Ángel Condercuri

Real name: Condercuri, Ángel Félix
Nicknames: Del Conde
Bandoneonist, leader, arranger and composer
(2 August 1912 - 15 September 1996)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Ángel R. Condercuri

e was born in Barracas when his parents, Roque Condercuri and Rosa Rasso, lived on 1400 Daniel Cerri Street in that neighborhood. He was the third of four brothers. Since an early age he had evidenced musical inclinations and when he was nine doña Rosa started him in bandoneon studying through maestro Manuel Daponte. He furthered his playing with the renowned composer and bandoneonist Carlos Marcucci.

At age 14 he began to appear at different local institutions. His facility with the instrument was nearly that of a professional. In 1927 he made his debut at the cabaret Marabú.

In 1936, Héctor Varela summoned him to join the Discepolín Orchestra. The debut of this aggregation was on Radio Municipal and later played at the carnival celebrations of the Teatro Colón. This experience had an extraordinary importance for the career he would later follow.

The following year he joined the orchestra led by Ernesto De La Cruz in which Astor Piazzolla was also member. With the composer of “El ciruja” he traveled to Montevideo and stayed there for two years. There he also played in the orchestras led by Pedro Maffia and by Roberto Zerrillo.

In the early 40s a period of recognition and successes began for Ángel in his debut with maestro Osvaldo Pugliese at the Café El Nacional on Corrientes Street. Thereafter they traveled to Montevideo and stayed for several months.

By that time Condercuri was 30 years old and, in the late 1942, he joined the Domingo Federico’s orchestra, beginning then a brilliant stage in our popular music. They appeared at the Los 36 Billares, the Marabú and the Café El Nacional. Later, in 1943, he played for the first time in a recording for RCA-Victor, cutting the tangos “Saludos” and “Yuyo verde” as sideman.

That same year, on January 16, he married Josefa Damone (Chola). His home was on 2086 Alvarado Street where he has been living since age 9 and where his three children, Ángel, Carlos and Norma, were born.

In 1944, summoned by his friend Enrique Alessio he joined the backup orchestra for the singer Alberto Castillo that the former conducted. In 1948, Alessio split with the orchestra and Castillo suggested Condercuri being the new leader of his orchestra.

Then, between 1944 and 1968, no less than twenty-four years, he was in charge of the orchestra as leader and arranger and continuously accompanied the singer and played on all his recordings.

Alongside Castillo he began a series of successful tours of Latin America and Spain. In the latter nation they stayed for almost two years and there he was called El Mago del Bandoneón. In Spain he made a series of recitals playing bandoneon on the Spanish television (TVE) performing classical music. He preferred to play pieces by Bach and Chopin.

As accompanist of Castillo he arrived in the United States, a place where only a few artists were successful. The Americans enjoyed our tango and they played there for several months on 42nd Street, New York, to great acclaim. Later they went on a tour of Morocco, the north of Africa, France and other European countries.

In 1950, he composed the music of the tango “No te arrepientas” and Abel Aznar wrote its lyrics. To this collaboration many more numbers followed. Among them there was one hit recorded by Juan D'Arienzo entitled “Con todo mi corazón”, with Alberto Echagüe on vocals, which was re-issued several times.

Other numbers: “El aullido”, “Aquella serenata”, “El capote”, “El consejo maternal”, “Qué lindo es volver”, a hit by Castillo; “Viejo mío”, “La perinola”, “Todos queremos más”, a song co-written with Rodolfo Sciammarella, recorded in seven languages with an impressive record of sales in Spain; “No me dejes nunca”, “Es la única verdad”, “Mientes”, “Volvé corazón”, recorded by his own orchestra with Carlos Gari on vocals; “Así maestro”, dedicated to his beloved friend Ernesto Franco. But there is an important landmark in his life: the tango “Y bésame otra vez” recorded by Héctor Varela with the vocalist Rodolfo Lesica. It sold 380.000 copies in the first week of its release.

In the late 60s he decided to split with Alberto Castillo to put together his own orchestra. He formed a group with the pianist José Colángelo and the singers Carlos Rossi and Carlos Gari and they went to Santiago de Chile on a contract for nearly a one-year tenure.

The decline of the genre that by that time was noticeable forced him to disband his outfit to devote himself to other kind of activities.

No doubt, we are remembering an excellent bandleader, arranger and composer that was respected and admired by his colleagues. But as for his mastery in bandoneon playing, curiously, he was better recognized abroad than in his own land.

His friends remember him for his generosity and for his willingness to help others. They regard him as a unconditional human being and, above all, an honorable person.