Ángel Sica

Real name: Sica Sparano, Ángel
Pianist and composer
(11 June 1906 - 22 September 1969)
Place of birth:
Montevideo Uruguay
Horacio Loriente

e awoke to music very early and succeeded in graduating as piano teacher when he was very young. «I studied in order to play tango», said he when somebody asked him about the genre of his choice.

In a cinema theater of the neighborhood of La Unión he had his early appearances at the time of silent movies. In 1926 he was member of a trio along with the violinist Federico Lafemina and the bandoneon player José Laina (Bachicha) to accompany the female singer Lucy Clory at the revue ‘Guarda con la atropellada’ which was staged at the Teatro Royal, on Mitre Street, next to the Teatro Solís.

The following stage in his career has been documented due to the invaluable contribution by Mr. José Marín Lorenzo, who now is Advisor of the Sociedad Uruguaya de Intérpretes and was member as bandoneon player of the Sica-Maquieira sextet, put together in 1928. Initially they were Ángel Sica (piano and leader) and Francisco Maquieira (bandoneón and leader). The rest of the personnel were Arnoldo Rodríguez, who was known under his nickname ‘Pantalón’ (Trouser), Américo Perelló (lead violin), Hugo Pereira (second violin) and M. Estella (double bass).

The following year, our gentle informer told us that Arnoldo Rodríguez was replaced. They used to appear at the Victoria and Las Delicias movie theaters, at noon at the Café Tupí Nambá and late at night at the Chantecler cabaret. It was a group in the Decarian style and well-polished.

By that time Sica and Maquieira released the tango “Qué hacés gigoló” with words by Romeo Yorio which was published by Juan Feliú e hijos.

Thereafter the leaders split and Ángel Sica, with Francisco Panedas, in January 1931 began a long tour. Their first stage was Rio de Janeiro, and later they appeared in more than forty Brazilian cities. We shall mention the names of those pioneers who meant, according to us, a unique and surprising tour of Uruguayan musicians throughout America and Europe. Ángel Sica (piano and leader), Francisco Panedas (bandoneon and leader), Arnoldo Rodríguez (bandoneon), Julio Carrasco and José Alberto Ladart (violins). They later appeared in Georgetown, capital of the British Guyana and later in Cayenne, French Guiana, where Ángel Sica wrote a tango dedicated to that city and which he entitled “Cayenne”.

Thereafter they went to Venezuela and in the mid- 1931 they traveled to Spain. For several weeks they appeared at the Teatro Cómico of Barcelona, a short appearance in Melilla, in the north of Africa, and again in Barcelona, this time at the dancing El Gato Negro, where Lucio Demare tried to persuade Sica to start a European tour with the Sica-Panedas sextet and his own group that included Irusta and Fugazot. The proposal was accepted and they traveled together for over a year. During its stay in Barcelona the Sica-Panedas group recorded for the Delfus label and they also appeared in a Spanish sound movie ‘Los últimos días de Pompeya’. This valuable information is mentioned in the Cancionera magazine when Ángel Sica came back, in its edition on July 5, 1933.

The next stage of the renowned pianist was with the Agapios-Perelló orchestra which later would be led only by Nicolás Agapios. He split with it in 1937. He summoned outstanding players and put together an excellent orchestra.

He worked without a halt. In 1937 his orchestra was the main attraction on CX 30 Radio Nacional, a radio station on which he carried out almost all his radio performance. His first vocalist was an excellent artist: Alcides De María, and Mabel Ortiz would be his female singer in 1938; Violeta Gómez in 1939 and Gloria Grobba in 1944.

In 1941 he cut a record in the first release made by the Uruguayan label Sondor, and one of his sides includes his tango “Meditación [b]”, with lyrics by Alcides De María.

Ángel Sica was, in the 40’s, an important contributor to the orchestra led by the violinist Roberto Lurati.

His rambling spirit led him to travel, in 1947, to Rio Grande do Sul, hired for a long season by the boîte-casino of Passo Fundo, were he fronted a sextet that he led and for which he wrote the arrangements. That ensemble included Pedro Casella and N. Cabral (violins), Arnoldo Rodríguez and Sócrates García (bandoneons), Alfredo Peña (double bass) and Jorge Escalada on vocals.

He released his tango “Un soñador” in the carnival balls of 1950 when he shared the bill with the famous Xavier Cugat orchestra (Teatro Solís), and the following year he appeared at the Restaurant Municipal del Prado with the singer Carlos Dumas and also at the famous balls that were held at the facilities of the Club Colón, on San Martín Ave. and Fomento.

We think that the above details are enough to portray the show business life of a great tango man. He was also an excellent piano soloist. Our beloved friend, maestro César Zagnoli, gave us an unknown piece of information about Ángel Sica. He told us that they rehearsed playing on two pianos as a duo but that idea did not come true because Sica had an accident when leaving the stage and everything was to no avail. The mutual esteem between them was the only thing that lasted.

He was never very much attracted to composition, but his file in the AGADU record gathers fourteen pieces. The last one, “Milonga criolla”, which he co-wrote with Miguel Villasboas was filed in the record on March 11, 1965, a few years before his death which took place on September 22, 1969.