Antonio Cacace

Real name: Cacace, Antonio Vicente
Bandoneonist and composer
(12 October 1892 - 10 March 1929)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Oscar Zucchi

e was born in Buenos Aires and was son of Italians. His mother, who played mandolin, taught him to play it with a pick or plectrum. It is a stringed instrument with an oval shape, similar to the lute, which the musicians used to name El zapallito (squash).

He must not be mistaken with his son Antonio (Toto) Cacace, who professionally performed in the outfits led by Anselmo Aieta and Osvaldo Pugliese.

At age sixteen he lived in Barracas and carried out several jobs according to his age. His parents did not like that he would become a professional player, but his godfather gave him a bandoneon as a present. Genaro Espósito was his teacher for a while, but he was mainly self-taught.

In 1909 he earned some money by playing at the cafes of La Boca near the corner of Suárez and Necochea. At one of them he came to know Graciano De Leone who was still playing guitar. Time later, in 1917, his descendants mention that he appeared in Montevideo. On his comeback he joined the group headed by Hermes Peressini, father of the violinist that played with Pugliese and who was composer, among others, of the tango “La caprichosa”. In 1920 they appeared at the Teatro Sarmiento playing the music for the plays staged by the Ratti brothers’ company.

Thereafter he also joined the forgotten Orquesta Típica Pastor. With his colleague Emilio Bianchi he toured provincial cities and, in 1924, he again visited Montevideo. Probably, one of his last outstanding performances was with the sextet of the violinist Alpidio Fernández, along with José Rosito (violin), Juan Ghio (piano) and Roque Biafore and Floriano Benavento (bandoneons).

For some time he had been learning a craft that made him one of the pioneers of that art: bandoneon tuning. An advertising of 1926 says: «Lima, old music house run by A. Cacace and A. González. Bandoneon tuning, repair and polish workshop». The store was located on 1379 Lima Street. Well known people like Luis Mariani and Carlos Marcucci used to frequent the place.

Due to his iniciative, one of the first —if not the first one— infantile orchestras devoted to tango was put together. It consisted of two of his sons, his niece and his sister, plus Juan Bibiloni on violin. A curious information: Antonio’s sister replaced Juan Carlos Cambón on piano. The latter was later leader of the Cuarteto Los Ases and member of the comic group Los Cinco Grandes del Buen Humor. The orchestra played around 1928.

He was not a prolific composer. Among his numbers, the following stand out: “Mi reina”, recorded by Juan Maglio in 1923; “Rayito de sol”, recorded by Roberto Firpo in 1922; “El gaucho Relámpago” dedicated to the peculiar character Carlos Nasca, and also the published pieces “Aromos de recuerdos”, “La Nación” (dedicated to «the managers of the prestigious La Nación newspaper») and “La polvareda”, subtitled as Mamita.

Excerpted from his book El tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes Volume II, Editorial Corregidor, Buenos Aires.