Bernardo Weber

Real name: Weber, Bernardo
(20 March 1913 - 11 June 1990)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Julio Nudler

e was born in the neighborhood of Balvanera on the above date (in his document appeared as if he were born on March 22) and was son of Saúl —born in Latvia, in the city of Riga— who in Buenos Aires worked as barber at a local placed on Rivadavia and Azcuénaga. There the customers were mostly his country folks and when the occasion was suitable he used to sing in Yiddish or in Russian and, while he worked, he had his ears ready to hear the sound of a violin that came from a nearby room.

Those were the music exercises of his son Bernardo. When he played a wrong note there was a punishment: he had to sweep the floor. Saúl arrived in our country in 1906 without a cent and was for a time at the Hotel de Inmigrantes which was, in fact, a residence for immigrants. Later he lived at a tenement house in the neighborhood of Floresta, now with his wife who arrived from Odessa when she was thirteen.

Bernardo was the eldest of the four children and his first jobs as musician were in poor venues in the neighborhood of La Boca. He was only eleven years old. And despite this he earned more than his father. At age thirteen he wore long pants but only when he had to appear with the Juan Maglio quartet that used to play onboard a cruise ship. On those occasions he won so much money that when he returned and gave it all to his mother the family organized a party.

He went on playing with Pacho at a cabaret and he still wore short pants but in a small suitcase he carried the long ones. Those were old customs that lasted for many years. When he was fourteen he joined a sextet at the Confitería Metropolitan. In it Orlando Goñi played the piano and the violinist was Alfredo Gobbi.

In 1930, again with Maglio, at the café Germinal, his sideman was Pedro Sapochnik with whom he had a long personal relationship with an ungrateful ending. Thereafter he began an extensive and varied association with Francisco Canaro. With him he was second fiddle, the lead violin was the Italian Octavio Scaglione (Piscoto). In 1938 Canaro put together a trio to back up his lover Ada Falcón. The members were Bernardo, Francisco Pracánico on piano and Ángel Ramos on bandoneon.

In 1942 he joined the Ángel D'Agostino orchestra and made his debut in the successful radio program Ronda de ases with the tango “La mariposa”. He always recalled that the leader was on edge and hardly managed to set the beat of that piece. They played it very slow but the audience liked it and from then on that became his style. It was the main attraction of the Salón Imperio.

That year Julio De Caro quit playing violin and was replaced by Weber who, immediately, as well became a Decarean. In 1949 he was still in the orchestra. His ductility made him be requested by a large number of groups, among them, Sebastián Piana for a quartet in 1943, later the aggregation led by Howard-Landi, the latter was the vocalist of the group.

In 1951 he was summoned by Carlos Di Sarli. Five years later when the orchestra was disbanded and Los Señores del Tango was formed he, of course, was there with his violin. Di Sarli was replaced, with a great effort, by Salvador Nicosia.

He made nine tours of Japan. With Francisco Canaro, with Los Señores del Tango, with Juan D'Arienzo –—but without the leader because he was afraid of traveling by plane— and then Carlos Lazzari took over the leadership. His tenure in that aggregation was until 1976 when D'Arienzo died.

He recorded with Donato Racciatti and many others. Attracted to classical music he tried to study but he liked tango most. He had a lot of work but little money which, also, he was unable to save to survive. When he retired he ran a kiosk which was in the barbershop his father had but it was a shop where he had to pay a rent. And later it became a gambling agency where he gave employment to Pedro Sapochnik.

He admitted he was waiting for weekends to come in case some orchestra had need of him. But his friends thought he was comfortable that way and did not call him. Of a nostalgic temper, bohemian, he never had a house of his own and he never composed anything.

He wanted that his two children would be musicians. His daughter Mirta began to study cello but ended up as neonatologist, and Mauricio picked up that instrument and was member of the Philharmonic orchestra of Buenos Aires. Bernardo married at age forty and at that same age also his children married.

He was a merry bachelor. He shared a bachelor apartment with Orlando Goñi and they took turns according to the occasion. When he was a widower and his children were abroad, he was invited to visit Japan with his own orchestra. And he put it together –his first own orchestra- but it did not happen, suddenly he passed away at age seventy-seven.