Ricardo García Blaya

is birth took place in the city of Bahía Blanca, in the southern area of the province of Buenos Aires. The poet and researcher Eduardo Giorlandini tells us that he was son of Roque and Emilia Miguez and that Armando was born on 300 Fitz Roy Street, two blocks away from his house.

He was a pianist with formal training and he added, to his technical knowledge of orchestration and harmony, the experience acquired with the bohemian night life in Buenos Aires.

He settled in the Capital in 1945 and joined the Orquesta Argentina lined up by former members of the Osvaldo Fresedo orchestra. Among his fellow musicians were the bandoneonist Alberto Garralda and the singer Juan Carlos Miranda.

That year his most important number was premiered: “Un tango y nada más” which was co-written with the bandoneonist Juan Pomati and had lyrics by Carlos Waiss. This piece received such acclaim that Carlos Di Sarli soon committed it to record, with Jorge Durán on vocals, for the Victor label on July 5 and, twelve days later, Alfredo De Angelis with Julio Martel on vocals recorded it for Odeon.

In 1949, he led the aggregation that accompanied Raúl Iriarte on Radio Belgrano and, thereafter, together they embarked on a long tour of Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico that concluded in Colombia, country where the former vocalist of Miguel Caló decided to settle.

His most outstanding period came later when he substituted for Eduardo del Piano in the leadership of the Ángel Vargas orchestra from the early 1951 to the late 1954. With this aggregation he made 40 recordings for the RCA-Victor company. The first two: “Cascabelito” and “No salgas de tu barrio” (1951) and the latter four: “Doblando el codo” by Del Piano and Juan Manuel Mañueco, “Tiene razón amigazo”, “Noche de locura” and “Pingo lindo” —by Pancho Agueda (Alfredo José Labandeira’s pen name) and Eduardo Parula—. In 1955 he quit and Edelmiro D'Amario took over the leadership of the orchestra.

With the violinist Aquiles Aguilar (ex member of the Francini-Pontier orchestra from its inception to its disbandment) he also put together a quartet to appear at distinct night venues and at the Hotel Savoy.

In 1957, passing by Colombia, for a short time he joined the orchestra led by the Argentine bandoneon player Enrique Méndez with which he accompanied Julio Martel in some of his recordings in that country.

In 1959, he appeared on Radio del Pueblo with a sextet along with the singer Roberto Beltrán and, in 1960, he accompanied Mario Bustos with whom he recorded a long-playing record with twelve numbers for Music Hall. Among them there is a tango by the singer himself with music by Leo Lipesker: “Chau pebeta”.

In the sixties he used to appear with his orchestra in different venues of Buenos Aires: at the Automóvil Club, at the tango venue Cambalache on Libertad Street and on Radio Splendid. His vocalists were Carlos Aldao and Ester Lucía. With the latter female singer he cut some tracks that were published by the Almalí label.

Furthermore, in 1963 he led the orchestra that backed up Tania in the recording of a record that only included tango numbers by Enrique Santos Discépolo.

In 1964 and 1965, his vocalist was Tino García, a former singer of Ángel D'Agostino, who later would quit singing for good. And, in 1980, he also backed Roberto Florio in the recording of “El último escalón”, possibly, one of his last recordings.

Giorlandini told me a funny story about his encounters with Lacava in Buenos Aires: «I remember El Rincón de José Canet —on Callao Avenue near Corrientes— where also Mister Chassman and Chirolita also used to appear. I was by the counter and Julián Centeya, who was another protagonist at that venue, persuaded Mister Chassman (Ricardo Gamero’s sobriquet) that I was Armando Lacava’s twin. So Chirolita, after his classic start that began with the question, on his creator’s knees: “¿Qué hacés, negro?” (Hi, buddy), also asked him: “Did you see Lacava’s twin?”».

He died on an autumn day of 1989. The Clarín journal bid him adieu with an unsigned obituary note that began as follows:

«Last Saturday, after a short illness, one of the most loved, respected and admired figures of the legendary forties, Armando Lacava, passed away in Buenos Aires...».

And it went on as follows: «Pianist with a strong personality and a polished technique, was also a brilliant orchestrator and a successful composer that left some numbers that deserved popular acclaim, among them: “Un tango y nada más” and “Guardia vieja del 40”. He devoted his latter years to support La Fundación la Casa del Tango. He used to sit at the tables of the cafés near SADAIC with musicians and poets of his generation and younger ones, bringing them his warmth and permanent affability. He was 73 years old. From now on he has a place in the hall of the best memories».

From the other numbers of his oeuvre, the following tangos stand out: “El picaflor del oeste”, “Lucio Paredes” in collaboration with Ángel Vargas and lyrics by Horacio Sanguinetti, “Insólita Judith”; the milonga “Y soy como soy” with words by Leopoldo Díaz Vélez; the waltz “Cruzando la alameda”, with Javier Mazzea, and the instrumentals “A Villoldo” and “Vigencia”. The latter was co-written with Lorenzo Barbero.

As a finale we have the interesting description of his personality made by Giorlandini: «this tall man, stout, with a rather curly hair, always with a wide smile except when he was playing tango, was a good guy, unhurried, with a respectful pleasantness and warmth, that never fell into flattery...» and it concludes highlighting his seriousness and his attitude of permanently thinking of the aesthetics and ennobling of tango.