Abel Palermo

e was a singer with a baritone range, with a quite pleasant warm voice, that complied with all the features that were characteristic of the forties. His recordings reveal us sober interpretations with a moderate vibrato —of which he did not make excessive use— and an impeccable intonation.

He was born in General Sarmiento, province of Buenos Aires. At a young age he began to study piano, music reading, harmony and, also singing, his true vocation.

In the early forties he settled in Buenos Aires where he made his professional debut appearing at different venues, especially in barrooms and neighborhood clubs.

In 1947 he sang with the Francisco Grillo orchestra on Radio Belgrano and, in one of those appearances, Hugo Baralis heard him. By that time the latter was violinist in the orchestra led by Astor Piazzolla and he recommended the singer to his leader.

For some time the aggregation had had some problems finding a substitute for his singer, Héctor Insúa, who had decided to quit and change his career. At the beginning, he was replaced by Fernando Reyes but it was an ephimeral step and, because of that, there was an audition with the young from General Sarmiento which turned out successful.

The orchestra fronted by Ástor was lined up as follows: Roberto Di Filippo, Abelardo Alfonsín, Jorge Luongo and the aggregation leader (bandoneons), Hugo Baralis, Carmelo Cavallaro, Andrés Rivas (violins), Víctor Casagrande (viola), José Federighi (cello), Valentín Andreotta (double bass) and Atilio Stampone (piano). The vocalists were: Fontán Luna and Aldo Campoamor. The latter soon later quit and his place was, shortly, occupied by Oscar Ferrari.

His debut with Piazzolla was at the carnival balls of 1948 and, in November that same year, for the Odeon label he recorded the tango “Cafetín de Buenos Aires” and the waltz “República Argentina” composed by Santos Lipesker with words by Reinaldo Yiso.

The following year the leader dismembered his orchestra and, consequently, Fontán Luna was the last singer of that notable tango aggregation.

As from 1950 the vocalist was summoned by Radio Splendid to join its cast. But in 1952 he returned to Ástor because the latter was hired by the above radio station to conduct its Strings Staff Orchestra. The female singer Nilda Marino was also included.

In 1954 he appeared as soloist on Radio Argentina and, the following year, he had a short stint in the orchestra headed by Atilio Stampone and also in the one led by Emilio Orlando.

For his appearances on Radio Belgrano in 1958, Lorenzo Barbero hired him to sing in his orchestra alongside his other vocalist, Daniel Rey.

The following year Carlos Guido split with Florindo Sassone and switched to the Osvaldo Pugliese orchestra and so he was replaced by Fontán Luna. The other singer was Andrés Peyró. They appeared on Radio El Mundo and on TV Channel 7.

With Sassone he recorded three numbers: “Soledad”, “Mano a mano” and “Tu pecado”. The latter with lyrics by Roberto Lambertucci. In March 1960 he split with the orchestra and began a tour of Argentina that ended in the city of Mendoza. From there, soon thereafter, he crossed the Andes to Chile to start a long way touring the countries of the Pacific Ocean to great acclaim, for twenty years.

In the eighties he teamed up with a musician based in Mexico, Coco Potenza, and they appeared at different venues and television channels of Central America along with great international figures and as well shared the bill with Luis Miguel.

In 1995 for the Mexican label Pentagrama, with the accompaniment of Potenza and Gogui Fontán, he recorded several hits of his songbook, among them: “Naranjo en flor”, “El cantor de Buenos Aires”, “La última curda”, “Mi vieja viola” and, as homage to Astor Piazzolla, “La bicicleta blanca” and “Balada para mi muerte”.

And here we have lost his track and we ignore where he is living now, if he still lives. However, we thought it was strictly fair to evoke his memory and, especially, his artistry.

In an exchange of messages in our forum La Mesa del Café the sad news of
his death were published but without much detail. A friend of the singer's confirmed his demise which took place in Mexico around 1997. With these sad news we close this short but deserved homage to a talented interpreter of our tango.