Néstor Pinsón
| Abel Palermo

e managed to get some information from the interview made by Héctor Bates and which was published in the Antena magazine on February 23, 1935. Then she said she was born in the neighborhood of Flores and that she had studied only up to fifth grade because their parents who were artists continually traveled from one place to another —outside Buenos Aires— and did not want to leave her alone.

At age six she made her debut with them but did not appear again until she was sixteen. Then she was part of a Spanish theater company in the play El presupuesto by Ivo Pelay and Florentino Iriarte. The following year she was with Florencio Parravicini and there she used to sing many songs but none of them was a tango.

She was one of the first famous singers of her time. She used to appear in those short romantic-humorous plays with a bit of drama. Soon the sainete (one-act farce) arrived and it meant a great period with a large number of characters and tango pieces.

It was the time of Manolita Poli, María Esther Podestá, Orfilia Rico, Enrique De Rosas or the Arata-Simari-Franco company with whom she appeared in El Cabaret de Montmartre at the Teatro Nacional, a play by Alberto Novión, in which she premiered “Flor de fango”, today a classic.

Those plays were on the billboard, save for a boom, not more than a week or two. And the songs that were premiered were many, not only tangos but also other beats like rancheras and waltzes. But then “Muñequita” arrived and when Francisco Lomuto had his own orchestra recorded it as an instrumental in 1927. Later in 1931 he cut it again with the vocal duo of Alberto Acuña and Fernando Díaz and, for the third time, in the only appearance of Miguel Montero in 1949.

At that time there were no female singers and then that role usually was played by actresses, such was the case of the Poli and the Podestá. She never intended to sing but she did it and in an acceptable way.

In 1926, she formed her own company for some seasons and thereafter, when soap operas on radio were popular, she devoted to it in simple plays that represented situations in city or rural settings.

In 1934 she joined the cast of Arsenio Mármol’s Estampas Porteñas and, the following year —in the Ismael Aguilar’s and Martinelli Massa’s company— she played Guitarras y Bandoneones with her sister Raquel, Juan Velich and the bandoneon player Enrique Rodríguez. The musician was requested to accompany her when she sang and they ended up in marrying.

As female singer she had a songbook of serious tangos and another of humorous songs, for example “Lo que le pasó a Benita”, recorded for Odeon. It is about a Spanish woman that just arrived in our lands and an Argentine man takes advantage to deprive her of her savings until she finally catches him red-handed.

There is controversial information but it has some explanation. It is about the recording of the tango “La cumparsita” by Juan D'Arienzo for the Electra label in 1928. We, that searched thoroughly, knew that some media mention Raquel Notar —her sister— as female singer and others, María Luisa, but dates and details are different. In 1928 Juan D'Arienzo was engaged to back up two vocalists of the label: Carlos Dante and Raquel Notar. With the former he recorded 15 numbers and only 3 with Raquel which were the ranchera “Maíz frito” (by Martín Cabral and Armando Villador), the waltz “Amor pagano” (by Fred Brown and Spanish lyrics by Luis Rubistein) and “La cumparsita”.

The mistake is due to a tragic event that happened some time after the above recordings with D'Arienzo, precisely, in 1943. When a play was performed at the Teatro Maipú there was a fire. Then María Luisa and also her long time friend from the time she was a child in the neighborhood of Flores, Ambrosio Radrizzani, dancer and composer, a relative of Juan Maglio’s and who, some time like others, claimed for the authorship of the tango “El llorón”. Ambrosio died in the fire. And María Luisa, extremely shocked, a few days later on Radio Belgrano, deeply touched recited the lines of “La cumparsita” accompanied —in a low tone like a requiem— by Juan D'Arienzo.

She performed in a comic trend either in theater or on record. Besides the above number about the Spanish woman there are: “¿Chismosa yo?, qué esperanza” (1930), “La vida bohemia”, “Contame un cuento”, “Inquietud” and “Nina” (the latter two belong to her).

In 1933, on Radio Prieto, along with her sister Raquel and Herminia Velich, she appeared in the radio soap opera Luces de Bengala. In 1934, she married Enrique Rodríguez. In the forties she teamed up with Raquel and Roberto Escalada, also raised in the neighborhood of Flores, in soap operas on radio.

Furthermore, she appeared in the movies in secondary roles: La Casa de los Millones (by Luis Bayón Herrera) with Luis Sandrini and Olinda Bozán (November 23, 1942); Secuestro sensacional (by Luis Bayón Herrera) with Sandrini and Elsa O'Connor (July 14, 1942); La pequeña Señora de Pérez (1944) and La Señora de Pérez se divorcia (1945), the two with Carlos Christensen, and both with Mirtha Legrand and Juan Carlos Thorry; Bárbara atómica (1952) with Blanquita Amaro and Thorry, directed by Julio Saraceni.

As further information and due to its quality, we mention the three members of the quartet led by Enrique Rodríguez that accompanied the female singer in her early days: our friend Gabriel Clausi (bandoneon), Antonio Rodio (violin) and Lalo Scalise (piano).

Despite she was not a complete vocalist, she sang tango correctly and was a popular widely acclaimed figure in her time.