Néstor Pinsón
| Ricardo García Blaya

ibó is for us, above all, a great friend of the collectors’ group. An artist that developed his voice, trained it and that still is pleasing us with his delicate phrasing and his warm timbre. He belongs to a generation of singers that enjoyed the late 40s, but that later had to struggle to keep tango alive from the 60s onwards.

He was born in Victoria, province of Entre Ríos. His inclination for music and singing awoke early.

«As a kid, in my hometown, we knew nothing about either tango, or milonga, or any other beat. Until when, all of a sudden, I was touched by the lyrics of a tango that appeared in a newspaper. It was published on the central page, it was “Giuseppe el zapatero”. I was then only seven years old.»

He soon moved to the city of Rosario (province of Santa Fe) where he went to grade school. One day he began to sing in the kitchen of the school, the woman director heard him and asked him why he had moved, and the boy answered: «Because I wanted to sing». That answer surprised her and as she was a music lover, player of piano and violin, whose biggest pride was the school choir, she decided to audition the boy. So Ribó became the soloist of a choir that reunited 60 children.

Soon later he made his debut on the radio accompanied by guitars, while still a teenager, and he joined a cabaret orchestra where the violinist Nito Farace played and whose leader, Lincoln Garrot, imitated the style of Osvaldo Fresedo.

«I arrived in Buenos Aires in 1943 when I was 16. I lived with an uncle who filled my application for a contest: «Voces nuevas surgidas del deporte» (New voices coming from sports), which I finally won. My uncle helped me a lot, but he was very strict. One day I arrived late because of a woman and he sent me back to my hometown.»

«At that contest there were boys older than I, who later would be recognized artists: Roberto Carlés, Oscar Larroca and Carlos Vidal, among others.»

In spite of the problem with his uncle, Osvaldo went to live to a boarding house, showcasing his singing day after day. So he came to know Nelly Omar and Homero Manzi.

Around 1944 he appeared with the orchestra of Alfredo Gobbi under the pseudonym Julio Lucero at the cabaret Sans Souci.

By that time he also sang at other cabarets with the accompaniment of the Antonio Arcieri’s group. Later he appeared at a local called Hurlingham, in front of the Novel tearoom on Lavalle Street. He was accompanied by the Dalepi sextet, short for the family name of the leader, who was a young bandoneon player with Greek surname, Armando Dalepidote. At that local the famous jazz orchestra Varela Varelita made its debut.

When the singer Enrique Campos split with the Ricardo Tanturi orchestra, the leader began to audition an important number of aspirants. Tanturi was looking for voices with a personality and for that reason, he chose Andrés Osuna. Because of a contest suggested by the sponsor of the radio program where Tanturi played, the listeners suggested the artistic name of the singer recently included. So the pseudonym Osvaldo Ribó sprang up.

His first recording was a duo with Roberto Videla, on August 16, 1946: the waltz “Amores de estudiante”, recording 14 numbers with Tanturi. His big hit was and, still is, the tango “Papel picado”, by Cátulo Castillo and José González Castillo.

In 1954 he joined the Lorenzo Barbero orchestra and recorded two tangos: “Noche de locura” (7/23/1954) and “No quiero verte llorar” (5/20/1955).

In 1960 he teamed up with the bandoneonist Ángel Domínguez and recorded “Aquel nocturno” with the orchestra of Héctor Gondre, Ricardo Tanturi’s bandoneon player.

Later he switched to the Mariano Mores orchestra, with whom he had a bad experience, according to his own words, and he appeared on television.

He went on playing, always as soloist, at a great number of locals, making some recordings up to now. In 1978, accompanied by Roberto Grela and his guitarists he recorded four pieces. Later, a series of recordings of which he was sorry, only available on cassette, eight numbers with the orchestra led by Ricardo Martínez in 1987.

In his last work, recorded in 1999 and released by Héctor Lucci, he recorded twelve tunes with the guitar group accompaniment by Hugo Rivas and the four tracks recorded with Roberto Grela in 1978 are re-issued.

His opinion about Gardel was categorical: «To catch up with him neither the voice of Jorge Casal, nor the taste of Floreal Ruiz, nor Raúl Berón's pleasantness, nor Alberto Castillo's courage would have been enough. There are singers that sing prettily, there are even amateurs who do it nice, but singing well is another story. There are many details. Each word, phrase after phrase, to stress one note after another. When you study, a good teacher of singing tells you that all the notes have to be at the same place, you can't miss even one.» And he adds as final comment: «As for popular art you have to respect the things that come from before, what was taking shape little by little, what is taught from ones to others. In sum, you learn listening to others.»

As a curious information, we can add that Ribó has two children, a boy and a girl, the latter, the actress Olivia Hussey, the Julieta of the film Romeo and Juliet by the Italian director Franco Zefirelli.

Osvaldo Ribó is a man of long and interesting thoughts, of a natural pleasantness and a delicate personality, fond of telling funny stories one after the other. In other words, a simple plain person with an educated clear voice which allowed him to go on working continuously.