Roberto Améndola

e belongs to the group of outstanding tango instrumentalists, trained within the framework of academic music, who appear in the great orchestras of classical music and occupy the main positions. Horacio Cabarcos plays also popular music with the virtuosity acquired thanks to a rigorous training plus his personal talent, but being nurtured by the musicians that created and enriched tango. And he plays this latter genre keeping its true essence.

This is the path followed by Enrique Francini, Antonio Agri, Mauricio Marcelli, Fernando Suárez Paz and Roberto Di Filippo, among others.

He is successor of a pleiad of players that brought the double bass to the forefront, with an unavoidable presence in all formal aggregations, by occupying an indispensable place, generally assigned to the rhythm section.

The double bass —which a century ago was included in the aggregations of classical music thanks to the Venetian Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846)— made its formal appearance in our popular music when the big Canaro-Firpo orchestra, put together to play in the Rosario carnival season in 1917 and 1918 and, including the best instrumentalists of the period: Eduardo Arolas, Osvaldo Fresedo, Agesilao Ferrazzano, Tito Roccatagliata, Pedro Polito, José Martínez, Juan Bautista Deambroggio —aka Bachicha—, among others, decided to invite Leopoldo Thompson, a guitarist that also played bass. Since then the latter fully devoted himself to his new instrument until the end of his life which unfortunately was quite short. Thompson had been, until then, a guitarist sideman of Eduardo Arolas.

There were some previous sporadic attempts with Juan Carlos Cobián, Arolas, Julio De Caro, which did not catch on, but after the experience in the Canaro-Firpo aggregation, the double bass remained in tango.

Horacio belonged to a family in which music was very important and this instrument was deeply rooted in it. He was born in Lanús, a city very close to the Federal Capital, located in the southern area of the Greater Buenos Aires. At age twelve he began his studies of double bass playing with his father, Fernando Cabarcos, a great bass player like his cousin Kicho Díaz. Later he entered the Conservatorio Nacional de Música y Arte Escénico Carlos López Buchardo where he was disciple of maestros Faustino Del Hoyo and Enzo Raschelli de Ferraris, the mythical teacher of double bass players at the Conservatorio Nacional and consecrated member of the Staff Orchestra of the Teatro Colón as soloist and lead contrabass for decades. He graduated from this Conservatory in 1970.

He was member of the Symphony Band of the Argentine Air Force between 1967 and 1971, the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil of Radio Nacional and the Banda Sinfónica Municipal. For more than ten years he belonged to the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (1993 to 2004). He also joined the Orquesta Nacional de Música Juan de Dios Filiberto. In 1973 he appeared in the Concert Orchestra conducted by Waldo de los Ríos and in 1981 played in recording sessions for records and movies alongside Lalo Schifrin.

Since 1973 he has been member of the Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón with which he had cut recordings and made important tours of Europe and Latin America. He is founding member of the Asociación de Profesores de la Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón. He is member —as assistant treasurer— of the Board of Directors of the Asociación Argentina de Intérpretes (AADI).

The 70s were not quite encouraging for tango. However, it was advantageous for Horacio. By that time, with determination, he joined the aggregations then devoted to our urban music.

He was requested by many orchestra leaders: Horacio Salgán, Osvaldo Tarantino, Leopoldo Federico, Osvaldo Requena, Aquiles Aguilar, José Colángelo, Orlando Trípodi, the Sexteto Buenos Aires, Julio Pane, Pablo Agri, Ensamble Trío, Grupo Octango, Los Músicos de Buenos Aires, Reinaldo Nichele.

Because of the death of his father who was member of the trio and the orchestra led by Leopoldo Federico, Horacio had to occupy his post. It was 1979. Under Federico’s leadership he made tours of Spain, Japan, Russia, Finland and South American countries like Chile and Brazil. Furthermore, they appeared at important venues in Buenos Aires, on television and made a large number of recordings.

The Orquesta de los Grandes Maestros y Solistas that was put together to celebrate the Tango Day at the Teatro Colón had him among its members. He also was in the Selección Nacional de Tango, an aggregation that in 2005 reunited fundamental maestros in the tango activity.

With the Café de los Maestros he was featured in movies and recordings and toured different countries like China, Singapore and the Arab Emirates. They also visited Hong Kong, Seoul, Paris, Athens, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Curitiba.

In the early days of this century the Conservatorio Ciudad de Buenos Aires required him as instructor to fill the post of professor of the Double Bass in Tango course. He implemented a method based on methodologies of his own to teach double bass playing. He keeps on with his teaching activity until the present. In the province of San Juan where periodically is held the Double Bass International Festival and in which important musicians of the world meet, Horacio is currently invited to bring his tango teaching.

The Conservatorio Beethoven in 2006 made a «Tango course for instrumentalists» and assigned him the seminar corresponding to double bass.

In 2011, along with Fernando Suárez Paz and the Sexteto Ástor Piazzolla, he accompanied the female singer Ute Lemper. They visited Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Colombia.

In Belgium the Massa Music publishing company released pieces he composed for double bass and piano which were recorded, among others, by Klaus Stoll and Thomas Martin. He also composed a large number of popular music pieces, among others, the tangos “Pura amistad”, “Julio, el hada y el bandoneón” (dedicated to Julio Pane), “Me llaman luna”, “El repulgue”, the waltzes “Viejo patio” and “Lágrimas blancas”, among others.

Horacio Cabarcos is respected and admired by his peers. As expression of this feeling Leopoldo Federico composed in 2006 the tango “De tal palo”, to pay him homage. By the beginning of this century Juan Morteo composed “Concabarcos” which in 2000 was recorded by the Todos Para el Tango group.