César Consi

Real name: Consigli, César Renato José
(5 November 1934 - 14 June 2006)
Place of birth:
Carrara (Massa-Carrara) Italy
Néstor Pinsón

nd, finally, the Último Trovador (Last Troubadour) passed away. That sobriquet was used by his friend Héctor Lucci referring to Consi in the liner notes of the compact disc published in 1998 which contained a re-mastered selection of fourteen numbers of his 1985 recordings.

Bruno Cespi, another close friend, among the many ones he had in the bohemian tango milieu, agrees with me. He was the classic example of what we call, in our environment, a cafe or a restaurant singer.

His personality was not equipped for the professional field. However, although badly paid, with long breaks and for a short time, he tried it. His sole interest was singing and once he had started it was hard to stop him.

From the beginning he was a Gardelian. He very well knew the repertoire sung by El Zorzal, but he specially aimed at those pieces cut at the time of the acoustic recordings. He also sang many songs of the Ignacio Corsini’s songbook and other numbers rarely aired. And from time to time, some well known tango, carefully chosen for his finesse but not always suitable for his vocal capabilities.

His willingness to sing did not allow him to hesitate in case of a slight lack of intonation or a break in his voice; he went on singing. When his vocal cords were warm he pleased his friends by taking risks in every note and he had no need of false apologies when some failure happened.

He neither emulated Gardel nor his admired guitarists Iñíguez, Ferreyra, Palacios and Fontela did. The latter ones were envied by several renowned colleagues.

He was born in Italy, in Carrara, in the Tuscany region. One year after his birth, with his parents, he arrived in Argentina and settled in Bernal, province of Buenos Aires. His early studies up to secondary school were at that city. Later when he was a young man he moved definitively to the city of Quilmes. In that southern area he began to be known by singing at every venue at hand.

His mother was an amateur singer and encouraged him to study singing. So he attended the Rossini conservatory. At age eight, backed by guitars, he sang tunes of the Carlos Gardel’s songbook at a local theater.

In 1945 he debuted on Radio Prieto and the following year he started to hit the road throughout the surrounding neighborhoods.

In the beginning of our television, when we only had Channel Seven, he appeared as a guest artist. He was featured in a program entitled París, siempre París. Soon thereafter came his appearances on Radio Libertad and, for some years, performances in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Between 1973 and 1976 his brief time of glory arrived when he again appeared on Channel 7, in the cycle Sábados Argentinos. And some time later the radio emcee Héctor Larrea, interested in his way of singing, presented him in his daily program, El show de la vida.

He was a good, humble man. In the early seventies he came to know Lucci and Cespi who, noticing his artistic qualities, invited him to appear in their coteries at the Café Tortoni. When he arrived for his debut they were surprised that he was accompanied by several buses full of his fans coming from his neighborhood. The first time when he was told to sing about six or eight songs according to the effusiveness of the applause he answered: «You’re nuts, if I sing less than twenty they’ll kill me!» A couple of those shows were filmed by Héctor Lucci and we were fortunate enough to watch them.

He recorded 68 numbers for unknown labels, financed by his friends, between 1972 and 1987.

His customary job was collecting payments. At least it was for a long time. He worked for a factory that manufactured cardboard boxes. Fond of eating and drinking and always evidencing a good mood, he used to conceal the high blood pressure that was after him. Probably that was the reason of his death.

In the prologue of the disc we above mentioned at the beginning of this article, Lucci’s words are eloquent: «There are not many tango singers who, when heard for the first time, give us the curious impression of being authentic ones. In the art of vocal interpretation that is not frequent and, even less if the singer has not found or shaped the proper and genuine style required by the tango genre».