Abel Palermo

e was born in the neighborhood of Belgrano of the city of Buenos Aires. His parents were Enrique and Laura Ricciardi. He started as a professional in 1937 with the orchestra led by the bandoneonist José Servidio. The following year he switched to the one led by the violinist José De Caro, the younger of the De Caro brothers.

By the late thirties, after De Caro split with the orchestra, he took over its leadership. The vocalist was Leonel Rivero, later consecrated as Edmundo Rivero, one of the great figures in the history of tango who would stay in the orchestra until the end of the carnival season of 1942. His place was filled by the young singer Alberto Demari who later would become Alberto Marino La voz de oro del tango. Soon later, Roberto Rufino, who had complied with his military service, also joined the aggregation.

With the voices of these two great artists the debut took place on LR1 Radio El Mundo, in the popular radio show Ronda de ases. They appeared to great acclaim and so they were hired to appear at the dancehall Palermo Palace, on 2750 Godoy Cruz Street.

In the early 1943 Rufino and Marino quit. The former returned to Carlos Di Sarli and the latter joined the orchestra led by Aníbal Troilo. The bandleader had heard him in Ronda de ases and decided to include the young singer in his orchestra which meant the beginning of his definitive consecration.

To replace such vocalists, Orlando included the singer José Berón, Raúl's brother. Furthermore he hired two excellent musicians: the violinist Manlio Francia and the young bandoneonist Jorge Caldara.

The orchestra had a short tenure on LR3 Radio Belgrano to later return to El Mundo. For eight years, without interruption, it played at the balls of the Alvear Palace Hotel.

In 1946 he teamed up with Alfredo Calabró and Carlos Acuña was on vocals. Thereafter he would team up with the bandoneonist Antonio Blasi.

As from 1949 and for a period of over two years he accompanied Charlo and Sabina Olmos on an important tour throughout the country, and later of Spain and Central America. On his comeback to Argentina he returned with his orchestra to Radio El Mundo and played at the carnival balls of the Teatro Casino on Maipú Street. His vocalist was Francisco Fiorentino.

During the first six months of 1953, either for his performances on the radio or at dancehalls, these players were his sidemen: the bandoneonist Leopoldo Federico and the pianist Atilio Stampone, who later would team up to lead an aggregation with Antonio Rodríguez Lesende on vocals.

Besides the singers above mentioned, the following ones passed through the ranks of his orchestra: Orlando Verri and Osvaldo Arana (1952); Rubén Quiroga, Héctor Coral [b] (1954/55), Miguel Martino, Carlos Almagro and Alberto Ortiz (1956/58).

In 1957, after nearly 20 years as leader of outstanding hits on radio and dancehalls he was summoned by the Odeon company to record two single 78 rpm discs for its label Pampa. The first with the numbers: “Cachá viaje” (with Carlos Almagro), “Reír llorando” (with Alberto Ortiz) and the second, with “Che papusa oí” (Almagro) and the waltz “A mi madre” (Ortiz).

Alberto Ortiz split with the orchestra in 1958 and was replaced by Fontán Reyes. The following year the notable pianist Osvaldo Manzi joined them and an important event in the career of Orlando took place: after 17 years he left Radio El Mundo and switched to LR4 Radio Splendid, with Héctor Coral [b] and Horacio Cáceres on vocals.

Around the 60s, together with the decline in tango, he began his retirement. His orchestra will be always remembered because of the great number of excellent musicians and singers that performed in it. Lastly I want to highlight three gems of his oeuvre as composer, the tangos: “Igual que vos”, “La pena que me has dejado” and “Tres cruces”.