Arturo Gallucci

Real name: Gallucci, Arturo Hércules
Double bass player, composer and lyricist
(17 January 1909 - 23 June 1978)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Pedro Colombo

orn in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Cristóbal, his experience, forged since childhood in the variety troupe Los Fregolini directed by his parents, Arturo Fregolini and Virginia Fachín, enriched his musical knowledge (he learnt to play guitar, double bass and cornet) and brought him a charismatic personality with artistic inquisitiveness.

His career, exemplifies the ones of many composers that fully worked in the generation of the forties, almost anonymously nurturing the repertoire of the great tango orchestras with their pieces either those with traditional rhythmical expression or those with a deeper melodic and harmonic evolution. And always they had a milonguero lineage, danceable and suitable for singing, with wide popular acclaim.

Since a young age he had been acquainted with lyricists, musicians, radio men and people of the night scene. The Café El Águila, the Marzotto, the Petit Salón were some of his preferred venues. In them he met Carlos Di Sarli, in whose bohemian circle he established a close friendship with him and in whose school of romantic melodiousness he forged his vein in composing which was also captured by another name of the forties, Alfredo De Angelis. He worked on the piano sheet music with the flexibility of adjusting himself to his collaborators and favoring the style of most of the orchestras and their different vocalists.

Precisely, it was Di Sarli who, in 1943, gave him his career move by recording with his orchestra the milonga “Yo soy de San Telmo” and also “Cómo se hace un tango”, both with Roberto Rufino on vocals.

Di Sarli also committed to record his tangos “Cero al as”, with Alberto Podestá on vocals; “Vieja luna” and “Cuando muere una esperanza”, with Jorge Durán; “Déjame hablar”, “Tengo un amigo” and “Tenía que suceder”, with Mario Pomar; “Fogón de huella”, with Roberto Florio; “Mala yerba” (waltz) with Rodolfo Galé and “No me supiste amar”, with Horacio Casares.

Almost at the same time, Alfredo De Angelis, the star of the Glostora Tango Club, recorded his “Cero al as” and “Mi novia de ayer”, both with Floreal Ruiz; “Sirva otra copa”, “Tenía que suceder”, “Cuatro líneas para el cielo”, the masterful “Vieja luna” and “Seis de enero”, the four numbers with Carlos Dante; “Adiós marinero”, with Julio Martel; “Guitarra de ausencia”, with Juan Carlos Godoy. In his traditional duos: “Cien guitarras”, with Carlos Dante and Julio Martel, “Amor de resero” and “Tropero soy” with Juan Carlos Godoy and Lalo Martel.

After accompanying with guitar groups different singers in radio programs, in 1946, with the bandoneon player Alfredo Calabró he put together the Quinteto Calabró-Gallucci, lined up by Calabró and Andrés Natale (bandoneons); Agustín Bardi [h] (piano); José Votti (violin) and Gallucci (double bass). The quintet was dismembered and left no recordings and soon thereafter Gallucci quit professional playing for a long period.

When tango was in full decline he teamed up again with Calabró to form the Trío Calabró-Gallucci-Ranieri. The latter was his friend: the guitarist Lorenzo Ranieri. For several seasons in the seventies they played at the shows organized by the restaurant El Mesón Español, located on Avenida Caseros.

The quality of his compositions was not indifferent to the Orquesta Típica of Astor Piazzolla. The latter, in 1947, recorded his milonga “Cargamento” with a rhythmical drive that, metaphorically, might suggest the wish of this musician of excellence to go beyond the orchestral conceptions then in vogue. The number has an excellent vocal rendition by Aldo Campoamor. The man from Mar del Plata also recorded his “Adiós marinero”, with a vocal duo by Aldo Campoamor and Héctor Insúa.

The recording of “Adiós marinero” by the Orquesta Francini-Pontier indicates when Alberto Podestá and Raúl Berón teamed up as duo for the first time. This aggregation as well cut “Cuatro líneas para el cielo” and “El pecoso” with Roberto Rufino on vocals; also the above “Cargamento” and “La culpa es mía”, with Raúl Berón and “Tengo un amigo”, with Pablo Moreno. Osmar Maderna with Orlando Verri on vocals, and Gabriel Clausi (aka Chula), in Chile with Roberto Rufino, recorded “Pajarito viajero”.

