Ricardo García Blaya

e was born in Junín, province of Buenos Aires. While I am writing this portrayal I hear his singing and it makes me remember the vocalists of the forties, not only because of his mezza voce but especially for his simple and delicate phrasing without hesitations or showy resources. His rendition of “Los mareados” with the Alfredo De Angelis orchestra –a tango which poses a challenge for being so frequently included in songbooks- is excellent. His baritone range with tenor-like nuances, his good diction and intonation make him a very interesting singer.

At a very young age, accompanying himself on guitar, he began to sing folk songs and some tango tunes. When he was eighteen he became tango singer in local groups. His performance in the Autango group led by Carlos Buono, also born in Junín, stood out.

In February 1972 he appeared at the contest of the Octava Fiesta Nacional del Tango at La Falda (Córdoba) where he won the second prize. One year later he was at a contest organized by Grandes valores del tango on TV Channel 9 in Buenos Aires, emceed by Juan Carlos Thorry. But he quit the contest because he was hired by José Basso and made his debut on June 7, 1974.

He was allowed by the leader to make a tour of Chile with the Leopoldo Federico, Osvaldo Berlingieri and Fernando Cabarcos trio and, later, with Basso himself, appearing in several venues of Santiago and Valparaíso. On their comeback to Buenos Aires they appeared on the TV channels 7, 9, 11 and 13, on the Belgrano and El Mundo radio stations and at Caño 14.

He was able to make a recording in 1975 along with the orchestra led by Luis Stazo for an album produced by Ben Molar for the Fermata label. Then he premiered the tango written by Cátulo Castillo and Julio De CaroA mi violín corneta”. This long-playing record made to pay homage to maestro De Caro was called 14 de Julio De Caro. In January that same year he joined the cast of El Rincón de los Artistas in which he shared the bill with: Nelly Omar, Roberto Goyeneche, Héctor Mauré, Charlo, Jorge Durán, Roberto Florio, Jorge Casal, Jorge Valdez, Osvaldo Ribó, Alberto Podestá, Jorge Vidal, among other consecrated artists.

In February 1976, after he had split with the Basso orchestra, he made a tour that encompassed all the southern Argentine territory and when he returned he joined again El Rincón de los Artistas in which he worked until the mid- 1983, a period in which he also appeared at El Viejo Almacén, Michelangelo and Vos Tango.

With his peer Hugo Marcel and the Armando Cupo trio he traveled to Brazil as soloist to appear at the Club Monte Líbano of São Paulo.

In January 1978 he debutted with the orchestra fronted by Donato Racciatti with which he stayed eight months and for the Philips company he recorded the record: Tangueando con Racciatti. Later, as soloist, he cut some recordings with the accompaniment of Jorge Dragone for the Fonoral label (1980). That year he was again summoned by TV Channel 9 to sing in Grandes valores de hoy y de siempre, emceed by Silvio Soldán.

Two years later he joined the Alfredo De Angelis orchestra and was in the last two records of the orchestra leader for CBS-Columbia, Bodas de oro con el tango (1982) and La piel de Buenos Aires (1983). His vocals stand out in “Los mareados”, “Gricel”, "La piel de Buenos Aires" and “Mi yerutí”, among others. Furthermore, they appeared on TV Channel 7 and in the Tango Club on Radio El Mundo, at balls, shows and they made a tour of Uruguay which concluded with a performance at the Solís theater of Montevideo.

After he split with De Angelis orchestra he began an incredible stage that will lead him to tour Latin America, the United States and part of Europe. In July 1983 he was summoned to Colombia to sing at the opening of the El Viejo Almacén in Medellín. Hired for two months, he stayed for four years, appearing at the most important theaters of Bogotá, Cali, Manizales and other cities of the country. As well he sang in television programs and recorded a long-playing disc entitled Me llaman señor for the Discos Fuentes label and a single for the Unifón label.

In January 1987 he settled in New York and worked there for several years at different night venues of The Big Apple and in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island. He also sang in Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, North Carolina and Washington.

For two years he worked for an enterprise in charge of the shows at the Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Days Inn and Intercontinental hotel chains. It allowed him to frequently appear in Central America, Mexico and Canada.

In New York he appeared at the Lincoln Center (1989) representing Argentina at a festival organized for the Fundación Julio Cortázar. The following year he made a season at the Teatro Thalia with the revue Tango y folklore argentino. And on November 10, 2001 he appeared at the Carnegie Hall in the Horacio Laguna’s Guitartango show.

In 2002 the New York label BLM Record compiled numbers already released in different countries in a compact disc entitled Un vals para mamá and, later, a second disc recorded in New York which he entitled De la mano del buen tango.

He spent twenty-two years abroad, four in Colombia and eighteen in the United States. On his comeback, in 2005, he settled in his hometown and re-appeared at the Primer Festival Nacional del Tango of Junín and continued with his appearances in later editions of it up to 2012.

In 2009 he made a tour that started in Miami (United States) and continued in Piacenza and Parma (Italy) and finished in London (England).

He is author of several pieces, some in collaboration with Andrés Lazzaro, among them: “No hagas trampas”, “Viejo billar de boliche”, “Me llaman señor”, “Si echo buena”, “Bien de onda”, “Para vos tachero”, “Desclavate las manos” (tangos), “A las hermanas menores” (milonga). Of the above he recorded two: “Me llaman señor” and “No hagas trampas” for the Fonoral label of Argentina (1980) which were re-issued by Discos Fuentes of Colombia (1984). The Sexteto Tango, with Jorge Mariano on vocals, recorded “Me llaman señor” and Jorge Vidal recorded “Bien de onda”.

He also wrote pieces with Jorge Moreira, in collaboration with other figures: “Fue cosa de Dios” with Francisco Rotundo, “No quisiste mentir” with Daniel Aste (waltzes), “Porque quisiste ser bueno” with Elsa Rivas, “No nos podemos mentir” with Carlos Paiva, “Yo no quiero hacerte mal” with Alberto Rivas.

After all this schedule I am convinced that Marcelo, with effort and talent, spread tango worldwide achieving success and applause far from his land. His tenures with Basso and De Angelis were important but his work in Colombia and in North America meant much more. This portrayal tries to stand as a symbol for the welcome he deserves in Todo Tango.