Ricardo García Blaya

fter the mid-thirties international music prevailed upon tango, to such an extent, that our more traditional tango orchestras included foxtrots, polkas, corridos, pasodobles, congas and rhumbas in its repertoire.

Since Francisco Canaro, Francisco Lomuto and the Típica Victor until Julio De Caro and Osvaldo Fresedo, they alternated tangos with the most extravagant music.

But the appearance of the audacious and fast beat of Juan D'Arienzo, again placed tango into the preference of the young, who not only recovered the liking for its dance, but also eagerly started to recreate it.

Hundred of orchestras and vocalists sprang up then, creating the revival of the two-four and so came the wonderful forties.

Alfredo De Angelis belongs to the group of orchestras that focused their interest on dancing. This, however, does not mean they lacked artistic value, on the contrary, they were precise in execution, with good arrangements and were lined-up with great musicians and vocalists.

Our intellectual élite always looked down on popular things, on what was easily accepted by people's choice, because they disregarded, and disregard the sociocultural phenomenon represented by dancing.

I always heard people say that De Angelis was a merry-go-round orchestra, that it only was of use for dancing rooms, that it lacked creativity. I guess the expression made allusion to the funny habit of the dancers of their displacement on the place turning round following the outline of the dancing floor. From other point of view, the criticism may aim at the easy, elementary and routine music of the merry-go-rounds (carrousels).

I find these definitions somewhat mistaken.

De Angelis had the beauty of a harmonious and synchronized work, from which a neat simple tango was evidenced, achieved through an efficient handling of rhythm, a careful respect for melody and the showcasing of the singer.

It may be said that the style was simple and the scarcely ambitious pattern was obstinately repeated, but today, at a distance, I enjoy myself listening to his recordings, some of them are seminal. “Al pie de la Santa Cruz”, “La brisa”, “Ya estamos iguales” (with Carlos Dante's voice), “Marioneta” (with Floreal Ruiz), “Atenti pebeta”, “Un tango y nada más”, “De igual a igual” (with Julio Martel).

He was born at the locality of Adrogué (south of grand Buenos Aires) and since early childhood he started to study sight-reading and harmony. His early gigs were accompanying the singer Juan Giliberti, who used to announce his shows with advertisements that said that Gardel himself had appointed him as his musical heir.

Soon he switched to Anselmo Aieta's orchestra replacing the pianist Juan Polito. A curious information: in that line-up Juan D'Arienzo played violin.

Together with the bandoneonist Ernesto de la Cruz, he accompanied the singer Félix Gutiérrez, a successful refrain singer in several orchestras of the period. Briefly, around 1934, he joined the orchestra of Graciano De Leone. Later he teamed-up with Daniel Alvarez and even later, he joined Los Mendocinos orchestra led by Francisco Lauro.

Only after 1940 he put together his own orchestra, debuting on March 20, 1941 at the café Marzotto on Corrientes street, with the vocalist Héctor Morea, the only one of his singers who did not succeed in having a recording date.

He played on radio El Mundo, with the voices of the above-mentioned Morea and the new member, Floreal Ruiz. So we arrived at the Glostora Tango Club, a mythical radio program which was daily broadcasted a little before the most popular theater serial on radio: Los Pérez García.

So, De Angelis achieved fame and popularity and it was not strange that the Odeon label included him with its artists, where he recorded 486 numbers, from July 23, 1943 to January 21, 1977.

De Angelis was distinguished by choosing very good singers, such as: Floreal Ruiz, Carlos Dante, Julio Martel, Oscar Larroca, Juan Carlos Godoy, Roberto Florio, Roberto Mancini, Lalo Martel, among others.

Carlos Dante's case is quite special because he had already been a consecrated refrain singer and joined the orchestra in his plenitude, becoming its best singer, its distinct seal.

In the forties Alfredo De Angelis was the promoter of the vocal duets. Revising his discography the team Dante-Martel stands out in first place with their pearls “Pregonera”, “Remolino” and “Pastora”, among others. The Dante-Larroca duo comes after, and later Juan Carlos Godoy with Lalo Martel and Roberto Mancini.

He composed “El taladro”, as homage to the Banfield soccer club, “Pregonera”, “Pastora” (both with lyrics by José Rótulo), “Qué lento corre el tren” (lyrics by Carmelo Volpe) and that melodic wonder that is “Remolino” (with Rótulo as well).

De Angelis neither had Aníbal Troilo's transcendence nor Osvaldo Pugliese's, but he was an honest leader that sought refuge in the traditional tango which was easily understood by the people. The evidence is in the amount of records that he recorded and that resulted in an impressive commercial success.