Abel Palermo

his correct singer with a baritone range, dark timbre and strong voice, was born in the province of Mendoza 1000 kilometers far from Buenos Aires. He was a child when his parents died so his elder sisters raised him.

His vocation for tango woke up when he was a teenager. At age 15 he won a contest for new singers in his hometown province with the tango “Melodía de arrabal”.

In 1945, he joined the local orchestra led by Aníbal Apiolaza. Two years later he moved to the province of Córdoba to debut with the outfit led by Torcuato Wermuth. In 1949, he arrived in Buenos Aires where he appeared accompanied by guitars in the intermission shows of several movie theaters.

In the late 1950, the vocalists Roberto Chanel and Raúl Lavalle split with the the orchestra led by Florindo Sassone. Rodolfo was summoned by the leader and during 1951 he was the only vocalist. On May 30 that year he recorded his first disc for RCA-Victor, “Testamento de arrabal” by Oscar Castagniaro and lyrics by Raúl Hormaza. He also recorded “Íntimas” and “Trago amargo”, among others.

The following year Roberto Chanel returned to the aggregation and so the team of vocalists was completed.

Galé and Jorge Casal were the singers that recorded most with Sassone for the Victor label, 16 tracks each. On April 14, 1953, he cut the last two numbers: “El estrellero” and “Yunque”.

Due to Jorge Durán’s split with the José Basso Orchestra and because of a special suggestion of its vocalist Oscar Ferrari, Rodolfo joined the unforgettable Pepe and immediately recorded an excellent rendering of “Cuesta abajo” for Odeon. Later came “Patoteros”, “Doblando el codo” and in 1955, “Eras como la flor”. This was an important time in his career; we have to take into account that singers of the level of Floreal Ruiz, Francisco Fiorentino, Ricardo Ruiz and the above mentioned Jorge Durán and Oscar Ferrari passed through the ranks of the Basso’s orchestra.

On the second half of that year nearly all the musicians split with the Carlos Di Sarli Orchestra and with them, the two vocalists: Oscar Serpa and Mario Pomar. Consequently the leader had to look for instrumentalists and vocalists to replace the former ones. So notable artists such as the violinists Tito Simón and Elvino Vardaro and the bandoneonists, Julián Plaza and José Libertella and the singers Argentino Ledesma and Rodolfo Galé joined that renowned aggregation.

During his tenure with Di Sarli he cut for the Victor company: “Noche de locura” written by Manuel Sucher and Carlos Bahr and the waltz “Mala yerba” by Arturo Gallucci and Abel Aznar, both in 1956.

That year Argentino Ledesma split with the orchestra. He was replaced by Roberto Florio and one of its most acclaimed singers, Jorge Durán, returned. Some time later, Rodolfo also split with Di Sarli.

His career continued during 1957 and 1958, with the orchestra led by Roberto Caló alongside Héctor de Rosas. With the latter he recorded in a duo setting “Limosna de amor”, the waltzes “Mi colegiala” and “Si vos no me querés” and the beautiful zamba composed by Atahualpa Yupanqui, “Luna Tucumana”. Also as soloist: “Y con eso dónde voy”, “Mañana seré feliz” and “Nunca serás mía”.

In 1959, he was called by maestro Francisco Canaro and appeared on different occasions at theaters, balls and on the radio. Unfortunately due to some problems and severe pain in his chest he decided to visit a prestigious cardiologist. The latter advised him to withdraw from the activity and lead a quiet life far from show business and cigarette smoke.

But his financial needs did not allow him to follow the physician’s advise and he returned to his career, on this occasion, far from Buenos Aires. He embarked again on tours and nightlife. He was continuously traveling throughout the country until October 25, 1972, at noon a heart attack put an end to his life when he was almost 44 years old.

The words said by Oscar Ferrari about this beloved singer are suitable to end this portrayal: «He was like the brother I never had. Very few know how he was intimately. He was a wonderful human being and a loyal friend. He belonged to that kind that is not easy to find.»