Lautaro Kaller

e was born at the Centenario hospital of Rosario but he spent his whole life in Granadero Baigorria (Santa Fe). He began to study bandoneon playing with Jesús Ángel Videla, a neighbor, and soon he started to play at family and school celebrations.

When he was eight Julio Barbosa (*1) heard him and talked to his father so that he would teach him.

In 1942 he made his debut as orchestra player with the Típica Astral led by Nicolás Trivisonno and Adolfo Moriconi.

In 1944 Barbosa put together his own orchestra and gave him a place in the bandoneon section. They used to appear on LT3 and later at the Bar El Cairo. For Cholo this experience meant his admittance to the first level of tango in Rosario.

By that time on several occasions he replaced Martín Ramos (*2) at the El Platal on Salta and Ovidio Lagos where Amelio Piceda, an Argentine boxing champion, used to go frequently.

Thereafter he was member of the group fronted by Leopoldo Líberjen to accompany Carlos Roldán in his appearances at the Eden Bar and on LT2. By then he got acquainted with Antonio Ríos, his other great teacher. «I came to know Antonio here at the El Cairo. We were playing with Plano when Reinaldo Cassano asked me: You know who’s that guy, don’t you? —and he pointed to one who was at a table—. That one was Antonio. Reinaldo started to study with him and improved his playing very much. Because of that I asked him to teach me too». (*3)

In 1948 Julio Barbosa again reunited his orchestra and the boy from Paganini (present name of Granadero Baigorria) was inevitably one of its members. By that time, says Montironi: «I loved Julio like a father... we used to play in the wee small hours of the morning at some locals like the Sibarita or the Tolosa on Presidente Roca and Santa Fe. There at that time we were able to have good meals and drink a lot. Barbosa, Gonzalito, Antonio Ríos, Carlitos Espinosa, Salvador Donnarumma and I used to meet and play at our table... They were twenty years my seniors, I was their spoiled child, and every time they put together an aggregation they invited me to play with them. I was a technician but they were consecrated artists, they had their style and knew tango thoroughly. They were artists besides being musicians... Julio and I used to go to the venues... dressed with suit and tie and when we came back home we used to buy pastries or flowers for our mothers... He was like my old man for me». (*4)

In October 1953 he joined the Antonio Ríos orchestra in which he played throughout 1954. He played along with José Brondel, the other gem of the new generation of bandoneonists.

In the meantime, in May 1956, the singer Alfredo Bellusi formed his own group to appear on LT3 and Montironi was chosen as leader and arranger.

In April 1958 he joined the José Sala orchestra. His tenure with him was until 1965 even though in parallel with this job he made other appearances.

In 1960 he joined the orchestra headed by Jorge Arduh and appeared on Radio El Mundo and on radio stations of the city of Córdoba. In November that same year he was summoned by Torres-Agri and, in May 1961, by Franco Corvini.

Also, besides his hierarchy as performer, he was evidencing his quality as orchestrator: «Among the tango arrangers... I like Piazzolla, but Los Astros del Tango (Argentino Galván) are incredible, I used to hear them on the radio, modern tango, very very good, with Gosis on piano, an incredible thing». (*5)

In 1963 he wrote arrangements for the Quinteto Rosarino de Tango and in July that year he joined the Domingo Federico orchestra. Meanwhile in the carnival balls of 1964 at the Club Provincial he was member of the Francini-Stamponi orchestra which was visiting Rosario. In May that same year he conducted the group that accompanied the already consecrated Aldo Calderón in his appearances on LT3.

Thereafter he formed his group named Discepolín that appeared on LT3 and at the Confitería Jezabel. The members were the following: Raúl Ocaña (piano), Rodolfo Montironi (bandoneon), Carlos Padula (guitar), David Elía (violin), Domingo Fiore (double bass), Roberto Dumas and Oscar Juárez (vocalists). In following years the singers were Ángel Barrios and Raúl Encina.

In 1967 he played at the Tango Festival of La Falda (Córdoba), appeared on Channel 5 of Rosario and joined the group with which Antonio Ríos appeared on LT2, at venues of the city and its surroundings and even in neighboring provinces.

