Néstor Pinsón
| Abel Palermo

is early death cut our short but fraternal personal relationship. It was like one of the old days, I would say. When one used to go to meet the other and then both went out to walk together after midnight along Corrientes Avenue, not today’s avenue, dull, dangerous, somewhat mean, but the one we knew long ago. And we used to talk in a low voice about personal things, times experienced and, of course, tango. Sometimes, he held my arm to come closer and to drop a confidence, almost a secret would seem in the eyes of the others.

A frequent visitor to my radio program, when an old tango, an instrumental, was aired if it had lyrics and he knew it, he withdrew from the mike a little and with a gesture as if asking my approval he started to sing it. Later, we asked the listeners if they were able to identify that voice. Out of the waterfall of answers, of course, none was right. One evening he did not turn up but, between one number and another the telephone rang. It was his voice that told me: «I’m in the hospital. They’ve just plastered one of my legs. You’re gonna laugh. I was to change my clothes and when I took off my trousers I didn’t lean on anything, was entangled and fell down on the floor, I broke my leg».

It made much fun to me. In fact, I laughed all year long. Furthermore, now that I’m writing I start to laugh again. I remember how sad you were when you knew when Armando Moreno, a relative of yours, told you about certain intimate affairs of a famous orchestra leader that we admired. Or smiling –because it already was an old story- for your light limping because of the stairs of the old Radio Nacional when, one day when going down, you stepped on a marble step that was broken. And I also made you laugh when on a warm evening at the balcony of your apartament on Yerbal Street you told me the whole story of your career and, when you came to an end, we realized we had not put the cassette in the recorder.

But one winter afternoon someone, I don’t remember who, told me you had died. Many years passed and I am still sad when I recall that moment.

Arana studied singing techniques with maestro Ricardo Domínguez, under recommendation by Carlos Acuña, and at age 17 he made his debut as professional singer, now with his stage name, at the café El Nacional on Corrientes Street with the orchestra led by Jorge Argentino Fernández in which he stayed from 1948 to 1949.

In 1951 he appeared at the Tango Bar accompanied by a quartet led by Alberto Pugliese, one of the older brothers of Osvaldo’s. The following year, along with his peer Orlando Verri, he joined the Emilio Orlando’s aggregation.

Maestro Florindo Sassone included him in his orchestra in 1956, together with Carlos Almagro, to appear on LR3 Radio Belgrano and at several venues: «The memory of Sassone I keep is quite bad», you told me one evening.

In 1959, accompanied by a guitar group, he appeared as soloist for a season on LR1 Radio El Mundo. And, the following year, for a short time he came back to that radio station with Emilio Orlando, along with the vocalist Oscar Gravié, firstly, and Héctor Omar, later.

In 1964 he was, firstly, with Ricardo Ruiz and later with Héctor Montes in the orchestra headed by Alberto Di Paulo, with whom he made his debut on record with four numbers: “Como nadie” by Lucio Demare and Manuel Mujica Láinez of the LP 14 con el Tango, “Entre la gente” by Juan José Paz and Roberto Lambertucci, "El puente" and “Sollozos”. In 1966 he had a short tenure in the trio formed by Lucio Demare (piano), Máximo Mori (bandoneon) and Humberto Piñero (double bass). He also passed through the ranks of the Leopoldo Federico orchestra for some appearances on Radio Belgrano.

Around 1968 and 1969 he joined the orchestra of his admired Osvaldo Fresedo. He was introduced by his great friend, the poet Oscar Fresedo, nephew of the maestro’s. By that time Arana was protagonist of an curious event that misled the connoisseurs.

Without hiding the information to anyone, he made use of four tracks by the Fresedo’s aggregation: “Sobre el pucho” and “Viejo Buenos Aires” that had recorded Oscar Luna; and other two that Roberto Yanés had committed to record: “Barrio pobre” and “Bandoneón amigo”. The band leader accepted the idea as a souvenir of Arana’s tenure in his memorable orchestra.

It is said that, chronologically, he was his last vocalist. But this is arguable if we take into account the recordings by Hugo García, Daniel Riolobos and Argentino Ledesma that were after his tenure but we have to admit that they were made as guest artists and not as members of the orchestra.

He came back to the recording studios, firstly with Di Paulo —between 1970 and 1972— and even they met again for another recording in 1983. Thereafter he recorded one number with the bandoneonist Alberto Caroprese, a couple of tunes with the orchestra fronted by Leo Lipesker and many ones with his friend Víctor D'Amario during that period. The last two were cut with the aggregations led by Heberto Sassone and by Ángel Cicchetti.

He gave me several radio airtakes with pieces that are not included in his discography which has over 70 numbers. It is difficult to get an accurate detailed listing.

In the early nineties, and for a couple of years, he was part of the cast of Jueves de Tango, a show organized by the Municipality of Morón that was staged at the Gregorio de Laferrère theater room and that I emceed. There Alberto Morán, Jorge Casal, Osvaldo Ribó, Héctor De Rosas and Choli Cordero, among others, used to frequently appear.

In the latter times he worked as a clerk on Radio Nacional.

We all very well know that death comes without prior notice but his early departure surprised us, all his friends. The death of his wife a short time before might have triggered his demise.

He was not a very popular singer but his overpowering spirit led him to be always present. Because of that we pay homage to a friend that lived, felt and even breathed tango.