Abel Palermo

his remarkable musician, born in the neighborhood of Palermo, made his professional debut at age twenty on the radio station LOZ Broadcasting La Nación which later became LR6 Radio Mitre.

In November 1936 the Victor record company hired the young Hugo Del Carril —a promising vocalist— to debut as soloist —he had already recorded as singer of the Edgardo Donato orchestra—; on that occasion he was accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Ribero for the recordings of “Nostalgias” and the waltz “Me besó y se fue”. Thereafter, Del Carril signed with another label but cut two more numbers for Victor, this time, with the accompaniment of a trio comprised by Joaquín Mora, Ciriaco Ortiz and Cayetano Puglisi, “Yo soy aquel muchacho” and “Luna de arrabal”.

Ribero met again with the singer in 1938 and, as from that date, they started a musical association which lasted for a long time as well as they kept a long, affectionate friendship. Between that year and 1941 they cut sixteen tracks, some of them well-remembered like the tangos, “Indiferencia”, “Nada más”, “Vendrás alguna vez”, “Vieja amiga” and “Desaliento”.

During that period the team made successful tours of Uruguay where they appeared on Radio Carve. Later they crossed the Andes range and went to Chile and Peru.

In 1939, he debutted in our national movie industry —in which, with the passing of time, he would be a specialist in everything connected to music for movies—; it was with the Manuel Romero’s film Gente bien which starred Del Carril and in which he collaborated with the musical numbers along with Alberto Soifer, Francisco Canaro, Juan D'Arienzo and Héctor Quesada.

In 1940, they appeared on Radio Belgrano for a season and, the following year, they traveled to Brazil —where they appeared to great acclaim— and continued to Venezuela, Panama, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the United States. This tour lasted four months and, as something that stood out, we can mention the seven radio takes they cut in Cuba which the record collector and speaker Pompeyo Escala Parejo rescued in a long-playing record released by a Mexican label in 1988.

Furthermore, he arranged and conducted the numbers that sang Hugo in the movie En la luz de una estrella (1941) with script and direction by Enrique Santos Discépolo. The script was co-written with his brother Armando.

In 1944, with his orchestra and Roberto Beltrán on vocals, he appeared in an important cycle on Radio Belgrano. He also played at the unforgettable evenings of the well-remembered Palermo Palace, dancehall where the dancer José María Baña, (El Pibe Palermo), made his debut in 1942.

In 1947, he wrote charts for the movie La dama del collar, directed by Luis Mottura and featuring Agustín Irusta.

Again in 1948, he was summoned by Hugo Del Carril for the musical direction of his motion picture Historia del novecientos, a gem in our national filmography starring Hugo himself along with Sabina Olmos and Guillermo Battaglia.

The following year he accompanied the above Singer for a season on LR1 Radio El Mundo and, in 1950, in two other movies: El último payador, directed and written by Homero Manzi, in which he was the musical director along with Sebastián Piana and in Surcos de sangre, directed by Del Carril, on this occasion together with Alejandro Gutiérrez del Barrio. The latter was awarded as Best Movie Music by the Academy of Arts of Argentina and the Certamen Hispanoamericano of Madrid.

He was a true expert in movie music. Besides the above he worked in over 190 films, among which we can mention: Manuel Romero’s Adiós pampa mía (1946) starring Alberto Castillo and Alberto Vila; Julio Saraceni’s La barra de la esquina (1950) also featuring Castillo; Hugo Del Carril’s Las aguas bajan turbias (1952); Luis César Amadori’s El grito sagrado (1954) starring Fanny Navarro; Saraceni’s Más pobre que una laucha (1955) featuring Lolita Torres; Ralph Pappier’s La morocha (1955), with Tita Merello and Rolando Chaves; Saraceni’s Catita es una dama (1956) starring Niní Marshall; Mario Soffici’s Rosaura a las diez (1958); René Mugica’s El centrofoward murió al amanecer (1961); also Mugica’s Hombre de la esquina rosada (1962); Hugo Del Carril’s La calesita (1963); Carlos Rinaldi’s Pimienta (1966) with Luis Sandrini and Lolita Torres; Enrique Carreras’ Los muchachos de antes no usaban gomina (1969) with script by Norberto Aroldi; Amalio Reyes, un hombre (1970), by Carreras and Del Carril, and his last collaboration in 1980: Enrique Cahen Salaberry’s Gran valor.

As composer he wrote very interesting pieces, among them: “Cosas de tango” with words by Rodolfo Taboada; “Soy del noventa”, “A mí me llaman Juan Tango”, “Cosas viejas” and, with Carlos Waiss, “Esa noche” (waltz); “Quiere fumar” with Enrique Dizeo; “Inútil” with Reinaldo Yiso; “Como perdemos el tiempo” with Ricardo Duc and “La milonga y yo” with words by Leopoldo Díaz Vélez.

This outstanding musician, that so lovingly and hardly worked for our tango, deserves this humble memory in the Todo Tango pages.