By that time the singer Polaco Roberto Goyeneche began to travel to Rosario frequently and requested, invariably, Cholo for his accompaniment. Then both made a tour of El Chaco, Corrientes and the northern area of the province of Santa Fe. He also shared the bill with other greats of the genre such as Floreal Ruiz, Miguel Montero and José Libertella.

Around 1969 he led a trio with Francisco Tejedor on piano and José Ríos on double bass. One of the epicenters of his appearances was Mi Rincón on Mitre and Córdoba. They backed up Jorge Valdez, Mario Bustos, etc. And with Carlos Budín, as singer, they appeared at the cabaret Morocco sharing the bill with Rita la Salvaje.

Later he was summoned by Raúl Lavié and Pinky to present a show with music and poetry. They appeared in cities like Rafaela and Corral de Bustos.

By then, together with the lyricist Francisco Sappietro, he released a series of pieces that he would commit to record with Luis Correa on vocals: “Cinco lucas”, “Che Satán”, “Un kilo de nada”, “Qué pasa hermano”, “Trinchereando”, “Milonga del moplo” —milonga—, “Navidad en las estrellas” and “Para vos campeón”.

Bandoneon in the world

But those were hard times for tango. The bandoneon player was member of different aggregations, many times, reunited with the sole objective of complying with a specific contract. This went on until 1977 when he made his first travel abroad. The purpose was accompanying Alberto Morán on a tour of the United States for appearing at high level hotels.

On his comeback, Jorge Sobral suggested Cholo a trip to Rio de Janeiro. After successful appearances in the carioca city they were hired by Caño 14 of Buenos Aires. Their debut at this venue was on January 4, 1978 and the accompanying trio led by Cholo also included Héctor Stamponi on piano and Héctor Console on string bass. Soon thereafter the possibility of traveling to Madrid sprang up.

Then they recorded the LP entitled Jorge Sobral en España, produced by Tonodisc and published in 1980. Besides the success with Sobral, Cholo was hired to play bandoneon in a great number of recordings: music for children, jazz with the Orquesta Guardia Gran Canaria, with Raphael and with Concha Piquer. He also in the rock opera Evita with Paloma San Basilio, Patxi Andion and the eighty-two-piece Orquesta Nacional de España.

On his comeback to Buenos Aires he joined the staff of the venue Taconeando run by Beba Bidart. There he played periodically for five years where figures of the level of José Colángelo, Omar Murtagh and Alberto Hidalgo also appeared. He as well accompanied Carlos Rossi with whom, furthermore, he made a tour and in 1984 recorded the LP entitled A mi manera.

Then his visits to Europe became customary. In October 1982 he presented the show Grandes Valores del Tango at the Palladium Boite of Madrid and, since then, the Trottoirs de Buenos Aires —37 rue des Lombards 75001— in Paris, has been his center of activities. There he made an important number of appearances, either as soloist or alongside outstanding artists. Among the worthwhile experiences to be mentioned are: a duo with the accordionist Raúl Barboza and when he played, from May 1 to July 15, 1988 with the Salgán-De Lío duo at several French venues.

Furthermore, with a quintet that included Osvaldo Montes on bandoneon and Ciro Pérez on guitar and in which also Gustavo Beytelman played piano, he appeared at the Trottoirs and at the 10th anniversary of the International Cinema Festival of Amiens for an homage paid to Carlos Gardel. Also there the female cellist Fanette Pelissier appeared as special guest.

In Argentina in 1988 he led the group that backed up the singer Ricardo Sivina for recording the LP Adiós Nonino. The lineup was a true all-star combo: Francisco Tejedor (piano), Rodolfo Montironi (bandoneon), Antonio Agri (violin), Omar Murtagh (double bass), Ricardo Sivina (vocals).

On the other side, from the early 90s he was in touch with young musicians of Rosario to whom he contributed a worthy amount of quality and experience. He joined, for example, Camandulaje (*6) on some of its appearances which were recorded.

