Domingo Marafioti

Real name: Marafioti, Domingo Antonio Ramón
Pianist, leader and composer
(25 October 1913 - 29 March 2002)
Place of birth:
Tucumán Argentina
Eduardo Visconti

is father was an Italian musician that had arrived in our country in 1901 and chose the province of Tucumán as the place to settle with his family. Soon thereafter he joined the Municipal Band of the capital of the province as trombonist and second conductor of the band that by that time had fifty players.

The musician José Luis Padula lived near his home. One day the former visited them and Domingo witnessed how his father transcribed the notes of the famous “Nueve de Julio” to the music staff. That tango had two diferent lyrics: the one written by Lito Bayardo and the one by Eugenio Cárdenas. Padula was a musician that played by ear, he did not know the musical notation.

At age eight he began his music studies and his instrument was the piano. Later he furthered his knowledge in his hometown and, around 1937, he polished them in Buenos Aires. In the big city one way of making a living was playing the pipe organ at different parish churches when any kind of celebration was held.

After he married, in 1943, he continued higher studies of piano with Raúl Spivak and harmony and composition with Torres Bertucci and Juan José Castro. Alberto Ginastera, the Spaniard Julián Bautista and Teodoro Fuchs were also his teachers.

His technique and his way of playing on keyboard was subtle, passionate, creative and he achieved a sort of velvet-like tone.

From 1937 to 1940 he appeared on Radio Cultura, as leader and member of an «international trio», along with two of his brothers (piano, violin and cello). It was a small staff group that backed up all the artists aired on the radio station, either operatic singers or singers of folk music or tango. As it happened with Mariano Balcarce or with Eva and Edmundo Rivero teaming up as duo.

He was pianist of a Hungarian orchestra led by maestro Zlagy which played at tea time at the Litz tearoom on Corrientes —opposite the Teatro Nacional— and at the Adlon on Florida and Sarmiento.

For more than two years, as from 1943, on LR2 Radio Argentina, then located on 8 Florida Street, he conducted an orchestra known as Bohemia de Fantasía with ten players that accompanied, among others, the melodic singers Eduardo Farrel, Eduardo Ferri, the Spaniard Niño de Utrera (Juan Mendoza) and the tango singers Oscar Alonso, Héctor Palacios, Alberto Margal and Mercedes Simone.

He was friend of Alberto Vila’s and used to visit the latter to play on piano the tangos that the singer would later include in his songbook.

In 1945 he was in charge of conducting the staff orchestra of LR4 Radio Splendid which had forty members. A curious information is that for the first time he conducted his father who was the double bass player of that aggregation.

As from 1949 he collaborated in art aspects with the government. In fact, summoned by Raúl Alejandro Apold —Secretary of Information—, he received the proposal of leading the orchestra of the Asociación del Profesorado Orquestal (A.P.O.), a forty-piece aggregation whose members belonged to the Radio Splendid staff orchestra. The reason was the recording of the march “Los muchachos peronistas” featuring Hugo Del Carril on vocals and the choir led by Fanny Day (Fanny Brenner) who, at that time, belonged to the staff of Radio El Mundo.

In 1951, and continuing with a series of recordings prepared by the Undersecretary of Press and Broadcasting, he recorded the march-song “Es el pueblo”, written by Antonio Helú, with the Fanny Day choir and Nelly Omar on vocals. Also the milonga by Helú and Enrique Maroni, “La descamisada”, here without the choir and only the female singer on vocals.

That same year, always conducting the A.P.O. orchestra, he recorded again the march “Los muchachos peronistas” and “Evita capitana”, both by the choir of the Sociedad Argentina de Cantantes (Argentine Society of Singers) conducted by Héctor Artola. In December 1952 the «little march» was recorded again with the singer Héctor Mauré and the Fanny Day choir.

“Los muchachos peronistas” and “Evita capitana” were released in a new rendition, this time with Domingo Marafioti conducting the orchestra of the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires. All the above recordings were made by the Victor label, then on 1955 Bartolomé Mitre Street. The Secretary of Information of the Presidency of the Nation spread them throughout the country.

In October 1956 maestro Marafioti began to conduct the staff orchestras of LR3 Radio Belgrano. They were a big one with 60 players and one smaller with 25 members. He remained in that position until August 1, 1966 when the president Arturo Illia was overthrown and the general Juan Carlos Onganía, who took on his de facto goverment, dismembered the orchestras for financial reasons.

In March 1967 he joined the Teatro Colón staff as substitute teacher. He retired in August 1978. Until the late 1989 he worked at the Conservatorio Galvagni as repertoire teacher. He conducted theatrical orchestras and other aggregations for performances on television channels with a light music repertoire.

As composer he did not stand out even though in SADAIC fifty-nine numbers of his are filed in the record, two tangos, a carnavalito, a huella, melodic ballads and children songs.

He was a man with a strong personality and, by nature, of a serious countenance, arrogant and distinguished. Sincere, pleasant, generous, but also drastic, impacient and nervous. Admirer of the Spanish singer Alfredo Kraus and fan of tango and soccer. Furthermore, he confessed he was a Racing Club fan.

Published on Tango y Lunfardo Nº 48, 1989.