Carmelo Aiello

Real name: Aiello, Carmelo
Bandoneonist, leader and composer
(1 January 1901 - 30 November 1970)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Oscar Zucchi

e was born in the now neighborhood of Boedo (then it was only the name of a street) but soon his parents settled in a big house located on 728 Zubiría Street in an area surrounded by small farms, country houses and milking yards like the one they had across the street. There his children were born and there he passed away.

As it was the rule in nearly all tango men, the enticing bond began early and his father’s opposition, too, but in this case the latter loosened soon. With the bandoneon of a brother-in-law, hiddenly, he started practicing to play some piece and, with a great effort, coin after coin, he gathered the amount necessary to get a second-hand Doble A which he still had to go on paying.

He began to study music and acquired the elementary notions that allowed him to reach an acceptable capacity to read music and be able to play in professional orchestras. In the twenties he joined the orchestra fronted by the violinist Alpidio Bonifacio Fernández who, besides leading a tango aggregation, led another with a classical repertoire which included women and men as players. According to his son Oscar Osvaldo, at that time it was customary to play a la parrilla (head arrangement or by ear), that is to say, without any previous scheme, written arrangement or chart.

Thereafter, Carmelo paraded through different orchestras, among them the one led by Julián Divasto when its lead bandoneon was José Dames. In the early forties he put together his own orchestra that he headed until 1948. It was a simple group that played the necessary music for the balls in clubs and dancehalls that usually presented tango and jazz.

Through the ranks of the orchestra passed renowned musicians like Vicente Romeo, bandoneonist and composer; also another bandoneon player like Alfredo Fanuelle; another one was the violinist Wenceslao Cinosi, later lead violin for Alfredo De Angelis, and as well Enrique Agustín Mónaco, composer of the tango “Caña” which was recorded, among others, by the Juan D'Arienzo orchestra. As for its vocalists: at the beginning there was a short tenure by Alberto Podestá, another one was Carlos Bermúdez, also Guillermo Rico and, finally, at that time an unknown Rodolfo Alberti, Carmelo’s son, who later became a successful figure but under the stage name of Rodolfo Lesica in the Héctor Varela orchestra.

He has a few numbers as composer, let us remember: “Carita de luna”, tango with colaboration by José Domingo Aiello and Rodolfo Alberto Aiello (Rodolfo Lesica), recorded by D'Arienzo with Jorge Valdez on September 27, 1962; “Criollo de ley”, recorded as an instrumental in 1958 by D'Arienzo; a milonga, “Florcita porteña” and his hit, the polka “El viejito del acordeón” with José Aiello. It had a large number of recordings, among them, the ones by Francisco Canaro with Roberto Maida (May 12, 1936), Francisco Lomuto with Jorge Omar (April 23, 1936) and also Mercedes Simone (May 23, 1936). The musician and comedian Mario Pugliese (Cariño) wrote an unfinished lyric for the polka “El viejito del acordeón”.

Here we have the words of his son Oscar for the finale: «Despite his oeuvre was modest, great was the love for tango throughout his life which he shared with friends and peers and transmitted to his children».

From the book El tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes, Vol. III.