Abel Palermo

e was born in Rosario, province of Santa Fe. His father was Simón Suárez and his mother was Haydé Villanueva.

While still a kid his parents sent him to study piano to the Williams conservatory of Rosario. In that institution he got a strong musical training, not only as instrumentalist but also in harmony and composition.

In the mid- thirties he decided to settle in the city of Buenos Aires. He then lived in the historical Pensión de la alegría (Inn of the Happiness) on 200 Salta Street. Most of its dwellers were musicians, singers, authors, composers that later would be leading figures in the development of tango in the forties. Part of the guests had come from his hometown: Julio Ahumada, Antonio Ríos, Manuel Sucher, Carlos Parodi and others from the province of Buenos Aires: the brothers Homero and Virgilio Expósito, Argentino Galván, Enrique Francini, Héctor Stamponi, Armando Pontier, Emilio Barbato, among others.

Soon after he arrived in Buenos Aires he began an important friendship with Enrique Cadícamo who connected him with Juan Carlos Cobián. The creator of “Mi refugio” taught him some of his secret tricks on piano to play tango.

In 1937 he composed, along with the poet Evaristo Fratantoni, the tangos “Ráfagas” and “Din don”. The latter was premiered by Libertad Lamarque before the mikes of Radio Belgrano, a radio station where Suárez Villanueva was appearing as pianist.

In July 1938 maestro Lucio Demare with his orchestra and Juan Carlos Miranda on vocals recorded “Din don” for the Odeon record company in January 1939. Francisco Canaro with his vocalist Ernesto Famá recorded his tango “Al subir, al bajar” with lyrics by Cadícamo.

In the early 1940 his friend, the pianist Carlos Parodi, quit the direction of the academy run by the Rubistein brothers (on Callao and Corrientes) —he had replaced Mariano Mores— and Suárez Villanueva was his substitute.

Since then a close friendship with Oscar Rubens was born and also a new songwriting team which turned out very important in the genre when they blended their talents for the tango creation.

Then they launched “Lejos de Buenos Aires”, tango that was immediately recorded by Miguel Caló with Raúl Berón on vocals for Odeon in July 1942 and by Aníbal Troilo with Francisco Fiorentino in September for RCA-Victor. It is, no doubt, a marvelous piece because of its poetry and its music which thirty years later, in the seventies, Roberto Goyeneche accompanied by Atilio Stampone made a masterpiece.

Another hit was “Al compás de un tango” that Alberto Castillo recorded with Ricardo Tanturi in March 1942. It turned out the first smash hit of the unforgettable singer.

In the following years his numbers were included in the charts and the discography of the greatest orchestras: “Es en vano llorar”, Miguel Caló with Raúl Iriarte; “Lloran las campanas”, Carlos Di Sarli with Alberto Podestá; “Tu melodía”, Domingo Federico with Carlos Vidal and Rodolfo Biagi with Jorge Ortiz; lastly, “Mientras duerme la ciudad”, Osmar Maderna with Luis Tolosa and “Mar”, Federico with Vidal.

But the consecrating number of the pianist was yet to come: “La luz de un fósforo”, with words by Cadícamo, that Troilo recorded with Alberto Marino on vocals. It is a true tango gem that was committed to disc by the most important performers.

In 1946 the pianist became a bandleader and he put together his own orchestra. His debut was with the singers José Berón and Oscar Ferrari at the mythical stage of the Café Marzotto on Corrientes Street.

For many years he was the exclusive figure of that café where he auditioned new singers. Those auditions launched: Horacio Casares, Carlos Fontán, Carlos Marcos, among others.

In 1949 the vocalists of his orchestra were the consecrated Héctor Palacios and Ilda Soler.

The following year he left for Montevideo hired by the historical Café El Ateneo located in Plaza Cagancha. It was a ten-year tenure.

On his comeback to Buenos Aires in the early sixties he opened a music academy in the basement of the now disappeared shopping mall on 182 Callao Avenue. Its teachers were Dante Gilardoni, Carlos Parodi, Joe Rispoli, and Carmelo Izzo, among others. After 1965 I went to that place to further my training. There I started a nice relationship with Suárez Villanueva and shared his musical experience, his teachings, his advice and, furthermore, his friends, among them, the great Enrique Cadícamo.

Other numbers of his that I recall are the tangos: “Nadie”, with lyrics by Evaristo Fratantoni, "La huella", with Cadícamo and “Mi madre tierra”, with Gerardo Adroher.

Alberto Suárez Villanueva was a notable musician of our beloved tango that contributed to the evolution of the genre either in his work as player, in the melodic and rhythmical aspects, and in his work as composer.