Abel Palermo

e was an extroverted guy, with a thin figure, fairly tall and with a special attraction. According to the words of the leader and pianist Atilio Stampone: «Moreno was an excellent fellow, one of the great tango singers that, because of just one of those things, did not become a great name. His rendition of the tango “Anoche”, that Pablo used to perform with Francini-Pontier, was never paralleled».

A baritone, with good intonation and owner of interesting dramatic nuances, that he knew who to use without exaggerations, he possessed a masculine soft voice, with a pleasant mezza voce.

He was born in Cosenza, Italy, son of Salvador and Teresa Melomo and brother of the twin girls Concepción and Carmela. With his family he traveled to the city of Montevideo, Uruguay, where they settled definitively.

Since early age he was greatly attracted to tango and candombe. At age 14 he worked at a petrol station on Avenida Italia and Irlanda Street, but later he switched to a mechanic workshop. He spent part of his wage in his singing studies.

When he was sixteen he won a singing contest and, because of that, he was hired by a Montevideo radio station and to perform at the luxurious Carrasco hotel.

But in fact his career began when he joined the orchestra led by the violinist Emilio Pellejero.

His debut was on Radio El Espectador and he appeared at the Ateneo café and the Tupí Nambá cabaret, he was then 19. Later he switched to the orchestra led by the violinist Roberto Luratti in which he sang in duo with who later would be the great female singer of Uruguay: Nina Miranda.

In 1942 he married Maria Elena Bersoni. They had twins but soon later they divorced.

By that time, together with Emilio Pellejero, he was hired by the Sondor label. They recorded a 78 rpm disc that on one side had the tango “Eterna melodía” and on the other, the waltz “Nieve”.

Invited by the bandoneonist Juan Caló, in the late 1946, he arrived in Buenos Aires where he was introduced to Julio De Caro. The maestro heard him sing and summoned him, in the summer of 1947, to appear with his orchestra at the Casino hotel of Mar del Plata. They continued in Buenos Aires at the local Loraine on Esmeralda Street and at the Ruca tearoom on Corrientes, but his tenure was short, in the late 1947 he returned to Montevideo.

In 1948 he joined the aggregation led by Juan Baüer —Firpito— and, by the end of the year, he joined Hugo Di Carlo’s. With the latter he recorded for Sondor. In 1950 he performed with the orchestras led by the bandoneonist Edgardo Pedroza and Francisco Reynares.

In 1951, with his parents, he moved to Buenos Aires and opened an inn in the popular neighborhood of La Boca.

During his youth he was a very close friend of Julio Sosa’s. Both families were very closely linked too. That relationship continued in Buenos Aires and, because of that, he got an audition for Francini and Pontier. They were after a vocalist that would replace the singer Héctor Montes. They approved of him and he joined the orchestra.

These two friends had the responsibility of being vocalists in that extraordinary orchestra becoming one of the great teams in the history of our city music. In 1953 Julio Sosa split with the orchestra to join Francisco Rotundo’s aggregation and was replaced by Mario Lagos.

On June 17, 1952 Moreno recorded the tango written by Cátulo Castillo and Armando Pontier that would consecrate him, “Anoche”.

The success of the singer resulted in a large following and he was as well especially admired by his colleagues. During his tenure in the Francini-Pontier Orchestra he cut twelve numbers, some of them unsurpassable, I think, such as: “Anoche”, “Lluvia sobre el mar”, “Prohibido”, “Triste flor de tango”, “Tengo un amigo”, “Cuando talla un bandoneón” and the milongas, “Las cosas que me han quedado” and “Azabache”.

In August 1954 he split with the orchestra and began to appear as soloist. He had stints at night venues, clubs, dancehalls and chose maestro Lorenzo Barbero to conduct the orchestra that would accompany him.

Later he joined the orchestra led by Atilio Stampone, who was looking after another vocalist to accompany Héctor Petray. Their debut was on Radio El Mundo, and performed at ballrooms and at the tearooms Adlon and the Richmond on Suipacha Street.

In 1958 Sydney Frey, manager of Audio Fidelity hired them to record a long-playing disc, Tango Argentino. They cut the tangos “Reflexionemos”, “Adiós corazón”, “Nostalgias” and “Salimos a bailar”.

In the late 1959 he finished his tenure with Stampone and traveled to Montevideo because of family problems.

He came back to Buenos Aires in 1960 and recorded the tango piece written by Carlos Olmedo and Abel AznarDe puro curda” for the Odeon record company, with the accompaniment of the orchestra conducted by the violinist Aquiles Aguilar.

Time later he went to the southern provinces of Argentina because in Buenos Aires was beginning a lack of stints for the artists of the genre. The wrongly labeled "nueva ola" (new wave), created by foreign producers that by means of the communication media and the record companies destroyed everything associated with our national music, was growing. A lot of tango people had to carry out their career in the Patagonian region and in other far distant places of the nation.

After a three-year period he returned to Buenos Aires. In 1963, accompanied by the trio led by the bandoneonist Toto Rodríguez, he made shows throughout the Uruguayan territory.

In 1965 he married again and quit professional singing to devote himself to bar tendering in Uruguay. His son Damián was born. He spent his life normally until 1975 when he got ill, seized by a lung cancer. He went to the best specialists, and was accompanied by his loving relatives and friends but when he was almost 57 years old, he died at the Sanatorio Americano of Montevideo.