In 1994 Cholo again accompanied Ricardo Sivina when the latter cut his second long-playing record.

Furthermore, the Secretary of Culture of the Municipality of Rosario released a disc with numbers by his trio featuring the violinist Antonio Agri and Marcos Andino and Ricardo Paradiso on vocals.

Meanwhile, he was based in Europe for a large part of the year where he appeared at other important events: performance at the Olympia theater of Paris and appearance as soloist with the orchestra of the Capitol of Toulouse, conducted by Michel Plasson; he also appeared in Madrid, Barcelona and Granada and, bandoneon soloist with the Royal Philharmonic of London. He played concerts at the Auditorio Manuel de Falla, at the Alhambra of Granada; at the Roman Amphitheater of Syracuse, in Sicily; at the Florida Park of Madrid and on Radio France in Paris.

Most of these appearances were audio recorded and even videorecorded.

And also in 2000...

On August 6, 2001 he gave a concert at the Beniamino Gigli theater of Porto Recanati (Macerata, Italy) and after it Salvattore Pischitelli —Advisor of the town of Recanati— appointed him as Distinguished Citizen of that locality.

On the other side, on April 11, 2002 the Honorable Concejo Municipal of Granadero Baigorria appointed him as Distinguished Citizen of the City: «in recognition for his exceptional art career in our fatherland, in different countries of America and in the world». Furthermore, on May 28, 2004 the Honorable Concejo Municipal of Rosario appointed him as Distinguished Artist of the City and on September 23, that same year, the Municipality of Rosario passed the decree Nº 24478 by which the corner of Aristóbulo del Valle and Pueyrredón in the Barrio Pichincha was named after Rodolfo Cholo Montironi.

The following year he appeared to great acclaim at the Ariston of Milano, along with, among others, the Rosario pianist Bárbara Varassi and Alfonso Pacín who played violin and also doubled on guitar.

In 2005 he came back to the recording studios leading the backup group for the vocalist Germán Becker.

The following years he kept on visiting different countries to appear as bandoneon player and also he carried a busy schedule as educator.

In 2010 the Fundación Musimedios and the Secretary of Culture of Rosario released a CD that features him playing bandoneon with the accompaniment of the guitarist Alfonso Pacín. The tracks had been cut in July 2006 in the Lo Pacin studio, Romainville, Paris.

Presently, he appears at different venues with his trio which includes Javier Martínez Lo Ré on piano and Rubén Molino on double bass. It also features Rodolfo Demar, Gaby Estrada and Leonel Capitano on vocals and Ernesto Renzi as reciter.

Among his oeuvre, besides the above mentioned, we highlight the following: “Sublime fantasía”; “Sembrando milonga” and “Empezá a ganar”, both with lyrics by Carlos Rossi and recorded by Rossi himself and Carlos Morel, respectively; “Aves ciegas” with words by Miguel Jubany and committed to record by Jorge Sobral and by Carlos Rossi, both with the accompaniment by Montironi; “Peti chango”, “Escuchame Brando” and “Libertad yo te canto”, co-written with Ernesto Rondó and recorded by the latter singer in his stage as singer; and “Aires criollos” –estilo-, its melody was co-written with his teacher Antonio Ríos and it was recorded by Montironi on bandoneon with Alfonso Pacín on guitar.

(*1) Notable musician of Rosario who is usually placed alongside Antonio Ríos and Julio Ahumada in the highest triad of the Bandoneon School of Rosario.
(*2) Bandoneonist, bandleader and outstanding character of the artistic bohemian life of Rosario, known as “El gaucho bandoneón tucumano. One of his friends was Don Atahualpa Yupanqui with whom he began a close relationship when the composer of “El alazán [b]” stayed in the city of Rosario.
(*3) Montironi, Rodolfo. Personal interview.
(*4) Id. above.
(*5) Montironi, Rodolfo. Personal interview.
(*6) This group led by Javier Martínez Lo Ré had been formed in the environment of the School of Music of the National University of Rosario with promising elements: José “Pepe” Ferrer, Javier Gómez, Carlos Quilici and José Gómez.