Abel Palermo

e was an interpreter with a gentle voice, a baritone register, with a very good intonation and a phrasing quite typical of the city of Buenos Aires, to which we must add his affable personality and his great sense of friendship.

He was born in El Abasto, Gardel’s neighborhood, at the time Buenos Aires was breathing tango.

His brother Luis Esteban, also a singer, had made his debut in Paris in 1926 with the Manuel Pizarro’s orchestra, as well having stood out as composer. El Zorzal recorded his tango “Evocación de París” and Ángel Vargas, “No es más que yo”. His other brother, Humberto, was an important bandoneon player of that time.

Amadeo made his debut at age 17, on Radio Splendid, accompanied by guitars. In 1933, with the orchestra led by Vicente Russo, he appeared in different shows at cinemas and theaters, until he was summoned by the pianist Eduardo Pereyra with whom he polished himself to become a professional.

Three years later he joined the Cuarteto Melodía which included the singer Manuel Cao and the pianist Oscar Sabino. For two years they performed on the Stentor and Prieto radio stations.

In the early 1937 he was called by the orchestra leader Manuel Buzón, with whom he appeared on the radio stations Callao and Municipal, and the following year, on Splendid and Rivadavia. After his appearance in the carnival balls of 1938 at the Club de los Bancarios of Bahía Blanca, they split and he continued as soloist.

In 1939 an important event took place in his life: maestro Osvaldo Pugliese invited him to his debut at the Confitería Nacional on 974 Corrientes Street. The orchestra was lined up by the bandoneonists Enrique Alessio, Osvaldo Ruggero, Antonio Ruscini and Alberto Armengol; the violinists Enrique Camerano, Julio Carrasco and Jaime Tursky and the bassist Aniceto Rossi.

In the early 1940 he was summoned by his friend Aníbal Troilo to be vocalist in his orchestra along with Francisco Fiorentino. His tenure lasted nearly two years, and he split on December 31, 1941. In a duo with Fiorentino he committed to record only one number: Antonio Bonavena’s and Lito Bayardo’s tango “Pájaro ciego”, recorded on May 28, 1941. Apparently, a requisite of the Victor company was the reason that he had not recorded more numbers, because they preferred Fiorentino for his cashbox hits.

The singer’s withdrawal did not influence his friendship with Pichuco and with Fiore at all.

Soon later, Manuel Buzón summoned him again, urgently, because his orchestra had been hired by the Odeon company and also by Radio El Mundo to appear at the successful program Ronda de Ases emceed by Juan José Piñeyro and Roberto Miraldi.

This time Buzón recorded: “Al verla pasar”, “Mano Brava”, “Qué has hecho de mi cariño” (more widely known as instrumental under the title “Royal Pigall”), “Música de organito”, “Jazmín Simón”, “Fueye” and the waltz “Miedo”.

He continued his trek in show business with the orchestra led by Alberto Soifer, —who, furthermore, was musical director of Radio Belgrano—, to replace the vocalist Roberto Quiroga. At the time of the carnival balls in 1945 he switched to the Emilio Balcarce’s group with which he made his debut at the Salón Casablanca, in the neighborhood of Chacarita.

In 1947 Balcarce disbanded his orchestra to form a new aggregation to accompany the singer Alberto Marino. Then, Mandarino joined the orchestra led by Emilio Orlando and later the one led by Cristóbal Herreros. He appeared on Radio El Mundo and at the night club Golden Gate.

As from 1951 he alternated his performances between Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata and in 1952 he reappeared, to great success, at the Montecarlo Tearoom on 1222 Corrientes St. and on different radio stations, accompanied by guitars.

In the late 1955, he settled definitively in the city of Mar del Plata and he was a staff figure in the tearoom of the Casino. His name was required on all the shows of the coastal area and in winter, in the south of the country and Buenos Aires. In the 60s he was invited by his friend Antonio Maida, art director of Radio del Pueblo, so he appeared on some programs of the radio station, accompanied, some times, by the quartet led by Troilo.

His last appearances in Buenos Aires were on television programs on Channel 11 and at the shows of El Viejo Almacén, a venue run by his friend Edmundo Rivero.

His last release on record was for the Almalí label, then he cut 12 numbers with the musical background by Jorge Dragone on some of them. The record was titled A Pichuco y Fiorentino. Eternos en mi recuerdo and was released in 1991.