Ricardo García Blaya
| Aníbal Marconi

t was the time of the declining years for the tango orchestras because of several reasons of different origin, —the beginnings of rock and roll, the labor and political conflicts of the artists, the lack of job that forced to reduce the number of players of the groups, the encouragement of folk music given by the military regime that took over power after the coup of September 1955—, but in fact, gradually the younger generations were moving away from tango.

At that context the paradigmatic figure of Julio Sosa appears and, with him, a new pondering of the tango singer style springs up. Now he has to be tough, with a manly voice and, preferably, with a lower range and quite expressive, the opposite of the baritone with a tenor-like color that had made a cult of his mezza voce in the 40s.

We have to regard the vocalists that appeared at that time by these standards and Enrique is a good example of this definition because of his looks, his phrasing, his voice timbre and his style of interpretation.

He was born in the city of La Plata, 60 kilometers far from Buenos Aires city. In his teen years he spent one of the most glorious periods of tango, but paradoxically, when he was only 14 he started his showbusiness career by singing jazz in a Dixieland band under the sobriquet Hugo Randall.

But tango was deep in his Herat, so in April 1955 he debutted on Radio Splendid with a brand-new tango orchestra led by Carlos Figari. With that aggregation he stayed several years appearing at different venues, among them, the Adlon tearoom. The other vocalist of the orchestra was Héctor Omar who had recently joined the group.

He succeeded in recording and, among his early recorded renderings for the Music Hall label we can highlight “Bien jaileife” and “El piano del bar”. Later they switched to Radio del Pueblo and in 1959 Figari added Aldo Fabre on vocals. Other outstanding artists of the radio station staff were the Cuarteto Troilo-Grela and the singer Alberto Marino.

In 1958, Figari decided to transform his orchestra into a smaller outfit. In 1961 and, placing Dumas as soloist, they teamed up and recorded again, this time for the Disc Jockey label. Later they split up and Enrique continued his career on his own.

It would be difficult to mention in detail the number of his appearances as from that time and it would be even harder to portray his many-sided career; but anyhow we can mention some aspects of it.

He was one of the tango pionners on the Argentine television, appearing in many programs. On Channel 7, Esquina de Tango (1958) with Figari and La Familia Gesa (1958-1960) alongside Virginia Luque; Yo te canto Buenos Aires on Channel 11; Grandes Valores del Tango on Channel 9; El Show de Antonio Prieto (1963) on Channel 13, and many others.

His first performance in a comedy was with Olinda Bozán and Alberto Anchart in Aquí está la Vieja Ola y esta vez no viene sola. He was also in the reprise of the Francisco Canaro’s theatrical play La muchachada del centro with the comic star José Marrone. He also appeared alongside Mariano Mores and with great artists like Mirtha Legrand, Virginia Luque, Susy Leiva and Nestor Fabián in Buenos Aires de Seda y Percal at the Coliseo theater. At the Teatro San Martín he impersonated Santos Vega in La Guitarra del Diablo (The devil’s guitar). Another of his hits was El Conventillo de la Paloma alongside the great actress Pepita Muñoz and the well-remembered Marcos Kaplán. Later would come: Aplausos, with Libertad Lamarque and Juan Carlos Thorry; Tangos en El Dante along with Aníbal Troilo and Tito Lusiardo; Yo canto a mi Argentina, with Mores, Lusiardo and Héctor Gagliardi; Buenos Aires, Todo Tango, with Beba Bidart, Horacio Salgán and Ubaldo De Lío, and many more.

In the movies he was not so outstanding starring in anodyne films: Viaje de una Noche de Verano, alongside Néstor Fabián and two excellent Japanese singers: Ikuo Abo and Ranko Fujisawa; Bicho Raro, in which also the folk group Los Fronterizos appeared, both in 1965; and Flor de Piolas, premiered in 1969.

His recorded output is vast. He cut, including long-playing records and cassettes, around a dozen volumes. Among them the following stand out: Dumas canta a Mores, El Porteñísimo and Historiando Tangos, with Roberto Pansera for Polydor; El que Canta es mi Papá (Polydor); Alma de Bohemio, with the Sexteto Mayor (Diapasón); De Rompe y Raje, with Osvaldo Requena (Microfón); El Firulete, with Alberto Di Paulo (Magenta) and Tangos con sus Grandes Valores, with Luis Stazo (Diapasón). In 1966 he was summoned by Ben Molar for his recording 14 con el Tango in which he sang the numbers “Bailate un tango Ricardo” and “En qué esquina te encuentro Buenos Aires”, both quite characteristic of his vocal style.

He traveled to Japan in 2003, as guest singer of the Carlos Galván's orchestra, with big success.