Abel Palermo

is parents were Manuel Rey and Luisa Cervera. He was born in Buenos Aires in the neighborhood of Barracas on Herrera Street which inspired his stage name.

He began singing when he was a kid and as a teenager he started to appear in the singing contests of Barracas and La Boca and also at some cafés. Then in 1956 the radio station LR3 Radio Belgrano and the Emilio Roca publishing house that released the magazines Cantando and Radio Film sponsored an important national talent contest for female and male tango vocalists.

That competition lasted nearly through all the year and was broadcast by Radio Belgrano once a week. The contestants were chosen after a severe selection made throughout the nation.

The final round was carried out at the Teatro Alvear on Corrientes Street. The female finalists were Ángeles Dangell, Silvia Del Río and Blanca Money. The men were Ernesto Herrera, Carlos Budini and Osvaldo Bonet and the winners were Ernesto Herrera and Ángeles Dangell.

The number sung by our singer was the tango "Fogón de huella" and the orchestra that backed up all the finalists was led by the pianist Miguel Nijensohn.

In 1957 he appeared at the above radio station with the accompaniment of the radio station staff orchestra. Furthermore, he recorded a single disc for the Odeon label with the Nijensohn’s orchestra. Both gigs were part of the award.

By the end of the year he was summoned by Héctor Varela, along with the singer Fontán Reyes, as substitute for the vocalists Rodolfo Lesica and Raúl Lavié who had split with the orchestra. Both made their debut on record in January 1958, respectively with the tangos "Volvé mimosa" and "Esta noche de copas". These numbers became a boom at the carnival balls of that year.

In March he recorded the milonga written by Salvador Alonso, Raúl Gramajo and Héctor Varela "Quién te quiere como yo" and thereafter they went on tour to Chile where Fontán Reyes had a serious problem with his vocal cords and had to undergo an urgent surgery in the city of Santiago.

In June the singer Carlos Yanel joined the orchestra. He had passed through the ranks of the orchestra led by José Sala in Rosario and, in Buenos Aires he had been vocalist for Alfredo Gobbi. In that period he recorded the two numbers I like most of the ones recorded with Varela, the tangos "Cariñito" and "Marinera". That year Herrera recorded nine numbers.

In the early 1959 Yanel quit and, in his place, Armando Laborde returned to sing with Varela for the third time and, by the end of the year Rodolfo Lesica did the same. Then the orchestra had three vocalists. In February he cut the tango "Rococó", by Erma Suárez and José Rótulo and in April, as a duo with Armando Laborde, the waltz written by Varela and Carlos Waiss, "Gaucha". Later he would continue with a couple of numbers more until he decided to start his stage as soloist.

As from 1960 he carried out his activity on Radio Belgrano and on Radio Del Pueblo. The following year an important event for his career would take place. The president of the nation, Dr. Arturo Frondizi, was invited by the prince Akihito to visit Japan. He offered maestro Francisco Canaro to join the Argentine delegation.

In the late October 1961 the official delegation and the Canaro Orchestra left for those faraway lands. The orchestra made its debut in Tokyo on November 1 at the Koma Theater before the prince Akihito. The players were Domingo Federico, Oscar Bassil, Antonio Scapolatempo, Antonio Germade (bandoneons), Bernardo Weber, Octavio Scaglione, Antonio D'Alessandro and José Sarmiento (violins), Oscar Sabino (piano), Ariel Pedernera (bass) and Ernesto Herrera and Isabel de Grana (vocalists).

The visit lasted for a month and they toured throughout the country to a wide acclaim; Herrera was dressed in gaucho outfit in most of the recitals. On their comeback to Argentina he stayed with Canaro for a time but the health of the leader began to decline and their performances were more sporadic. Because of that Herrera joined Varela again and cut a notable recording, "Es hora de vivir", tango by Enrique Francini and Carlos Bahr. Later he returned as soloist to Radio Belgrano and, in 1963, to Radio Libertad.

In 1968 he recorded again with the accompaniment of Roberto Grela and his guitar group, evidencing his great capabilities as soloist singer with a mature interpretation and, I think, at the best time of his vocal conditions. It is striking the high quality he shows at the recording of the Brazilian piece "Venganza (c)" performed as a tango, a memorable rendition of "Callejón" and a grand finale with his signature number, "Fogón de huella". In the seventies he appeared in different television programs and at night shows in Buenos Aires venues.

This is our humble memory to this great tango interpreter that, thanks to Todo Tango, today we rescue from oblivion.