Héctor López

on of Spaniards, he was born in the year of the Centennial, on 975 Lavalle Street in the city of Buenos Aires. He attended grade school and at age thirteen he worked at a bookstore where he learnt the craft of bookbinding. He carried out that craft throughout his lifetime. He was a fine bookbinder that worked for renowned printing and publishing houses.

Like so many boys of his time, quite soon singing appeared in his life and, of course, it was tango. Possibly his first formal performance was with the Alejandro Scarpino’s trio at the Cine Los Andes of Boedo in 1927.

A couple of years later during the carnival parties he went to the Pabellón de las Rosas located on Alvear Avenue and Tagle. He was accompanied by a friend bandoneonist that was member of the Juan Maglio’s group. Surely, it might have been some problem with the singer and his friend told the group leader that that kid was able to sing. So his debut with Pacho took place but it was also his farewell because in his second performance, due to his lack of technique or because he had had some cold drinks, he lost his voice and then he came back home.

In 1930, with a neighborhood outfit —De La Torre-Casado— he appeared on Radio Prieto. Carlos Marcucci heard him there and he made him join his sextet. They appeared on the same radio station, and on Radio Argentina and at the cabaret Dancing Ocean. These gigs did not interfere with his job that, from that year and up to 1955, he carried out at the Editorial Kraft.

In 1931, with the sobriquet Carlos García, he was the refrain singer (estribillista) of the tango group led by Augusto Berto and, in 1933, accompanied by a trio, he was heard at the popular Matinee de Juan Manuel and at different neighborhood cinema theaters.

In 1934, he performed at one of the many venues of Costanera Sur (southern waterfront), in this case the Don Vicente barroom, along with the then unknown, José Marrone, and a young pianist that accompanied him: Mariano Mores. With the latter he switched to a neighboring venue, the Bar El Nilo.

A friend of his took him to the PAADI (Primera Academia Argentina De Interpretes) whose owner was Luis Rubistein. Soon thereafter he appeared at the radio station run by Emilio Kartulovich, La Voz del Aire, backed up by the Masobrio, Caldarella and Osvaldo Schelotto trio. While in the Academia, Rodolfo Sciammarella suggested him to shorten his name. Since then he has become Tino García.

Héctor Bates, radio broadcaster, journalist, and whose dream of having an orchestra of his own came true, in 1936 summoned him as substitute for Carlos Roldán. They played at a large number of venues and clubs. They staged a show in which El Cachafaz and the female singer Mercedes Carné were featured. Alternatively, he kept on singing as soloist with the outfit headed by Vicente Salerno until 1940 when he made a stop. From that time he devoted himself only to his customary craft and he only returned to singing in 1945. He did as soloist backed by the guitarists Humberto Canataro, Roberto Pedretti, Alesandri and Reinaldo Baudino.

The following year he was accompanied on piano by Francisco Trópoli or Andrés Fraga. That same year, 1946, his brother Antonio (Tito), dancer and bandoneon player, who run a dancehall on 1671 Corrientes Avenue, introduced him to Ángel D'Agostino with whom he appeared on the radio and appeared on many clubs and dancehalls. With this orchestra he succeeded in recording for the first time. Furthermore, it was the only one with which he was in the recording studios.

In the carnival balls of 1959, he was with Joaquín Do Reyes at the Estudiantes de Villa Devoto club and, as D’Agostino had put together his orchestra again, he joined it once more. In 1953 he was replaced by Ricardo Ruiz because he had begun a long tour throughout the cities of the interior of Buenos Aires and the province of Santa Fe.

On his comeback, he appeared at the La Armonía tearoom as soloist accompanied by the Sexteto Casado. In 1954 he was again with D'Agostino for the carnival balls at the Club Lanús where there was another singer named Ruben Cané. In 1959, they appeared on television and at the Marabú and Tino, again, decided to make a stop to work only in bookbinding.

We know for certain that his career would have been much more important if we take into account that he rejected, successively, offers to appear with Juan D'Arienzo, later to travel with Pedro Maffia on a tour of Brazil and even, to be singer for the Juan Canaro Orchestra to appear in Japan. Tino sang because it was a pleasure for him rather than a vocation. It also meant an extra money, but the work he never gave up, the job he took for granted, his secure income depended on his ability and the renown he had achieved as bookbinder.

But he had not reached yet the end of his show business career. In 1962, he was again summoned by Joaquín Do Reyes for Radio El Mundo and, the following year again with D'Agostino who had decided to form the so-called Cuarteto Evocativo (a revival quartet) to appear on channel Eleven and to cut his last recordings.

Lastly, in 1964 and 1965, he appeared with the Armando Lacava’s group. Then it was the final stop. He was only 55 years old and he thought it was enough. He would go on with his bookbinding.

Source: Clarín newspaper