Ricardo García Blaya

he 60s were very difficult for tango. Rock had become quite popular for the young and cultural policies and communications media were more inclined towards folklore than towards the city music.

Tango was in decline and furthermore Julio Sosa, in November 1964, and Susy Leiva, in 1966, both died in car collisions. There was no hope of a figure at the horizon and tango fans used to seek comfort by listening to Aníbal Troilo with Roberto Goyeneche at one of the few refuges still existing in Buenos Aires like the mythical Caño 14 or Edmundo Rivero’s El viejo almacén.

Then out of the blue a nice and quite simple young fair-haired boy with the look of a television lead actor turned up. It was like a gush of fresh wind that soon drew the public attention to his expressive young voice. He owned a very good diction and, what is more important, perfect intonation.

I recall I was still in high school when I saw him on TV at the popular Sábados circulares conducted by Nicolás Mancera. Many years later I came to know that he had successfully appeared at a contest for new talents organized by Radio El Mundo and the Radiolandia magazine.

For the Odeon label he recorded his first LP El Alemancito in 1964. The record included some classic tunes: “Ave de paso”, “Verdemar”, “Por la vuelta” and some others not widely aired like “Entre la gente” by Paz and Lambertucci, “Aún” by Pérez Prechi and Fresedo, and “Lluvia de lágrimas” by Pansera and Lambertucci, among others.

In 1966, he participated with three numbers in Ben Molar’s magnificent record, 14 con el tango. They were “Alejandra” written by Troilo and Sabato; “Marisol” by Piana and Córdoba Iturburu, and “Sabor de Buenos Aires” by Caló and Mastronardi. Also that year, at the Tango Festival in La Falda, province of Córdoba, he performed “Esta ciudad” by Osvaldo Avena and Héctor Negro, the tango song winner of the Festival Odol de la Canción organized by the TV Channel 13.

He had already performed abroad, firstly in Uruguay in 1964 where he appeared on television and different night venues; the following year in Perú where he reprised his promising success.

He joined qualified staffs of the Buenos Aires night shows: Cambalache, El viejo Almacén, Caño 14, El Rincón de los Artistas, Café de los Angelitos and Vos Tango, among many more.

Besides his trade as singer, El alemancito is an interesting composer. He wrote over twenty pieces that include tangos, milongas and waltzes, in collaboration with the lyricists Roberto Díaz [b], Mario Iaquinandi, Isusi, and the unforgettable friend Héctor Oviedo. Out of his inspiration came the tango tunes “A mi país”, “Así es la noche”, ”Como el teatro”, “Con su melancolía”, “Hay rosas todavía”, “Por los viejos”, “Se llamaba Juan”, “Siempre cantor”, “Un fueye sin tristeza” (with Mario Valdez) and “Sólo la lluvia me quedó”, the milonga “Milonga para un otoño” and the waltz “Memoria de un patio”, all them with lyrics by Roberto Díaz [b]; the tango “Gris de abril” with Héctor Oviedo; the milonga “Milonga para un extraño” with Teodoro José Mouzo, Isusi; and the tango “Triste espejismo” with Mario Iaquinandi.

He as well wrote the lyrics of a tango quite dear for us: “Siempre el tango”, with music by Daniel Lomuto, written as homage to our radio program which was conducted by Néstor Pinsón.

During 1968 and 1969, he recorded three singles; they all had numbers composed by Osvaldo Avena and Héctor Negro: “Un mundo nuevo”, “Buenos Aires vos y yo”, “Esta ciudad”, “Un lobo más”, “Responso para un hombre gris” and Milonga para el domingo”.

Since then, the long-playing records titled as follows were released: Tangos por el Alemancito (1971) with the accompaniment of José Márquez, Un mundo nuevo,(1974) with the orchestra conducted by Luis Stazo, De tango somos (1981) with the orchestra led by Osvaldo Potenza, Tangos a mi modo (1984) with the Osvaldo Berlingieri Orchestra, Soy tango, two volumes (1988), the first with the orchestral background of Omar Valente and the Carlos Peralta guitar group, the second with the Pascual Mamone Sextet and the guitarists Peralta and Villavicencio, Siempre cantor (1994) backed by the orchestras led by Osvaldo Berlingieri, Luis Stazo and Daniel Lomuto, Reynaldo Martín (1997) with Alberto Di Paulo and Tangos de nuevos aires (2000) with Oscar De Elía.

He made tours of many Latin American countries, Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Perú, Mexico and in 1991 he appeared at the Homenaje a Gardel festival in Canada. He was also in Australia, performing in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra.

Nowadays, he is still in vogue at the tango venues, and logically his voice has declined through the years, but his pleasantness, his personality and his experience achieved among tangos and nights, make worthwhile the listening of this good singer, our dear Alemancito.