Abel Palermo

he was born in the neighborhood of El Abasto. Since an early age she was inclined to singing. Her parents Gregorio and María encouraged her and, when she was a teenager, they sent her to the conservatory run by maestro Eduardo Bonessi.

At age 16, she appeared at a contest organized by LR3 Radio Belgrano and sponsored by the Jabón Puloisoap company. She turned out winner under the name Chola Montes de Oca. She was awarded with a contract on the popular radio station.

She stayed on that radio station until 1940, later she switched to Radio París, now with the name Chola Luna, she remained until the late 1942. That year she appeared alongside Osvaldo Moreno, Herminia Velich and Juan Velich and Roberto Flores in the movie Gran Pensión La Alegría, directed by Julio Irigoyen. Furthermore, she performed at the season of the Teatro Nacional in the musical comedy Bajo el cielo de mi patria which featured the Pedro Maffia Orchestra along with Fanny Navarro and Alberto Gómez on vocals.

In the early 1944, the singer Eduardo Adrián split with the Francisco Canaro Orchestra and so the bandleader summoned the female singer to join his orchestra and the other vocalist, the Uruguayan Carlos Roldán, with whom she sang teaming up as duo in her only two recordings: the foxtrot “Buenas noches corazón”, written by Canaro and Ivo Pelay (from the musical, Dos corazones) and the corrido, “Mi caballo bayo”, by Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores and Francisco Brancatti.

The following year she quit the orchestra and Guillermo Coral (Guillermo Rico) joined it. Since then her stage as soloist began and she returned to Radio Belgrano. She was also the main attraction of the cabaret Babilonia, in Retiro, and made her debut at the Teatro Casino alongside Alberto Castillo, Alberto Anchart and Severo Fernández.

In 1946, she quit the radio station where she was consecrated and switched to LR1 Radio El Mundo. She as well appeared at the successful show of the Alvear theater, La Historia del sainete, along with Alberto Anchart, Adolfo Stray, Malvina Pastorino, among others. Where the play had vocals she sang teaming up with her old singing partner, Carlos Roldán.

Thereafter, when the World War II was over an important event in her career took place because she was requested by Francisco Lomuto to travel to Spain and to other countries of the Old World. The male singer was Alberto Rivera. In the history files is recorded the successful tour because it was an event that opened the gates of Europe to our tango again.

On her comeback, she joined again the cast of Radio El Mundo and appeared at different night shows in Buenos Aires.

When Juan Domingo Perón took office of the presidency of the nation and because of the social spirit of his wife, María Eva Duarte de Perón, the Centro Cultural de los Artistas was created, an institution that carried out an important social activity and in which appeared figures of the level of: Hugo Del Carril, Tita Merello, Luis Sandrini, Silvana Roth, Pierina Dealessi, Zully Moreno, Pedro Maratea, Eduardo Cuitiño, Enrique Santos Discépolo, Homero Manzi, Cátulo Castillo, Luis César Amadori and a never ending list of great artists. Chola’s sensitivity and her charitable spirit was not strange to that important work for the help of children and old people.

In 1952, the Teatro Alvear was renamed as Enrique Santos Discépolo and there free weekly tango concerts with the best orchestras were scheduled: Aníbal Troilo, Julio De Caro, Francisco Rotundo, Francisco Canaro, Horacio Salgán, Francisco Grillo, Francini-Pontier and Juan D'Arienzo with their corresponding vocalists. Also the orchestra of the musicians’ union conducted by Mariano Mores was playing. The latter backed singers like Tita Merello, Chola Luna, Hugo Del Carril, Alberto Marino, Edmundo Rivero, Alberto Gómez, Azucena Maizani, Sofía Bozán. The show was emceed by Pedro Maratea, Juan José Míguez, and Héctor Gagliardi, among others.

Everything began when Perón was overthrown in September 1955. It started a period of persecutions, black lists and imprisonment for the artists akin to Peronism. Among them was Chola Luna who had to be exiled in Montevideo in 1957.

Before leaving she cut some recordings with the orchestra led by Francisco Trípoli for the T.K. label (“Perdóname”, “Sangre de mi sangre”) and with the Miguel Caló Orchestra for Odeon (“Madre”, “Gloria”).

In Montevideo she appeared to great acclaim at the historical café El Ateneo and, also she recorded again for the Orfeo label with the Luis Caruso’s orchestra (“Fumando espero”, “Y no te voy a llorar”, “Volver” and “Arrabalero”). In 1958, always in Uruguay, she appeared along with a young excellent female singer, Alba Solís, at several radio stations and at various shows.

Back again in our country, in the 60s she began to sing teaming up as a duo with another extraordinary female singer, Julia Vidal, with a songbook that included tango and folk music.

She was a singer with notable capabilities that possessed a beautiful voice color and a fine expression. Perhaps she was not as fortunate as to stand out according to her quality but we, who had the luck of listening to her singing, think she is in the hall of fame with the great stars of the history of our dear tango.