Carlos Saavedra

Real name: Gardella, Carlos Mateo
(2 October 1920 - 12 November 1972)
Place of birth:
Bragado (Buenos Aires) Argentina
Germán Rosso

e was born in Bragado, province of Buenos Aires. In his teen years he was irresistibly attracted to tango and its bohemia. He used to sing at the carnaval balls held in the clubs of his hometown in an orchestra that was lined up by, among others, Fito Del Bue —brother of Angélica who later would be his wife (piano)—, Francia —do not mistake him for Manlio— (violin), Héctor Larrea’s father (bandoneon) and Quinta (drums). He also sang in the Argentino Galván orchestra which was based in the neighboring city of Chivilcoy.

In April 1940 he appeared in O'Brien with the orchestra led by Zerrillo. Maestro Zerrillo was to award a gold medal for the best amateur that would appear at a sort of «short contest» he had organized.

The medal, needless to say, was awarded to Carlitos Gardella. Of all the contestants that appeared he was the one that everybody liked. He was congratulated by maestro Zerrillo and the members of the orchestra. Thereafter he moved to the Capital Federal.

He made his debut on Radio Prieto under the name Carlos Braga and was accompanied by the orchestra fronted by Enrique De Lorenzo —aka El Pibe de Oro—. His performance was excellent. He was presented in the radio show sponsored by Malta Palermo along with Hugo Del Carril, Azucena Maizani, Alita Román and Pedro Quartucci. The emcee was Oscar Catalano.

He also sang with the disciplined orchestra headed by Jorge Pino on LR2 Radio Argentina at the popular Bar Marzotto and in other venues when they toured the interior of Argentina.

At age 25 he returned to Bragado, married Angélica Del Bue in March 1946 and they moved to Buenos Aires. They gave birth to five children: Carlos, Jorge, María, Olga and Angélica.

That same year, 1946, he started singing now with his definitive sobriquet Carlos Saavedra (maternal family name) in the Rodolfo Biagi orchestra. With the latter he recorded seven numbers which, in fact, are his complete discography: “Mientras duerme la ciudad”, tango by Oscar Rubens and Alberto Suárez Villanueva (23/5/1946); “Gracias” (18/6/1946); “Por eso grito”, tango by Edgardo Donato and César Córdoba (César José Fábregas’s nom de plume) (16/8/1946); “Sin palabras” (22/11/1946); “Esta noche me emborracho” (30/12/1946); “Margot”, (23/9/1947) and “Por la güeya”, milonga by Rodolfo Biagi and Homero Manzi (22/7/1948).

When the carnival season of 1950 was over he split —together with Alberto Amor— with the Rodolfo Biagi orchestra and decided to go on with his singing career as soloist in barrooms, tearooms and cheap restaurants of Buenos Aires. He also sang with the tango orchestra fronted by Dionisio Delgado and as well at El Sótano accompanied by the guitarist José Canet.

He appeared in radio programs on Radio El Mundo and Splendid and also in Uruguay.

His death —a stroke, a cerebrovascular accident (CVA)— took place in his home of Lanús in the spring of 1972 when he was eager to appear that evening at a new restaurant in Buenos Aires.

The years passed and in December 1993, on the corner of Pellegrini and Mitre of Bragado, his friends and neighbors placed a commemorative plaque as homage to him. Also soon after his death, at the venue El Buzón (now inexistent) on San Juan and Solís, in Buenos Aires, another plaque was placed to remember him.

Carlos Saavedra was, according to his wife’s words —in a ceremony in Bragado— in December 1993: «He was a bohemian boy. He did not care if he got little or much money. He never thought that something bad would happen to him and when he talked he spoke about the year 2000».