Oscar Zucchi

e was born in Italy and musically speaking he belonged to the young men of the generation of 1895.

He was one of those who introduced tango in Paris. Los Gobbi (Alfredo Eusebio Gobbi y Flora Rodríguez) had been sent by the Gath & Chaves house to make recordings to be sold in our country. Soon thereafter in 1913 Carlos Geroni Flores and Enrique Saborido, as dancer, arrived. After them the first orchestral group appeared: it was just a trio with a pair of dancers. They were Celestino Ferrer (piano), Eduardo Monelos (violin) and Vicente Loduca (bandoneon), plus Casimiro Aín and his dancing partner Martina.

In 1929 they cut 29 discs (58 numbers) for the Pathé label under different names: Orquesta Típica Loduca, Rondalla Ferrer conducted by Loduca, Orquesta Loduca, Ferrer, Monelos.

Soon later Vicente split with the group to travel to Brazil because he was offered a stint as magician, another of his passions.

Before the voyage to France, in an interview he was asked how long he had been practicing bandoneon playing. He answered he had been playing for six years and that he had already composed several tangos.

According to Horacio Ferrer, in his Libro del Tango, there is an early appearance by Loduca in a duo with the Gardel’s guitarist Guillermo Barbieri and soon thereafter, in 1908, he was featured in a trio along with Samuel Castriota and Francisco Canaro at the Café Royal of La Boca, on 201 Suárez Street at the corner of Necochea.

Canaro, in his autobiographical book, tells us a story that portrays the hard times of the tango musicians at the beginnings of the twentieth century: «When leaving that venue in the wee small hours of the morning with his friend and his Spanish woman who had had an affair with a notorious tough guy who was also a pickpocket known as El Ñato Campana, the latter suddenly appeared with a gun in his hand saying: «—That woman is mine!». Loduca answered while he was drawing his gun «—She was yours!». Two shots were heard but no one was wounded. The following day I checked that my overcoat had a hole and was burnt near the legs’ place».

In 1912 he had a gig at the Café de los Loros (The Parrots’ Café) on Corrientes and Medrano. The venue was called that way because its customers were the drivers of the Lacroze streetcar who used to wear green uniforms. He played in a sextet with Canaro, Berto, José Fuster (flute), Vicente Salerno (guitar), Rodolfo Duclós (double bass). Soon before the voyage the three men were playing at a dance hall with a fourth member, the violinist José Senito. Their voyage was sponsored by Alberto López Buchardo.

The first venue where they appeared in Paris was the Princesse cabaret on the Rue Fontane nº 6 bis. Later, with Manuel Pizarro’s arrival, it became the famous El Garrón. When the war broke out they traveled to the United States where they stayed for several months working for a living not only as musicians.

In 1914 he cut fifteen recordings for the Victor company. On his comeback to Buenos Aires in 1917 a technician of that company arrived in our country. He brought a portable machine with which he was making a tour of all South America collecting the music of each nation. Below there is a narration by Osvaldo Fresedo (of the chat I held with him) about those circumstances: «The technician only knew Ferrer and Loduca. But as Ferrer stayed in France he was looking for Loduca. When he knew where he was playing he went to the Royal Pigall. He didn’t know me but he knew Canaro. He saw him and told him «—Look, I have a business. I was hired by the Victor company to record some discs. May I do it with you?». At that time I had no orchestra at all. We accepted.»

«We were Canaro and Julio Doutry (on violins), José Martínez (on piano), Ruperto Leopoldo Thompson (on double bass) and I, now with Loduca (on bandoneons). We recorded six numbers as Orquesta Típica Vicente Loduca adding on the disc label «with the two bandoneon players Loduca-Fresedo». They cut 28 more numbers that same year and in 1918.»

A curiosity? While in Paris, in 1913, he recorded his tango “El argentino” as a bandoneon solo. Chronologically it is the second solo in the history of tango. The first one belongs to Juan Maglio.

That same year, in an interview for the Sherlok Holmes magazine, he was asked: «Who are the people who know the bandoneon and its music well?». «Very few —answered he—. In the first place we have Santa Cruz who has been playing daily for fifteen years at a cafe on Santa Fe Street. Maybe he is the one who knows it better. Berto also knows it for a long time.» «And about its music. Is it written in a special way?». «No, exactly like the piano».

As a composer he did not leave a big oeuvre and if some of his numbers were successful they were only at the time of their release. None of them lasted. Except when we talk about whorehouse tangos “Sacudime la persiana” is mentioned. But it is only mentioned although his group recorded it in 1913. As for other orchestras, only Fresedo recorded his tango “Peligro oculto” in 1923.

He died at Bichat Hospital, in Paris (France).

Excerpted from the book El tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes. Volume I. Editorial Corregidor.