Mario Orrico

Real name: Orrico, Mario
Violinist and composer
(27 August 1913 - 22 August 1984)
Place of birth:
Montevideo Uruguay
César Orrico

e was born in Montevideo, in the Flor de Maroñas neighborhood. In 1921 he began to study violin playing, encouraged by his father, with maestros Spinelli and Pioli.

With his long-time friend, Romeo Gavioli, also violinist, and Guillermo Aguirre on drums, he formed the trio known as Los Tres Bemoles for radio appearances and, also, for trying their luck on the stages in the carnival celebrations of Montevideo.

At age 13 he composed his first tango, “Antoñito”, dedicated to his father Antonio Orrico.

In 1929, together with Romeo Gavioli, he joined the orchestra led by Juan Baüer to appear at the Cine Capitol and at the Café La Giralda. The following year they both joined the Orquesta de Salón of the Hotel del Prado.

In 1936 and in later years he was conductor of the staff aggregation of Radio Carve and, simultaneously, he was member of the Trío Los Carve, with Romeo Gavioli and Freddy, which was hired by Radio El Mundo of Buenos Aires but they were unable to be aired due to a regrettable accident that Romeo had.

It was 1937 when Juan Cao put together his popular tango orchestra and summoned Mario as lead violin and arranger. His tenure was until 1952. The following year maestro Lucio Milena formed a big orchestra to play tango and other musical genres. He entrusted Mario Orrico with the responsibility of being the lead player in the violin section for seasons on Radio El Espectador and recordings for the Sondor label of Montevideo.

From 1943 to 1956 he was musical director of the Troupe Estudiantil Ateniense, a well-known group in the city of Buenos Aires by that time. This group appeared every year in October at the theaters Artigas and 18 de Julio in Montevideo and at the Teatro Politeama in Buenos Aires city.

Between 1957 and 1959 he fronted his own orchestra for appearances at municipal hotels and it also recorded for the Sondor label. By that time the pianist of the aggregation was his son César.

When maestro César Zagnoli put together for the second time an important tango orchestra to appear at the carnival events of the municipal hotels, he was required to fill the place of the lead violin and to contribute with orchestral charts.

In 1963 Horacio Ferrer conceived and emceed the program Imágenes de tango on Channel 5 of Montevideo and had Mario as one of his advisors and interpreter in the different lineups that brought examples of the different periods recalled.

He as well dabbled in other music styles as when in the 60s several seasons of opera and zarzuela were held at the Teatro Solís. Then Orrico had multiple tasks by writing arrangements, picking up musicians and conducting orchestras.

In 1965 maestro Oldimar Cáceres (Pocho) led an avant-garde lineup which required the presence of very proficient players to deal with hard-to-play charts which included counter melodies and fugal passages.

As composer he wrote the tangos “Arrullo”, “Bailemos [b]”, “Eterna melodía”, the latter with words by his brother Alcides. With Juan Cao he co-wrote the numbers “Amor de luna”, “Café Monterrey”, “Así es mi voz”, “Canción de luna”, “Candombe de carnaval” and “Bailando candombe”. He was also co-author of the pieces “Canción de la noche”, “Presente barra querida”, “Viejo solterón”, “Siempre la espero”, “Tu dulce mirada” and “El vals quinceañero” with musicians and lyricists of the level of Armando Blasco, Alberto Luces, Miguel Buranelli, Ángel Bessio, Héctor Bello Schmitt and Juan Bigio.

On August 22, 1984, while he was watching TV with his wife, he had a heart attack which put an end to the life of this important musician.