Néstor Pinsón

round fifty numbers belong to Brignolo, from which —according to Oscar Zucchi— only twenty-three were committed to record and finally, only three lasted through time: “Chiqué” and “Por seguidora y por fiel”, as composer, and “Intimas”, as lyricist.

The first one, no doubt, is his most beautiful musical creation, and also its lyrics belong to him. Originally he signed it with his sobriquet and, we can guess that he did not pretend to be a poet but simply he felt like writing it. Maybe due to that unknown word he had heard a French woman say time before.

But I want to highlight the easy handling of the colloquial way, with a delicate touch of lunfardo. He tells a simple story and, unthinkingly, he left a line that became part of the daily language for a long time: «prettier than a morello cherry». Necessary antecedent of the later: «she’s a grape», Armando Laborde’s choice of saying.

The melodic richness of “Chiqué” prevailed over his lyric and, with the only exception of Ignacio Corsini in 1928, the recorded renditions were all instrumentals.

The word of its title was used later in other tangos and by other poets. Enrique Cadícamo, in “Che papusa oí”; Manuel Romero, in “Pobre milonga”; Carlos Lenzi, in “Noches de Montmartre”; Juan Fernández, in “No me hagas chiqué”, so being included into our lunfardo words.

According to researchers, chiqué belongs to the jargon of French pimps and has many meanings: to pretend to be a fool or to lie, feign, to boast, to be flamboyant, luxurious or to show off oneself as an elegant person.

As for “Intimas”, Brignolo wrote the lyrics on the melody already composed by Alfonso Lacueva. In it he handles a completely romantic mood and, again, he succeeds in incorporating one of his lines into our everyday language when he says: «and an emptiness impossible to fill». With this phrase he ends each of the three parts or stanzas in which the story is divided.

It is interesting his experience as wordsmith, and because of that we add one more piece, “Tus besos”, also in a classic romantic mood.

But his outstanding feature is that he was regarded as one of the most important bandoneonists of his time. Music was in his heart and it was evidenced in his late teens. His childhood was overwhelmed by work. That was absolutely necessary to support his family because of his father’s illness.

But one night by the turn of the last century he passed by the corner of Suárez and Necochea and at a cheap café he heard a bandoneon playing and was so touched that he waited for the musician at the end of his gig. He wanted to know how to play but to play like he did. He insisted time and again until El Tano Genaro Espósito, who had no students, finally agreed. But he taught him to play by ear and he later studied to read music when he sailed to France along with Manuel Pizarro.

The student had a notable evolution and the following year, at the Bar Iglesias, he replaced his teacher in the Roberto Firpo’s orchestra. It turns out impossible to detail his later never-ending activity. Below there is a brief summary of his career: He was member of the outfit led by Rafael Iriarte, of a trio with Pacífico Lambertucci and soloist in Montevideo at the Café Yacaré and at Cazzolino’s.

In 1914 he formed his first group and appeared at the Café El Caburé on 1274 Entre Ríos Street. Later at the Café-movie theater El Capuchino, on Carlos Calvo between Boedo and Colombres. There the violinist Fausto Frontera made his debut alongside him.

Two years later he fronted a trio that included the violinist Antonio Buglione. In 1917 he put together another small group at the Café T.V.O. on 1786 Montes de Oca Street, with the violinist Bernardo Germino.

In 1918, he joined the Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores Orchestra and, later he switched to the Orquesta Goubián, led by Juan Carlos Cobián. The latter had modified his family name in order to avoid being discovered as a lawbreaker because he had not turned up when he was called for military service. But he was caught and for that reason he composed “A pan y agua”.

Between 1919 and 1921 he joined the orchestra headed by Samuel Castriota to appear at the carnival balls. Thereafter, he was member of a giant orchestra (around 50 players) conducted by Julio De Caro. In 1923 he formed a new group to appear at the carnival balls of the Pabellón de la Rosas. His sidemen were Pedro Maffia and Luis Petrucelli, Lorenzo Olivari, the Remo Bolognini, Astor Bolognini and Eduardo Armani (violinists) and José María Rizzuti (piano). That same year he was summoned to join the Francisco Lomuto Orchestra but as pianist replacing Enrique Lomuto.

The following year, again for the carnival season, De Caro put together another large orchestra. Then Brignolo was one of the eight bandoneon players. The challenge of 1924 for him, among other performances, was being member of the last period of the quartet led by the pianist Roberto Goyheneche who died soon thereafter. He again joined Lomuto and with that aggregation he was at the opening of the LOQ Radio París broadcasts.

In the mid- 1929 and with his own orchestra, he was hired by the new label Brunswick which included him in its cast until the label disappeared in 1932.

This excellent musician left for our memory thirty-seven 78 rpm discs, with 74 numbers, most them with vocals.

The passing of time and the evolution of tango gradually made him step aside and, in the early forties his name had been overshadowed by the younger ones. But his mark was left on those gems: “Chiqué” and “Intimas”, which by themselves are enough to deserve a place in the hall of fame of the greats of tango.