settled in Buenos Aires, a city where he would grow up together with his three siblings.

When he was a teenager he discovered Gardel and began to sing the numbers of the Zorzal’s repertoire until the time when, encouraged by his friends, he went to study vocal techniques with maestro Eduardo Bonessi.

In 1939 he debuted with the Bohemia Porteña Orchestra led by the team Ventimiglia-Sassone. The following year he changed his style and sang in the City Swing Jazz orchestra under the sobriquet Tito Cebral until 1942. That year he resumed singing tangos as a soloist accompanied by a guitar group.

In 1944 he joined the orchestra fronted by the bandoneonist Armando Gentile.

In the early 1945 Osmar Maderna carried out an audition at the Café Marzotto to choose a singer for his brand-new orchestra. Orlando Verri was chosen. That day Alfredo Gobbi was there. The latter was nicely impressed by the kid’s performance so that the following year he hired him as a substitute for Oscar Ferrari who had switched to Edgardo Donato. As from that time the vocalist bore his definitive nom de plume: Hugo Soler. The other vocalist was Carlos Heredia. He made his debut at the above mentioned cafe singing the tangos “Vieja luna” and “Canción desesperada”.

On May 16, 1947 he recorded in duo with Heredia the Alfredo Eusebio Gobbi’s waltz: “La entrerriana”. And recorded again in a duo setting the Pedro Pidoto’s and Ramón Argüello’s waltz, “Adoración” and the Alfredo Roldán’s and Guillermo López’s tango, “Amor de forastero”.

The only piece he recorded as soloist with Gobbi was the tango written by the violinist Antonio Blanco and Alberto Nery, “Barcarola triste”. His last recording with the orchestra was “Amémonos”, with music by Carlos Montbrun Ocampo and lyrics by Manuel Flores, also with Heredia on vocals on January 31, 1948.

He said goodbye to the orchestra in the mid 1948 and was replaced by Pablo Lozano. He immediately joined the Enrique Alessio’s orchestra with which he recorded “Ríe payaso” for the Odeon label and appeared at the Café La Armonía on Corrientes Avenue and on the Radio Belgrano studios.

After a short tenure with Ricardo Pedevilla in the late 1950 he joined the interesting orchestra led by Joaquín Do Reyes (an all-star aggregation) and stayed with them for a decade.

At that important stage of his career his fellow vocalists were Enrique Lucero, Horacio Deval, Rubén Llaneza, Américo Forte, among others. With Do Reyes he recorded: “Un tango para mi vieja”, “Media noche” which showcased the solos by the bandoneonist Julio Ahumada, “Prohibido” and “Yo no sé llorar”, with a brilliant performance by Elvino Vardaro. His last recording was the candombe “Bem, Bom”, written by Carlos Parodi and Cátulo Castillo.

He said that in his young years he enjoyed singing in this orchestra which always had a large following on the broadcasts of Radio El Mundo.

Soler’s tenure with Do Reyes was until 1960. In the following years he sang in the orchestra headed by Julián Ortiz. In 1963 he decided to quit his show business activity but he returned in 1980 when he recorded as a soloist accompanied by a guitar trio but he later definitively quit that profession.

He was one of the good singers of that time when tango was in vogue and, also at the time of the decline of the genre that forced many artists to retire due to the lack of job. We think that it is an act of justice to remember this beloved Gallego that still pleases us with his anecdotes and memories.