Mario Alonso

Real name: Alonso, Mario
Singer, actor and lyricist
(22 June 1922 - 16 July 1972)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Néstor Pinsón
| Abel Palermo

his correct singer was born in Buenos Aires, to a home in which art would be the essential base for the family education. In fact, either Mario or his brothers and sisters: Tito, Pola, Iris and Héctor succeeded in standing out in the Buenos Aires scene by means of the radio, theater and, later, movies and television.

In 1945 his debut as professional singer took place with the tango orchestra led by the violinist Roberto Dimas. In it he shared the vocal responsibility with Alberto Carol who later was replaced by Jorge Rubino. They appeared on Radio Belgrano and at the Ebro Bar on Corrientes Avenue.

Two years later he switched to the aggregation known as José García y sus Zorros Grises, as substitute for Osvaldo Cordó who had joined the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra. The other vocalist was Alberto Santillán.

Thereafter a curious event happened, the five Alonso siblings were summoned to appear in the film Mis cinco hijos by Orestes Caviglia and Bernardo Spoliansky which was premiered in September 1948. The plot was by Nathan Pinzón and Ricardo Setaro, and the music by Juan Ehler. What we have to highlight about this movie is the appearing of the Osvaldo Pugliese Orchestra accompanying Mario in the tangos “A barquinazos”, with lyrics by Homero Expósito, and “El encopao” and playing the instrumentals “La yumba” and “Adiós Bardi”, all numbers composed by don Osvaldo.

In connection with this film Alberto Morán told us the following story one evening when we were at his home. He was very sad and he said he had never appeared on a movie screen not even as a cameo appearance. He was very touched. Even worse when Mis cinco hijos was shot —who knows why— Pugliese summoned Alonso to sing in the movie instead of inviting him, his vocalist, who by the way, was a smash hit at that time. He went on saying that «Mario was a good boy but as a singer he barked like a dog». This conversation was recorded and belongs to Néstor Pinsón’s collection.

After the carnival balls of 1949 the singer Enrique Lucero —Mariano Mores’s brother— split with the Francisco Canaro’s aggregation. Because of that, Alonso was hired to replace him. He made his debut on Radio Belgrano and recorded a number for the first time. This number was the tango “Confesión”. The other vocalist of the orchestra was Alberto Arenas.

In the carnival of 1950, Canaro and his singers were the main attractions in the balls at the Luna Park stadium. Later, the orchestra started a tour of the interior of Uruguay and Montevideo. In May the indefatigable leader began a successful theater season in Buenos Aires and resumed his appearances on Radio Belgrano. By that time Alonso cut many recordings. Among them, I think, the following stand out: the tango “Lo que nunca te dirán” and the waltz “Pequeña”.

Furthermore, in a duo with Arenas he recorded the Canaro’s milonga “Vinacho y vinagrillo” and a medley “Reliquias de temas brasileños”. The latter meant a boom in Brazil and so they were hired for an important tour of several cities of that country: Porto Alegre, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Other worth mentioning recordings with Canaro were: “Prohibido” and, teaming up with Arenas, his last recording: the march “Brasil, Brasil”, also with Pirincho’s music.

After the carnival balls of 1955 he quit the orchestra and began a long tour throughout Brazil that thereafter he continued in Central America and that lasted to the mid- sixties. After that he quit his show business career for good.

It is important to say that he belongs to the group of singers that recorded most with the Canaro orchestra. He recorded 31 numbers, including the 9 he cut teaming with Arenas as a duo. He also wrote the words of a tango that the bandleader composed: “Noche de niebla”.

He died when he was still young in a cold winter in Buenos Aires, he was just fifty years old.