Daniel Melingo

Real name: Melingo, Daniel Alejandro
Singer, composer, author and multi-instrumentalist
(22 October 1957 - )
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Luis Alposta

e was born in Buenos Aires and he spent his childhood in the neighborhoods of Balvanera and Parque Patricios.

At an early age he began his musical studies at the National Conservatory of Music «Carlos López Buchardo» where he studied classical guitar and clarinet with professor Filotete Martorella.

He studied at the «Manuel de Falla´ Municipal Conservatory and at the Universidad Católica Argentina in the Department of Musicology, Ethnomusicology and Composition, he studied harmony, composition and interpretation with Pompeyo Camps; electro-acoustics and orchestral analysis with professor José Maranzano and contemporary music with Rodolfo Arizaga.

In the late 1979 he traveled to Brazil where he began his professional career by temporarily joining the Milton Nascimento’s band, a fundamental figure in the history of Brazilian music.

Back in Buenos Aires he joined the mythical band Los Abuelos de la Nada, in which he played sax, clarinet and guitar alongside musicians like Miguel Abuelo, Andrés Calamaro, Cachorro López, Gustavo Bazterrica and Polo Corbella.

The record Vasos y Besos belongs to that period. One of its numbers is “Chalamán”, «a surprising reggae-like number which bears Melingo’s trademark», according to his own partners.

He was the creator along with Víctor Kesselman and Viviana Tellas (Las Bay Biscuit) of the show Juicio Oral y Público al Dr. Moreau, that Los Abuelos de la Nada presented in December 1981. He quit the band in the late 1983 to devote himself to his other projects. One of them, at the beginning while he still was with Los Abuelos and El Miguel Abuelo Trío, was the popular rock band Los Twist, a group that privileged rockabilly sounds and irreverent lyrics which was put together in 1982 by Daniel Melingo and Pipo Cipolatti. Other members were Fabiana Cantilo and Hilda Lizarazu. The well-known songs “Hulla hulla” and “Cleopatra (the Queen of Twist)” and the albums La dicha en movimiento (1983); Cachetazo al vicio (1984) and La máquina del tiempo (1985) are from this period.

In 1984 he was summoned by Charly García to appear at the opening performance of Yendo de la cama al living and later he switched to his own band which included Alfredo Toth (bass), Willy Iturri (drums), Pablo Guyot (guitar), Fabiana Cantilo (vocal backgrounds) and Fito Páez (keyboards). That year he recorded the album Piano Bar with that band.

In 1986 he traveled to Spain where he collaborated with the popular group Los Toreros Muertos, and thereafter he put together a band called Lions in Love with which he cut two albums: Lions in love (1989) and Psicofonías (1992).

In 1995 he organized a new band, lined up by Martín Aloe (bass), Pablo Guadalupe (drums), Ira Seagal (guitar), Sandra Baylac (vocal backgrounds). With this band he released his first disc as soloist, H2O, which privileged reggae and funk beats inspired in a popular comics: El Eternauta. The standouts of this recording, produced by Cachorro López which features Andrés Calamaro and Pipo Cipolatti as guest artists, are the title song and “Viejo sol”.

Later based in Buenos Aires, in 1997, Melingo switches to tango by appearing as emcee on television in the program Mala Yunta for the cable channel Sólo Tango. In that TV show the guest artists that are in fact rock musicians play tangos.

Thereafter his career went on, entirely devoted to tango, by musicalizing poems written by Enrique Cadícamo, Celedonio Flores, Dante A. Linyera, Julián Centeya, Carlos de la Púa, Luis Alposta (with whom he has teamed up for songwriting since 1998) and, also, his own poems; he appeared at numerous concerts either in our country or abroad, and cut the following albums: Tangos bajos (1998), Ufa (2001), Santa milonga (2004), compilation of Tangos bajos and Ufa, plus two new numbers, and Maldito tango (2007). The latter two, produced and released in France by the label Mañana, of Gotan Project.

He rediscovered tango and produced discs which emphasize the poetry of the outskirts, either with classic compositions or his own numbers. Characters that walk along the border of the law, stories where alcohol fills the air, whores, drugs, love affairs and unrequited loves made «Melingo’s universe´ a door for the younger generations to enter our genre.

Possessing an expressiveness of his own in which is very hard to discover influences by other singers, his vocal timbre or color is, traditionally, defined and known as «tango voice». A tango voice, yes, but a different voice, that is far from stereotypes and with no showing off. Faithful to himself, he sings his tangos as if speaking, filling them with the rhythm of his own breathing. He does it with a choked and believable sorrow that succeeds in touching us. As a subjective judgment I think that Daniel Melingo’s voice is a naughty but lovable voice. His guitar, his clarinet, his voice, what he says and how he says it, which are examples of sincerity and extroversion, do not ignore the most primitive and festive forms that are found in the origins of tango.

After successful performances on European tours, The Guardian and The Independent, two of the most respected journals of Great Bretain, highly praise the figure of the former rocker turned into tango man: «Daniel Melingo, with hints from his formal training that he conceals in the humility of his interpretation, is the man that is making tango something seriously cool. He’s the man that comes from the Argentine rock scene, but who always stays close to the tango heart of the bandoneon, the double bass, the guitar and the violin to which he adds exotic elements and, mainly, his voice. A kind of Argentine Tom Waits heading his group Los Ramones del Tango».

Among his creations, the following stand out: “Ayer”, “Narigón”, “Jack The Ripper”, “Tango del vampiro”, “Mano cruel”, “La pebeta de Chiclana”, “Siga cochero”, “De todo y para dos”, “Este cuore”, “El extraño caso”, “En un bondi color humo”, “A lo Magdalena”, “Pequeño paria”, “Montmartre de hoy”.