Eduardo Visconti

e did not enjoy a mother’s love because he was orphaned when he was just one year old. His father, a sergeant of the federal police of Buenos Aires, was also a virtuoso guitarist that recorded on the primitive cylinders as soloist. Among those recordings pieces like the military marches “San Lorenzo” and “Tres árboles” stand out.

As he had uncles that were also guitarists, it was natural that he would seize some of those instruments and that, at age six, he was able to play by ear. Later his father taught him to play chords. As a teenager he and his father used to play duets and he amazed people with his facility with the strings. In all his career he was never lead guitarist, because he did not play single lines, but he was a good accompanist with a strong touch and steady pulse and an outstanding ear for melodies and rhythm.

His sister Rita, two years his senior, was his friend and confident. His brother Nicolás, his father and his uncles encouraged him to take the music road.

Curiously, at age 17, he had the chance to get a bandoneon for a good price and he began to study it.

In October 1932 he made his debut on the radio, after some short tours. He formed a guitar trio with two friends and they accompanied a female singer on Radio Splendid.

Neighbor of the Marmón brothers, Pepino and Toyo who were bandoneon players, he joined their orchestra as third bandoneon and they recorded discs for the Favorite Record label. The brothers were usually visited by Ricardo Brignolo who led a group in which Vivas also played. With these acquaintances and with the passing of time he learned to read music.

He married in 1921 and had three children, a girl and two twin boys. From this time on we shall enumerate the principal events of his long career in which he played both instruments.

As a bandoneon player he joined the orchestra fronted by Roberto Firpo. Later he joined the one led by his close friend, Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores.

Between 1923 and 1927, he had a tenure in the típica criolla headed by Antonio Scatasso at the sainetes of the Teatro Apolo with the César Ratti’s theatrical company. On the same stage he accompanied Ignacio Corsini.

In 1924 he also doubled, with guitar he backed the Ángel Greco-Ignacio Riverol duo and with bandoneon he joined the section of the Augusto Berto Orchestra. In 1925 he backed up Rosita Quiroga in a guitar duo with Vicente Spina.

That year and the following he put together his own outfit. He played bandoneon, the pianist was a beautiful blonde called “Melenita de oro”. But her real name was Dolores Pérez (Lola), time later, she also devoted to bandoneon and guitar. He was shortly with Anselmo Aieta, Julio De Caro, Ernesto de la Cruz. In 1928 he recorded for the Victor company with the orchestra led by Julio Fava Pollero.

That same year he traveled to Europe summoned by Francisco Canaro to play in the orchestra led by his brother Rafael. They appeared in France and later in Berlin where the singer Luis Mandarino was added. In the latter city he recorded a disc with excerpts of La Traviata and Rigoleto. Under the name Orquesta Típica Argentina Ambassador, Rafael recorded for the Homokord Electro label. The change of name was due to the exclusive contract that Francisco had signed with Odeon. Luis Mandarino did not continue with the tour and was replaced by Carlos Dante.

On his comeback he appeared in Mar del Plata as member of the Alberto Pugliese Orchestra. In 1930, in the Nicolás Vaccaro’s quartet. In 1931 he again played guitar when his friend Guillermo Barbieri suggested him to join the guitar group that backed up Gardel. Then it became Barbieri-Riverol-Vivas, on a one-month stint on LP6 Radio Casa América. They began on September 1, from 9 to 10 PM. He also accompanied the singer in his season at the Broadway movie theater. He substituted for José María Aguilar, who had quarreled with Gardel at that time.

El Zorzal returned to France but he stayed in the country with the other players who did not travel. Then they were hired to accompany Anita Palmero, Oscar Ugarte, and Dorita Davis, among others.

In 1932 he doubled on bandoneon in the aggregation fronted by Horacio Pettorossi. It was a 23-piece orchestra for the play La epopeya del tango at the Teatro Cómico.

When in January 1933 Gardel returned he joined his backup group alongside Pettorossi, Barbieri and Riverol. A curiousity: on the two recorded takes of the tango “Silencio” is Vivas with his bandoneon who simulates a bugle sound and soon is back to play his guitar part.

In September 1933, Gardel left again and the trio with Barbieri and Riverol accompanied Teófilo Ibáñez, Adhelma Falcón and once again Ugarte and Palmero.

In the late 1934 Gardel went to New York but Vivas was surprisingly excluded. He was replaced by José María Aguilar, who had recently reconciled with the star. Because of that Vivas avoided the accident and saved his life.

In 1935 he accompanied the Alsina-Serna duo and the singer Fernando Díaz, always as member of duets or trios for the occasion. In the late thirties he was summoned to play the background for Héctor Palacios, Patrocinio Díaz and Ada Falcón. From 1937 to 1941 he appeared in all of the Nelly Omar’s performances.

As from 1943, for five years, he worked in Chile, as musician and as employee. He came back with problems in his gall bladder. There were other times and the health trouble made him work less and consequently his income was smaller.

He lived with his family in a tenement house on 1043 Combate de los Pozos Street. He had some jobs, but they were few in comparison with his previous busy schedule. Among those gigs, as member of a group he accompanied Héctor Mauré, later Enzo Valentino, Raúl Berón and Fernando Leiva, Susy Leiva’s brother.

His body health was weakened and it was unable to resist any longer so he died at age 57 at the Hospital Fernández. His name is much appreciated in the history of tango. Even though he was not a polished instrumentalist, he contributed with his humbleness and efficient labor to the knowledge of our popular music.

He accompanied Gardel in 78 recordings. And before joining his guitar group, the great singer had already recorded two tangos Vivas had composed: “El olivo” and “Salto mortal”. Later, being one of Gardel's guitarist, the singer recorded two waltzes: “Amante corazón” and “Quejas del alma”.