Abel Palermo

his interesting artist was born in General Lavalle (province of Buenos Aires). With a bright baritone range, he was a worthy representative of the Gardelian school and owner of a beautiful voice with great musicality.

Unfortunately, very few were the numbers he recorded but we are lucky of keeping his complete discography. With a delicate phrasing and good intonation, he reached his highest peak when he was vocalist in the Antonio Rodio orchestra.

At age twenty he started as soloist on Radio LOT. In the mid- thirties he was member of one of the early vocal trios along with Eduardo Alsina and Armando Baliotti which later became the Alsina-Serna duo which would compete —on LR3 Radio Belgrano— with other duos like Dante-Noda (Carlos Dante and Pedro Noda), Gómez-Vila (Alberto Gómez and Augusto Vila) and Pelaia-Serpa (Alfredo Pelaia and Oscar Serpa).

By that time the repertoires that combined folk songs with tangos were in vogue and were in the songbooks of these duos and several soloists like: Ernesto Famá, Néstor Feria, Alberto Vila, Carlos Viván and the consecrated Charlo and Ignacio Corsini, among others.

His debut on record was in 1937 with “Las cuarenta” and, on the other side of the disc: “Milonga de mis amores” for the Victor label and was accompanied by the guitar group led by Roberto Grela. Also he continued appearing with his duo with Alsina on radio and clubs, and including Domingo Vivas on some occasions.

The following year the duo recorded three numbers: the estilo “Arco iris”, the southern song “Orillando un cañadón” (by Antonio Di Benedetto), “Te he de seguir” and, on the other side of the record, Serna sings alone the waltz “Romántica”.

In the early 1943 Antonio Rodríguez Lesende split with the Antonio Rodio orchestra and was replaced by Serna and shared the vocal responsibility with Mario Corrales, who later would be known as Mario Pomar.

With Rodio he recorded 14 tracks for the Odeon company. The first ones were that year: “Corazón qué has hecho” (by Antonio Ríos with words by Oscar Rubens), “Vieja esquina” (by Mario Perini and Roberto Lambertucci), one of his best renditions, and “Me voy Buenos Aires” (by Antonio Varela and Horacio Sanguinetti).

This series of recordings ended in August 1944 with two duets with the other singer that replaced Corrales in the orchestra, Daniel Adamo. The numbers were: “Cuatro campanadas” and the milonga “Paloma, paloma” (by Víctor Donato and José Rolla). Undoubtedly, his greatest hits with this orchestra were the tangos “Cien noches” composed by Ernesto Tití Rossi with words by Justo Ricardo Thompson, “Desvelo” and the above mentioned “Vieja esquina”. In May 1945, after dismembering his orchestra, Rodio joined the Miguel Caló orchestra as lead violinist.

Again as soloist, Serna was hired by Radio Belgrano where he sang accompanied by the guitarists Ciaccio, Cortese and Ubaldo De Lío and, in 1947, he switched to LR1 Radio El Mundo where he was backed up by the orchestra fronted by Víctor D'Amario with which he used to appear, also, at the Marabú.

Thereafter he was summoned by the bandoneon player Roberto Cuenca to appear with his aggregation in the main venues of Montevideo, among them, El Ateneo on 18 de Julio Avenue, near Plaza Cagancha.

With the orchestra headed by Cuenca he cut two tracks for the Sondor label: “Ojos tristes” with music by the leader and words by Federico Silva, and “Gorrión” (by Maria Falero de Caruso and Aribel Puente).

In the late 1949 he started a tour of several cities of Uruguay and Brazil. On his comeback, several months later, he retired, settled in Argentina and withdrew from show business for good.