Lorenzo Barbero

Real name: Barbero, Isidro Lorenzo
Violinist, leader and composer
(6 September 1918 - 23 June 2009)
Place of birth:
James Craik (Córdoba) Argentina
Abel Palermo

is orchestra was simple, with scarce musical flight, but very popular. Besides tango, he tried to cover all the genres originated in Argentina, with shows that included dancers with rather poor choreographies, within a half tango-half folk mood. It was, possibly he didn’t know, part of a political/cultural project typical of that time.

He was born in the locality of James Craik, province of Córdoba. His father was named Francisco and was a violinist. As a child he began to learn the secrets of the instrument by his father’s side.

At age 12, his family moved to the city of Córdoba where he attended high school and there he began to study violin with maestro Domingo Patruco who was member of the provincial symphony orchestra.

With his father he used to go the concerts that the symphony orchestra played. So he got in touch with classical music: Bach, Wagner, Mozart. Of course he also liked tango, especially the music composed by Agustín Bardi, Eduardo Arolas and Julio De Caro.

Based on tango, he had the intention of creating an operatic music style which was authentically Argentine. He made his debut by fronting his orchestra at age 23 at the Teatro Capitol of Córdoba, under the name Agrupación Copacabana. Soon he was summoned by the radio station LV2 of Córdoba. His aggregation was lined up by 20 musicians and also dancers were included in a thoroughly criollo setting.

Soon later, Radio Splendid of Buenos Aires opened a branch in Córdoba and appointed Luis M. Moretti as director. The latter hired Lorenzo who achieved an important success and also had influence on other provinces.

He devised different shows to great public acclaim: Teatros de Tango, Sinfonía Variable del Tango and Orquesta de Cuerdas del Tango. Because of that he then was hired for tours throughout the country. The first one was of the Argentine northern area which reached the city of Asunción, capital of Paraguay.

The success of these appearances had repercussion in Buenos Aires and he was summoned by Jaime Yankelevich to appear on the radio and, later, in the 50s on the official television, on Channel 7, recently opened.

His orchestra made its debut in May 1948, on Radio Belgrano, in La gran audición Federal, the most successful radio program of the Argentine broadcasting. It reached every corner of the country through its national network. The sponsor of the program was Donato Sabia and the art patron was Francisco Canaro. Both supported and were responsible for the growth of Barbero.

This aggregation was known as La Orquesta de la Argentinidad and it appeared alongside great figures like Pedro Maffia and Alberto Castillo. The program was aired on Thursdays from 9 to 10:30 pm and on Sundays from 12 am to 1:30 pm. The orchestra included 25 musicians. Some of them played different regional instruments to play other beats, besides tango, with the idea of representing all the Argentine provinces.

In 1951 he was summoned by the Odeon label and in October with the vocalists Roberto Florio and Carlos Del Monte, as duo, he recorded the Francisco Canaro’s number “Tomá mate, tomá mate”. Four were the recordings Florio made, the other three were: the Barbero’s tango “La serranita”, “La virgen del perdón” and the chamamé “El Recluta” composed by Mario Millán Medina.

Chocho Florio switched to the Francini-Pontier Orchestra and was replaced by Jorge Sobral who later was replaced by the Uruguayan Pablo Moreno. Other singers, besides the above mentioned, were: Osvaldo Ribó, Carlos Uriarte, Oscar Brizuela, Enrique Lucero, Mario Córdoba, Fontán Luna and Daniel Rey.

In 1955 the coup against general Perón took place and Barbero, like many show business figures who were friendly with the government, had some trouble. Many were exiled, others were included in black lists and some were even sent to jail. Barbero went on playing, mainly in different provinces and in neighboring countries.

In 1956 he incessantly toured our country, appearing in many cities: Mendoza, San Rafael, Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Villa Mercedes (San Luis), Rosario; at dancehalls, tearooms, night venues and radio stations. Towards the mid- 56 he appeared at a local on Florida Street and on Radio Belgrano of Buenos Aires city.

In the early 1957 he appeared to much acclaim in Santiago and Valparaíso, two important cities of Chile. On his comeback to Argentina he appeared on different radio stations and at the tearoom La Armonía on Corrientes Avenue. That was his last gig. In the 60s he devoted himself to be a producer and art director of the Disc-Jockey label and in the 70s he was producer of the TV Channel 13.

As composer, the following numbers stand out: “Taconear porteño”, “Candombe del carnaval”, “Topacio era tu nombre”, “Volvemos a encontrarnos”, “Mi flor de percal”, “Serranita”, “Ven tesoro” and “Organito malevo”.