Among the Alfredo Gobbi’s numbers with vocals are the waltz “Aunque sea mujer”, with Carlos Almada; “Y no me supiste amar”, with Tito Landó and “El hijo cruel” with Alfredo Del Río. The orchestras led by Pedro Laurenz, with Jorge Linares on vocals; and the one of Edgardo Donato, with Pablo Lozano, his number “Barrio tranquilo”. Ricardo Tanturi, with Enrique Campos recorded “Y siempre igual”, also recorded by Alberto Castillo with the accompaniment of Ángel Condercuri.

Jorge Casal, in his stunning tenure with Florindo Sassone, recorded “Cien guitarras” and “Fogón de huella”. Sassone, with his own music and lyrics by Gallucci, cut “Un cuadro y una canción”. As well Lucio Demare, with Raúl Berón, and Armando Cupo, with Alberto Morán, committed to disc “Cómo se hace un tango”. The number “Frente al espejo”, regarded as one of the best interpretations of Tito Reyes, was recorded by the latter with the Roberto Caló orchestra.

Armando Pontier and Juan D’Arienzo recorded with Julio Sosa and Mario Bustos, respectively, “Esas cosas de la vida”. The King of the Beat (El Rey del compás) has in his discography “Volvés a mí” and “Mi novia de ayer”, both with Jorge Valdez on vocals. The folk-like song “Fogón de huella” was sung by Edmundo Rivero with Carlos Figari and by Roberto Goyeneche with Aníbal Troilo. “Cero al as” was sung by Argentino Ledesma accompanied by Jorge Dragone. José Basso, with Roberto Florio, recorded “Un amor imposible”.

Fulvio Salamanca, Enrique Campos with Calabró, Juan Sánchez Gorio, Domingo Federico, the Trío Yumba, the Orquesta Típica Gente de Tango with Alfredo Sáez, Omar Valente, among others, recorded numbers composed by this notable author. At that time of overwhelming multiplicity of tango, most composers and even many authors were practically ignored due to the attraction held by the leading figures: the great orchestra leaders, the singers and the outstanding players of some instrument.

It would be unfair not to mention the lyricists and collaborators that worked with him. They belong to the classic tango of the forties (1935-1960). Some convey country-style sediments. The list includes Abel Aznar, José Barreiros Bazán, Julio Camillioni, Francisco Bohigas, Alberto Castillo, Luis Caruso, Leopoldo Díaz Vélez, Enrique Dizeo, Celedonio Flores, Ítalo Silvestre Gianetti, Dante Gilardoni, Raúl Hormaza, Roberto Lambertucci, Enrique Lary, Carlos Olmedo, Marvil, Julio Jorge Nelson, José Rótulo and Reinaldo Yiso.

Here’s a story and a behavior that portray Gallucci in full. Raised in a poor neighborhood, with a long-time bohemia that did not exhaust his kind soul, one evening at the El Café Los 33 Billares, after a Navarrita’s exhibition for his fans, while applying chalk to the tip of a cue stick he suggested a match between the three-cushion billiards world champion and El Nene Rufino. The latter, after being ahead of Juan Navarra for some time, burst with joy when he realized he was the winner.

Rufino recalled, in a story book I have: «Jumping and celebrating with too much whisky, I considered myself a greater winner than when I recorded my first tango with the Maestro. But, when I realized it all had been a farce made up by Gallucci, I started to chase him around the table while the boys of the orchestra laughed like mad. Navarrita, smart and very serious, told me: “What do you want me to do, Robertito? Some day I had to lose. Luckily it was with a friend like you!”.»

The final touch is that it was precisely Arturo Gallucci who suggested to Carlos Di Sarli’s agent, Antonio Cantó, to add the sobriquet El Señor del Tango to the maestro. As evidence of his respect and unconditional affection, together with another brilliant pianist, Osvaldo Tarantino, he dedicated the number “Adiós milonguero” to Carlos Di Sarli. He also wrote a descriptive and sentimental poem which he entitled “El último baile” (The Last Ball), posthumous recognition to the great musician and friend.