Horacio Deval

Real name: Tudisco, Adolfo
Nicknames: Horacio Devriew
(4 July 1923 - 18 January 2004)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Abel Palermo

e possessed a musicality that elicited envy. It evidenced a strong Gardel-influenced finesse, almost natural, not intentionally sought. His singing had a timbre, a phrasing and a special color that made some people in the audiences think that he wanted to sound like the Zorzal.

I don’t think so. The quality of his baritone range and his exquisite mezza voce were much more than a simple imitation, in any case, I can admit that he made an exaggerated rendering of Gardel’s spirit and expressiveness, but not a copy.

So much so that when he stays away from Gardel’s repertoire, without abandoning his usual style, we rediscover one of the most important voices of his time.

He was born in the neighborhood of Boedo. His parents were Italian immigrants that arrived in Argentina when they were very young and raised a large family with eight children, five boys and three girls.

He worked as shoeshine boy, bread distributor and worker in a cold-storage plant.

Two in his family would become singers, he and his brother Aquiles. The latter began as tango vocalist in the orchestra led by Roberto Dimas. But he really stood out in the great jazz orchestra Santa Anita - Ritmo en el Alma under the name Alberto Deval.

On June 24 1935, Carlos Gardel’s demise would cause a remarkable impact on Adolfo despite he was 12 years old.

His older brothers recall that when he saw his photos and when he heard his voice he used to repeat «we have to sing for this man and we have to feel as if his voice were hidden in our own throat».

Little by little he was developing his vocation. His singing was present in whatever social meeting held in his neighborhood. Two brothers named Cirulli lived there. They performed in the nearby barrooms where they, along with the women who played the Victrola entertained the patrons. Adolfo managed to be heard by the Cirullis and immediately joined their group until another neighbor, the renowned pianist Enrique Mora made him join his quartet.

In 1941, he was called by the leader of the outfit Los Andinos, don Silvio Spalleta. He made his debut on the Radio Del Pueblo broadcasting which was very popular among tango audiences.

Later, he switched to the Carlos del Río’s orchestra and in 1944 he joined the orchestra of the prestigious bandoneonist Jorge Argentino Fernández. That year he appeared at a contest on Radio Splendid under the name Horacio Dreview. He turned out the winner and the prize meant a three-month contract with the radio station.

Later, now with his present name, he joined the team Sucher-Landi, until he was called by Miguel Caló to replace the successful singer Raúl Iriarte. Unfortunately, he did not succeeded in recording with the Orquesta de las Estrellas (Stars’ Orchestra).

He recorded for the first time in 1949 with maestro Joaquín Do Reyes. The numbers were the tangos “Ventanita de arrabal” and “Lloró como una mujer”. Furthermore he appeared on Radio El Mundo and at the cabaret located on 700 Corrientes Avenue, El Empire, to great acclaim.

His show-business name was inspired after his brother Aquiles’s, who, as is above said, used to sing under the pseudonym Alberto Deval.

He began to be well known and in the late 1950 maestro Horacio Salgán called him to join his orchestra to share the role of vocalist with Ángel Díaz (El Paya).

In the early 1951 with the Salgán Orchestra he recorded three numbers that forever will remain as anthology pieces: the tangos “Pobre colombina”, “Sueño querido” and “Yo te bendigo”. Before the end of the year the brand-new TV Canal 7 of Buenos Aires hired him.

In 1952, the record company T.K. signed him as a staff figure —for this label the great Aníbal Troilo recorded—. Deval accepted the offer but he demanded the accompaniment of the brilliant musician and arranger Argentino Galván. There he recorded his first 78-rpm as soloist: “Arrabal amargo” and “Esta noche estoy de tangos”. The latter is a true gem of the genre.

In 1953, he toured throughout Argentina and Uruguay. He achieved a great success on Radio Nacional of Montevideo where the Isidro Pellejero's group accompanied him.

Back in Buenos Aires he was hired by Radio El Mundo to appear in central hours. A large audience that witnessed every show always crowded the radio station auditorium. Furthermore in his shows was the one of the most important radio speakers in Argentina, Mrs. María Esther Vignola, with he had a love affaire. Finished it he married María Teresa Canale and had a son, Horacio, and a daughter, Teresa.

His hits appeared progressively. He had a brief tenure with the Mariano Mores Orchestra and recordings for the Music Hall label. But unfortunately for the Argentine public Horacio was much sought after in the whole American continent, especially in the United States were he traveled in 1972 to perform on the Waldorf Astoria of New York, city where he decided to settle in.

Later he met and fell in love with the columbian Gladiana Beltram, and they got married, after divorced his first wife. They had a daughter: Grissell.

This great singer, who as well is a very good person and a genuine representative of the best tango style, died in company of his wife and daughter, in Miami, where he lived.