Horacio Loriente

is name is written among the most representative tango artists. He had natural abilities which helped to make easy a difficult career at the time of the great singers. He had a look, a personality and a distinct voice that he evidenced with his phrased and melodious expression.

An Uruguayan, born on March 10, 1913, he made his debut at the cinema Helvético of the small locality of Colonia Suiza, accompanied by the guitarists Alfredo Solís and Carlos Méndez on January 6, 1936. He appeared with his true name, Inocencio Troncone. Three months later, exactly, he is featured on the remembered radio show Caramelos surtidos, on the CX18 radio station, with the guitarists Fontela and Silva Aguilar, immediately switching to Eduardo Depauli's cast. There, Agustín Pucciano and Depauli created for him the pseudonym Eduardo Ruiz, which would accompany him until 1943.

His popularity grew and his successful hits followed one another. He is starred on the national movie Radio Candelario together with Eduardo Depauli, Miguel Ángel Manzi and the extraordinary duet formed by Carmen and Magdalena Méndez, it was premiered at the Radio City Cinema on August 21, 1939.

In January 1940 he embarked on a tour of the south of Brazil with the guitar players Fontela, Pizzo and Falco reappearing in Montevideo on CX46 Radio América some months later.

The following year he performed during a season as singer of the outfit that worked under the name of Pintín Castellanos orchestra, headlined by Alfredo Gobbi and Armando Blasco. This outfit, of great musical quality, had outstanding performances at the Palacio de la Cerveza on Yatay Street, at the cabaret Tabarís and on the Monumental Radio Station.

At his next stage he joined the well-remembered Laurenz-Casella outfit, appearing on numerous balls and radio shows, besides his presentations at the famous Café Ateneo stage. This orchestra was lined up by prestigious musicians. Julio Tobías and Sebastián Garreta alternated on piano, the double bass player was Mainardi and among bandoneons and violins, the leaders Félix Láurenz and Pedro Casella, Donato Racciatti, López, Ramón Panedas, were among others. From there was made the jump to the conquest of Buenos Aires as orchestra singer. In the beginning, Eduardo Ruiz had no idea about his destiny. He thought it would be with the great violinist Antonio Rodio's outfit, but a quick decision by Ricardo Tanturi, who knew his abilities, made possible his inclusion into the Orquesta Típica Los Indios led by Tanturi. He was the different voice to replace Alberto Castillo. At the start the director persuaded him to change his artistic name by telling him that Ricardo Ruiz and a melodic singer Enrique Ruiz were also in the music business and that it was convenient to avoid confusion. Tanturi opened a phone directory by chance and said: «here it is, you'll be named Enrique Campos».

Enrique Campos debuted on Radio El Mundo as Tanturi's orchestra singer and immediately he began to record discs. The first two numbers, cut on August 4, 1943, were the tango by Luis Porcell and Leopoldo Díaz Vélez, “Muchachos comienza la ronda” and the waltz by Raúl Iglesias and Juan Gatti, “Al pasar”.

In March 1946, he married, raising an exemplary family. The following month, after working at a dancing at the Club Unión de Caseros (neighborhood of the gran Buenos Aires), he sang for the last time with Tanturi, withdrawing to appear as soloist with guitar accompaniment.

Francisco Rotundo hired him as singer of his orchestra in March 1947 where he shared his labor with the singer Mario Corrales (later renamed Mario Pomar), in presentations on Radio Splendid, Teatro Empire and Café Nacional on Corrientes Street. Subsequently he put together an orchestra he headlined together with the bandoneonist Alfredo Calabró. The journalist Raúl Hormaza was the master of ceremonies. Of the Campos-Calabró orchestra was sold only one record based on Argentine cuts and is released by Sondor in Montevideo and was lined up by Sebastián Garreta, piano: Alfredo Calabró, Roberto Pansera, Caruso and López bandoneons, Raúl Domínguez, Lijó and Mosca violins and Samonta, string bass.

Ended the season, already in 1950 he fronted another orchestra where he shared his work with his great friend Juan Carlos Miranda. It was short lived, because Enrique was required by Francisco Rotundo, after Carlitos Roldán's withdrawal. He then had Floreal Ruiz as singing partner. He made his debut on disc on August 10, 1951 with Juan Fulginitti's tango “Llorando la carta” and in December of that year he cut his anthological rendition of the famous waltz by Charlo and José González CastilloEl viejo vals” with Rotundo's orchestra singing in duet with Floreal Ruiz.

In October 1952, he split and soon later was hired to sing in the Roberto Caló orchestra which was lined up by important figures such as Osvaldo Tarantino on piano, Leo Lípesker on violin and Ernesto Franco on bandoneon. His labor is prolonged for two years, until that, for a third time he accepted Francisco Rotundo's call, agreeing to sing in his orchestra then arranged by the first bandoneon Luis Stazo. There was another singer in the orchestra: Ricardo Argentino, later replaced by Alfredo Del Río.

In 1957, he put together again an outfit, a quintet led by the pianist Dante De Simone and later he was associated with the female singer Elena Maida in an outfit arranged by Dante Smurra. His presentations were sporadical since he was absorbed by his commercial activities. In 1962, he appeared on a special program on Channel 4 in Montevideo, accompanied by Toto Edelmiro D'Amario's group and on his comeback to Buenos Aires he sang with the orchestra of Graciano Gómez appearing before the microphones of Splendid Radio Station.

We found him in 1965 on Radio El Mundo accompanied by the orchestra of Dante Smurra and in 1969, he began to record as soloist for the Magenta label. He went to Montevideo to sing on TV Héctor Marcó's waltz “A mi padre” and José Canet's tango “La abandoné y no sabía” on the program lead by Miguel Ángel Manzi. Back in Buenos Aires he performed at El farolito of Villa Crespo and he is appointed jury for the Tango Contest of La Falda (Córdoba).

He wrote some works. The tangos “Esclavas y reinas” and “Dale Artime” with Jorge Moreira, the candombe “Dale negra”, with the same lyricist, and the waltz “Por qué no estás tú” with Julio Jorge Nelson. With Jorge Moreira with whom he had a fraternal friendship he besides put music to “Aunque me llame papá”, “Buenos Aires del cuarenta”, “Para el final”, “Del potrero”, “Pero quisiera encontrarte” and the waltz “Te estoy agradecido”. Finally with Juan Fulginiti, “Conformate con ser buena”.

Out of chronological order, we must say that the tango helped him as introduction in Buenos Aires was “Percal”, accompanied then by Manuel Sucher's piano.

Prematurely, in Buenos Aires, for the general mourning and of those who were his friends, Enrique Campos passed away on March 13, 1970, but his memory and his presence shall be with us forever.

The testimony of his records are here to confirm his great capacities and to evidence that he was one of the major Uruguayan singers of tango.

Originally published in Ochenta notas de tango. Perfiles biográficos, Ediciones de La Plaza, Montevideo 1998. Under the auspices of the Academia de Tango from Uruguay.