Alberto Príncipe

ontero belongs to a generation of soloist singers that successfully blossomed since the 50s and the 60s, together with Jorge Vidal, Edmundo Rivero, Alberto Morán, Alberto Marino and Floreal Ruiz, among others.

His peculiar style, strong and dramatic, a little «mournful», but with good intonation, made him one of the most popular voices of his time. (Director’s Note)

Following there is a portrayal of this artist by Alberto Príncipe.

He was born in the city of San Miguel de Tucumán (north of Argentina) on the Independence Day. In 1924 his family moved to the city of Córdoba, to later definitively settle in Buenos Aires, in the neighborhood of Saavedra.

I was his neighbor and schoolmate of two of his brothers: Juan and Enrique. The latter, a good singer, with a physical appearance and a voice quite similar to his brother Miguel’s. Very often we saw him with his brothers rehearsing in the kitchen with the three Mircó brothers, guitarists that accompanied professionals and amateurs that played at local clubs, especially at the Federal Argentino organized by Roberto Cassinelli and Raúl Outeda.

In 1938 Miguel Montero, with the pseudonym Alberto Luna (his mother family name) which he soon no longer used, made his debut on Radio Del Pueblo accompanied by the guitar players, the Legarreta brothers and José Di Napoli. Then he was already serenading in his neighborhood and in any place he was allowed to sing. His debut at the neighborhood was at the Club All Boys in 1936.

In 1940 I went to see him at the Saavedra Club, that still is on Pinto Street round the corner of All Boys, where a charity festival was held. On the program were included names such as Lopecito, a reciter, the actor Pepito Petray (grand uncle of the singer Héctor Petray) and the Uruguayan singer Carlos Roldán, who had not still made his debut either with Fresedo, or with Canaro.

Miguel sang with Roldán’s guitar accompaniment, “Carnaval de mi barrio” and the waltz “La ofrenda del trovero”. When he finished, Carlitos Roldán warmly congratulated him, assuring him a great future in tango... and he was not mistaken.

I omitted to say that the early stints made by El Negro de Oro, as Roberto Cassinelli called him, were as singer in local tango orchestras: Eliseo Minotti’s and Miguel Brunetti’s.

In the early forties he switched to Pedro Maffia orchestra, then as professional singer. In 1942 he appeared on El Mundo radio station and in 1943, when he came back from the United States, Juan Carlos Cobián chose him as his singer and joined his group.

Devoted to his profession of painter and decorator that he carried out with his father and brothers, he quit singing for some years.

In 1949 Juan Carlos Howard, pianist in Francisco Lomuto orchestra, who used to play on his own when the leader allowed it, hired him as singer and later introduced him to Lomuto and the latter made him join his outfit replacing Carlos Galarce. He made his debut with the other singer of the orchestra, Alberto Rivera, on Radio Belgrano and recorded his first disc for Victor: “Muñequita”, a piece written by Lomuto himself with lyrics by Adolfo Herschel, to which five more recordings followed.

His stay with this orchestra lasted until Lomuto’s death, happened on December 23, 1950. Then he joined the Roberto Dimas orchestra and later Carlos Demaría’s, with whom he recorded for the label Pampa only one number: “Esta noche me emborracho”.

In 1953 he is vocalist for Mario Demarco, to play on radio Splendid, the latter recommended him to Osvaldo Pugliese, who hired him and tried to change his name. The singer was opposed to not using his family name, as homage to his father, who had recently passed away.

He made his debut with Pugliese, on July 16, 1954 at the Huracán club and, by a strange coincidence, his last ball with Pugliese was also carried out at Huracán, on August 6, 1959.

The tango “A la luz del candil” was his first recording with Pugliese, on July 14, 1954, with whom he made sixteen recordings as soloist and four in a duo with Jorge Maciel. His last recording with the maestro was the tango “Dicha pasada”, on November 19, 1958.

No doubt, his greatest hit with don Osvaldo was Eduardo Marvezzi's tango “Antiguo reloj de cobre”, which would become his most requested piece. Due to this recording the Odeon label, for having sold over 35.000 copies, gave a gold disc to Sara, his vidow.

His debut as soloist was on Radio Splendid, with his own orchestra led by the bandoneonist José Libertella, later different conductors followed to lead his orchestra: Eduardo Cortti, Aquiles Roggero, Oscar Castagniaro, Armando Cupo, Juan José Paz and Ángel Domínguez.

He recorded as well, as a special collaboration, two numbers with the Miguel Caló orchestra(1966) and two others with the Mariano Mores orchestra(1961 and 1969).

In 1971 he recorded two LPs with guitar accompaniment and, in 1973, a long-playing record under the title Los cosos de Buenos Aires, which comprised 12 numbers, with the Horacio Salgán orchestra.

Finally, accompanied by the Pascual Mamone orchestra, he recorded for the Odeon label 12 renditions in 1974.

Miguel Montero made tours of almost all the Argentine provinces and abroad: in 1963, Central America; in 1966, Venezuela; in 1968, Chile and in 1971, the United States.

He composed the tangos “Pa' la muchachada” that he recorded with Pugliese, “La noche tiene ojos negros”, “Celos por quererte” with Ángel Domínguez, “Carbonilla” With José Libertella y Aldo Queirolo, “Qué diablos pasa” with lyrics by Julio Fontana and the milonga “No te hagás el pituquito”, with Reinaldo Yiso.

Miguel Montero died of a heart attack on August 29, 1975 at nine AM, while he was having breakfast in bed. The previous day he had come back from Tucumán, his native province, and the following day he had to appear at the Atlanta club... it could not be.

The Negro de Oro remains in the memory of all the tango lovers with his great image of exceptional singer.