Fidel Del Negro

Real name: Del Negro, Fidel
Pianist and composer
(13 August 1899 - 25 July 1980)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
José Barcia
| Néstor Pinsón

e was born in the city of Buenos Aires, in the neighborhood of San Cristóbal. Leopoldo Simari, a theater actor and humorist for many years on the radio —known as the man of a thousand voices—, formed his own company in 1924 and, for the debut, he chose the Teatro Apolo on Corrientes Street and Uruguay Street to stage the one-act farce (sainete) Un programa de cabaret by Pascual Contursi and Enrique Maroni.

The attraction of the play was a version with lyrics of “La cumparsita (Si supieras)” because some lines by Contursi that he had entitled “Si supieras” matched quite well with the melody. The one who had to premiere it was a Uruguayan singer, with frequent appearances in theater companies, named Juan Ferrari.

At the beginning the public attended the play but later the box office figures were bad and the proposal began to decline. Contursi tried to stir up the interest and asked Maroni, urgently, if he could find a solution. The answer was positive, he wrote the lyrics of “La mina del Ford”. With it don Pascual went to the theater but the Antonio Scatasso orchestra, which used to accompany them in the play, was not there. He just found the pianist, who was no other but, precisely, Fidel Del Negro. He decidedly asked him to write the music and so it happened. Later they would find the excuse to include it in the little play.

An actress of Simari’s cast, but who was not appearing on that occasion, named Luisa Morotti and who, like many others of that time, also sang, was the one responsible for the premiere. The wreckage was postponed for some days more but finally it took place. The presumptuous woman of the Ford remained in the songbook of several vocalists and it became one of the best-remembered humorous tangos which truly depicted the dalliance of certain young girls in search of a quick rise in the social scale.

In 1918 he appeared as pianist in the aggregation led by the bandoneonist Enrique Pollet, at La Fratinola, a venue located where the present Patricios and Martín García Avenues meet. By daylight it was a regular grocery store but in the evening it became a discreet café-concert.

The name of the place made reference to a kind of mechanical electric piano known as pianola, which played music recorded on a paper roll with notes of different melodies.

That same year he joined a trio led by Roque Biafore which appeared at the Café Nacional. Thereafter he was alongside Carlos Marcucci, also with Ricardo Brignolo and, for several years, with the above Antonio Scatasso.

With Bernardo Germino he appeared at the Café El Parque, on Lavalle and Talcahuano, which before had been known as Café Internacional. At that time, on the upper floor there was the Rotisería Argentina (called by the customers El Entrepiso) where also was a whore house run by Madame Fontane. He played with Arturo Bernstein aka El Alemán at the T.V.O, on Montes de Oca 1786, near the corner with Iriarte.

At age twenty he composed his first known tango: “Un pálpito”. With Germino he co-wrote “Alma cansada”. Other numbers are: “Resignación”, “Pobre loco”, “En la pendiente”, “Chabonazo”, “Oí, manguero”, “En un rincón de la Boca”.

Del Negro never stood out as pianist but he always had jobs. He was a correct sideman in the orchestra. As composer he did not stand out either but he was in the right place when the lyrics of “La mina del Ford” came to him. Despite the melody accompanies the lyrics with no embellishment his name will always be present every time “La mina del Ford” is mentioned.