Edelmiro D'Amario

Real name: D’Amario, Edelmiro Antonio
Nicknames: Toto
Bandoneonist, arranger, leader and composer
(29 August 1920 - 28 September 2001)
Place of birth:
Los Hornos (Buenos Aires) Argentina
Néstor Pinsón

e was born in the province of Buenos Aires, in the city of Los Hornos. When he was a child he began to play notes on the bandoneon that belonged to Víctor, his elder brother. The latter encouraged him from the beginning. To such an extent that, besides teaching him to play, he included him, in his early adolescence, in the bandoneon section of his popular orchestra with which he appeared at the renowned dancehalls of the city of La Plata. Also on Radio Provincia.

He was only fifteen when he appeared in Buenos Aires city. He had a chance, as many tango musicians had, at the then famous Matinés de Juan Manuel. Furthermore, he performed at the traditional Café Germinal and in a program on Radio Del Pueblo.

Two years later he studied harmony and counterpoint. He was then lead bandoneon and arranger of the Juan Caló’s orchestra. Thereafter he was member of the first Alfredo Gobbi’s aggregation that debutted at the boite Sans Souci. Later he traveled to Uruguay and Brazil, countries in which he was based for a time.

On his comeback to Argentina, the singer Ángel Vargas offered him to lead his orchestra. The relationship lasted from November 24, 1955 until August 30, 1957. According to the recording dates they cut eighteen numbers. Some discographies mention two more, two that were cut immediately after. But both: “Vos hacés lo que querés” and “Miriñaque” were recorded under the direction of Daniel Lomuto, according to his own words.

Thereafter he joined the bandoneon section of the orchestra led by Horacio Salgán. That intuitive boy was now a well-trained musician that was capable of a noteworthy sound and an expressive phrasing in his instrument.

Among his compositions we can highlight the tangos “En la milonga”, in collaboration with Ángel Vargas and the instrumentals “Bacará”, “Colorado el 14”, “Calendario del amor”, with his brother Víctor (Salvador Víctor D'Amario), “Después del gris”, “El remache” and “Como el ave fénix”.

Boris Puga wrote a summary of his career as musician in the oriental country for the Academia del Tango of Uruguay: «He was in Montevideo in 1946 where he teamed up with the pianist Hugo Di Carlo to put together an orchestra; after he split with the latter he joined several local orchestras, among which we highlight the ones led by Juan Cao, Juan Esteban Martínez, Roberto Luratti, Emilio Pellejero and Donato Racciatti (in his first outfit). He left in 1950 and returned eight years later to head the orchestra of the singer Antonio Cerviño. He wrote a large number of charts for the latter.

«In 1959 he formed a sextet with local players to appear at night clubs and on Radio Carve, first (Tangueando en Carve), and on Radio El Espectador, later. The female singer Irma Carrasco was on vocals.

«His appearances are frequent and he is ubiquitous at important cultural events such as certain festivals, openings of theaters, well-remembered tango recitals like the ones organized by the Club de la Guardia Nueva (Avant garde Club). Also his appearance at the River Plate Tango Festival (Festival Rioplatense de Tango) in 1960, his permanent contribution with the institution Joventango, where on September 8, 1979 he played with his group and his wife on vocals, the singer Dalma Sosa.

«With different outfits he recorded for the labels Sondor, Rodnos and Orfeo. In 1990 he was member of a trio with the pianist César Zagnoli and the bass player Vicente Martínez. They recorded a cassette for the brand new label Fono Música. By that time he was also soloist playing bandoneon in some appearances of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Montevideo (Philharmonic Orchestra of Montevideo).

«On January 30, 1998, as soloist he accompanied the tenor singer Plácido Domingo in the tangos “Alma de bohemio” and “El día que me quieras” when the latter appeared at the Centenario stadium. His long stay in our country allowed him to become the most sought-after arranger. He was official in AGADU and in recognition of his work Elda Urrutia Ibarra wrote the music and lyrics of the tango “Don Toto”, dedicated to him».

He died in Uruguay at age 81 from a cancer, still preparing music scores for the future concerts of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Montevideo, in its Galas de Tango evenings. He was determined to be active up to his last breadth, according to what I read in some of the obituaries I had at hand.