Alberto Margal

Real name: Capa, Natalio Alberto
Singer and composer
(13 July 1910 - 18 September 1980)
Place of birth:
Rosario (Santa Fe) Argentina
Néstor Pinsón
| Abel Palermo

e was born in the city of Rosario, province of Santa Fe. His style followed Agustín Magaldi’s —the latter was also from Santa Fe and twelve years his senior— and his songbook was quite similar to the one La Voz Sentimental used to sing. But don Agustín arrived earlier and his mourning, weeping style perfectly fit to be part of the triad that completed Ignacio Corsini and Carlos Gardel. Each one of them had their followers, the three lasted till the present time and belong to the early period of tango as a song expression.

We do not want to make comparisons with them. Magaldi, in less than a fourteen-year span, committed to disc 318 numbers. Margal, in ten years, only scratched 50 numbers but when we listen to them, inevitably, we perceive the special and distinctive style of the mythical singer.

He arrived in Buenos Aires only after he was twenty-three, in 1933. He settled in the city of Avellaneda and, after some menial jobs, he began to sing at cheap restaurants and cafés. He scarcely strummed the guitar and he dared to accompany himself with it.

He had his following but the start of his show business career began when the notorious Ruggierito (Juan Nicolás Ruggiero) —sideman of the strong man of the area: Alberto Barceló— invited him to a barbecue party. The audience were members of that political party who pleasantly heard him and after that he began to be known. One of the persons present at that meeting made, days later, the necessary contact so that he was hired by LR2 Radio Argentina.

He spent nearly a quarter of a century on that radio station if we take into account his different tenures at that house. He also appeared on Radio Prieto, El Mundo and, some seasons in the radio show sponsored by Jabón Federal on Radio Belgrano. His sobriquet was an idea by don Jaime Yankelevich.

In the late 30s his appearances at the Cine Real of Rosario and at the Café Marzotto on Corrientes Street were frequent. Among the guitarists that accompanied him, José Canet and Humberto Canataro stood out.

On December 18, 1942 the movie La cabalgata del tango —an idea by the reciter Lopecito— was premiered. It was a mixture of ten Carlos Gardel’s short films that were found that also featured several guest singers among whom Margal sang “Pobre mi madre querida”. In 1948, he was featured singing in another movie directed by Carlos Borcosque, El tambor de Tacuarí.

He had his following in Buenos Aires but he had more fans in the numerous towns and cities he visited on his tours of the interior of the country. He also traveled spreading his songs in the neighboring countries.

He also teamed up with Lito Bayardo with whom he composed the tango numbers: “Aquel muchacho”, “Compañera mía” and “Vuelvo al barrio”, the pasodoble “Cara linda”, the waltzes “El día de mi madre”, “Ojos de mi madre” and “Florcita olvidada” and the milonga “Juan Manuel Fangio”. He composed other pieces with other authors.

In 1951, he appeared in two soap operas aired on Radio Argentina: La ley de los pobres and La canción maldita.

He succeeded in recording for the Odeon company on March 7, 1947 his tango “No hables mal de las mujeres” and his march “El tambor de Tacuarí” (lyrics by Pascual Tudino).

The inclusion of several pieces of the Magaldian songbook are the best evidence of his admiration towards the singer. We can mention several examples: “Yo tengo una novia”, “Inspiración”, “Nieve”, “La que nunca tuvo novio”, “Dios te salve m´hijo” and “Zulima” (by Francisco Pracánico and words by Vicente Retta).

He recorded up to August 1957. That year he quit show business. He tried a commercial activity. It was a funeral undertaking but it was not successful at all.

This special character, many times unmercifully treated by critics, died in Buenos Aires at age 70. We think, on the contrary, that his contribution to our popular culture deserves a place among the creators of our Todo Tango portal.