Horacio Loriente

great pianist, he is placed among the creators and interpreters of tango romanza. Always a bohemian, he neither assigned importance to his capabilities nor to his career in popular music.

Born in Rosario, he had his first piano lessons in his hometown and later studied with the teachers Scaramuzza and Drangosch in Buenos Aires. When he was very young he joined the Compañía Roma-Marchesi as orchestra leader. He moved to Buenos Aires where he was member of a trio with Abel Bedrune and the Russian Iván. Later a quintet, now with Bedrune and Chirino (bandoneons), Ríos and Di Paoli (violins).

Soon thereafter he fled to Montevideo, evading military service. There are no documents that acknowledge his stay here. But his work accompanying the Spanish female dancer La Satanela in Punta Arenas, in the south of Chile is confirmed. From Santiago he negotiated a pardon for his nonfulfillment with military service. He returned to his country and around 1922 we found him at a café on Humberto 1º and Entre Ríos as pianist of the quartet of the bandoneonist Rafael Rossi. The violin players were Caraballo and Castellanos.

The following year at the café Los Andes he joined Luis Petrucelli’s aggregation which had this outstanding line-up: Petrucelli and Maffia (bandoneons), Emilio Ferrer and Femando Franco (violins) and Pereyra (piano). He switched to the Ferrazzano’s sextet that played at the Abdullah Club in the underground room of the then famous Galería Güemes. Agesilao Ferrazzano and Fernando Franco (violins), Ciriaco Ortiz and Antonio Romano (bandoneons), Olindo Sinibaldi (double bass), Eduardo Pereyra (piano).

By that time he joined the Victor record company as music advisor and recorded some discs leading a tango orchestra. In that period he also backed Rosita Quiroga and Roberto Díaz, as soloist or with his outfit.

Eduardo Pereyra was as well present in the beginnings of the Argentine radio: he performed on LOX Radio Cultura. He was accompanied then by the bandoneon players Ciriaco Ortiz and Petrucelli; Eugenio Nobile, Luis Gutiérrez del Barrio and Antonio Arcieri on violins and the bassist Angel Corleto.

Around 1926, Eduardo Pereyra left everything behind and went to Europe. He played at the Romea Theater of Madrid and later appeared in Barcelona alongside Juan Bautista Deambroggio (Bachicha) and Mario Melfi. He journeyed through several European cities, and returned to Buenos Aires with the sports delegation of the Boca Juniors club.

He played in the recording sessions of the violinist Ferrazzano’s sextet for Victor. The other musicians were Bernardo Germino (2nd violin), the bandoneonists Enrique Pollet and Luis D'Abbraccio and the bass player Olindo Sinibaldi. Subsequently he performed at a café of Flores with the violinist Alcides Palavecino and Joaquín Mauricio Mora (then bandoneonist).

Since then Pereyra was seriously ill. It forced him to stay away in Córdoba for several years.

In 1929, he resumed his work as composer. Due to his inclination towards native music he started with the zamba “Farol de los gauchos” with lyrics by Celedonio Esteban Flores. He embarked on a tour of Brazil and when he came back he settled shortly in Montevideo. He appeared at the Royal Pigall, on Radio Carve and at the disappeared cabaret Los Diablos Rojos on Piedras Street, near Colón.

In 1932, already in Buenos Aires, he cut a record for Brunswick as piano soloist. On one of its sides: “Vagabundo” by Agustín and Emilio Magaldi and Pedro Noda, then a hit. On the other side there was an anthological rendering of the beautiful tango composed by Joaquín Mora, “Divina”.

He put together a small group in 1934 that recorded in Victor and the following year he formed a sextet modeled after the Decarian style for a brief two-month tenure on LR1 Radio El Mundo. His partners were Elvino Vardaro and Manlio Francia (violins); Ciriaco Ortiz and Calixto Sallago (bandoneons) and Vicente Sciarretta (double bass). On December 3, 1935 El Alma que Canta published an ad announcing: «Eduardo Pereyra, course to learn popular singing.»

After the information given above, it is very difficult to follow the artistic steps of Chón Pereyra. As his mental health was disturbed he remembered nothing of his past. He shared the café tables with his friends, unaware of all he had contributed not only to tango but also to our native music.

Probably his memory was not all right when he was interviewed by Héctor Bates in 1935. Then he said that his tango “El africano” was published in 1916 despite the recordings place it in 1920. “El africano” is among his best works, due to its structure and originality.

Almost at the same time he wrote “Mano de oro”, committed to record by the famous orchestra led by Roberto Firpo. When it was published by Rivarola in 1930 it bore another name: “Cuna de los bravos 33”, subtitled “Poema romántico de la época de la independencia uruguaya”, already then with Daniel López Barreto's lyrics. It achieved a splendid recording by the Cayetano Puglisi's sextet as an instrumental. But our greatest singer, Carlos Gardel was the one who sang it in 1933 with its definitive title: “La uruguayita Lucía”.

Of his work as composer, from a long list, we mention “Y reías como loca”, “Gorriones”, “Pan” and “Madame Ivonne” in Gardel's renditions and “Nunca es tarde (Todavía estás a tiempo)” and “Viejo coche” made popular by the personal female singer Rosita Quiroga.

This major figure in tango, an exquisite pianist and composer, died in Buenos Aires on February 21, 1973. We think that the rehearsal of his reminiscing was worthwhile.

Excerpted from: Loriente, Horacio: Ochenta notas de tango. Perfiles biográficos, Ediciones de La Plaza, Montevideo 1998. Under the auspices of the Academia de Tango del Uruguay.