Blanca Mooney

Real name: Nester Mooney, Blanca
(18 January 1940 - 9 May 1991)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Néstor Pinsón

er obituary laconically said: «She unexpectedly passed away due to a brain hemorrhage and according to her will her remains were burnt and her ashes were thrown into the River Plate».

Everything was so fast as the career of this quite good singer was. She reminds us of the female singers of the previous generation either for her style, for the color of her voice or her expressive mood.

And everything began as it used to happen before. Again, after a long time, the contests for new tango vocalists were aired by radio stations. It was still the time for the tango beat. In this case it was the Radiofilm magazine which organized the contest. It was held at the Teatro Comedia —which no longer exists— on 400 Paraná Street, almost in front of the Chantecler Cabaret that at that time still survived.

The well-known speaker on radio programs, Carlos Ginés, was its emcee. I recall that on no account would I miss those programs on Mondays after ten pm. It was around 1953 or ‘54 and from them the names of Alfredo Dalton —who was awarded to be the lead actor in the movie Adiós muchachos— and Silvia del Río sprang out first.

Each contestant was asked his or her name, age, occupation and the male or female singer of his or her choice. The Leopoldo Federico Orchestra or a guitar group were responsible for the accompaniment to the contestants. In 1956 the winner was Ángeles Dangell, who briefly appeared in the milieu, Blanca Mooney was runner-up. Among the men, Ernesto Herrera (who performed with Héctor Varela and Francisco Canaro) and Carlos Budini, who possessed a bass pitch like Rivero’s and was later Miguel Nijensohn’s vocalist, were launched among others.

Even though she came from Irish and Spanish ascendants, the music of our country was the one she first encouraged. It was the time when in every neighborhood instructors for Spanish dances were found by the dozen and the Avenida de Mayo was plenty of «colmaos». Big names from Spain or not so big, sometimes, very often came to our country to appear on radios and clubs. But her mother filled her application for the Radiofilm contest and it changed the direction of her career.

As a consequence of the award she was hired to appear on LR3 Radio Belgrano, also at the well remembered Jabón Federal radio shows aired on Sunday noons. Later, the usual radio circuit, tours, ballrooms, recordings and, in her case, as well television in 1958.

After the 60s radio was no longer suitable for tango live shows, but venues like La Querencia, on Avenida de Mayo 870 still were. And many years later she appeared at the well-known Michelángelo.

Just by chance Osvaldo Fresedo heard her and decided to include her voice on a 33 rpm long playing record. They were only three numbers recorded in January and June 1959.

She went on as soloist and in 1963, after marrying, she settled in the province of Córdoba. Based there she kept on working and several years later she came back to Buenos Aires. She made tours of Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, the United States, but her most important tour was of Japan in 1968 with the orchestra led by Alberto Di Paulo. She further appeared in Chile with Roberto Pansera; that was her last performance outside Argentina.

The fact of having been a member of the Banda de la Armada Argentina (Argentine Navy Band) is a curiosity, we think that was an opportunity she had to earn money periodically and with certainty. She toured the country with the show titled Tango a bordo, the bandoneonist Néstor Marconi was member of the outfit.

She entered the recording studios over 40 times. At her debut with Fresedo she recorded an excellent rendition of the tango “Julián”, “Arrabalero” and “Dónde estás”, that beautiful title by Sucher and Bahr. In 1960 she recorded 12 numbers accompanied by an orchestra led by José Márquez, former pianist with Fresedo. Lucio Milena as well conducted her background for two titles. In 1972 with the accompaniment written by Luis Stazo she recorded 13 numbers, one of them in duo with Rodolfo Lesica: “Virgen de la serranía”, and between 1977 and '78 a new series for the Odeon label with the abovementioned Banda de la Armada Argentina.

We treasure the memory of her deep passionate voice that knew how to find a place and be recognized at a time when tango was not as important as it had been in previous periods. Had she been born ten years before her name would have surely been brighter with less effort. She passed away early, but she is regarded among the best female tango singers.