Ricardo García Blaya

e was a prolific composer and embraced many musical rhythms and genres: tangos, waltzes, milongas, foxtrots, shimmies, tarantellas, pasodobles, rancheras, chacareras and polkas. His group had a style not clearly defined, that could easily be differentiated from other aggregations of the period, but we can place him within traditional tango.

He had the capacity of knowing how to choose very good musicians so his orchestra had a polished sound, with the pace of a rhythmical danceable tango.

He was an excellent bandoneonist, devoted to his instrument; he as well devoted himself to teaching.

He was born in San Costantino de Briatico, Italy (region of Calabria). With his family he arrived in Argentina when he was 11 years old and he started to study bandoneon in his adolescence.

His brother Vicente was Oscar Bonavena's father (Ringo), the famous Argentine heavyweight champion.

He began his professional career in 1925, on the then band new Radio Prieto, accompanying the male and female singers that belonged to that radio station.
Simultaneously, he joined different groups until he put together his own orchestra in 1926. With it he played on Radio Argentina and as well on the broadcasting known as La Voz del Aire.

Two years later he joined the Electra label and recorded, between 1928 and 1929, 16 numbers with an outfit called Trío Regional, which used to play a repertoire of rancheras, foxtrots, waltzes and only one tango “Nicanora”.

In 1928, he recorded five numbers with his orchestra (none of them a tango) accompanying the singer Carlos Viván (two numbers) and the female singer Mary White (3 numbers).

In 1930 he split with that record company and switched to Columbia. For the latter, between 1930 and 1932, he recorded 72 numbers with his orchestra.

In these recordings his orchestra was comprised of the bandoneonists Federico Scorticati, Gabriel Clausi and Vicente Sipulla; the violinists Octavio Scaglione, José Fiocco, Antonio Buglione and Ángel Milito; on piano was José Tinelli and the bass player was Francisco De Lorenzo. As estribillistas (refrain singers) were Antonio Rodríguez Lesende, Antonio Buglione and Jorge Omar. On some occasions, Joaquín Mora and Alberto Cima, on bandoneons, the violinists Antonio Rodio and Cayetano Puglisi and the pianists Lalo Scalise and Oreste Cúfaro were as well included.

Between 1932 and 1934, he was hired to play nightly at the Casino of the city of Mar del Plata.

Back in Buenos Aires he carried out a long work at the traditional cafés on Corrientes Street, at the night barrooms and cabarets, like Chantecler or Casanova. At one of them, the Petit Salón, in 1938 a novel young singer, Roberto Rufino, only 16 years old, made his debut in his orchestra.

Around that time the pianist Manuel Sucher, later the young José Basso and the singers Luis Mendoza and Roberto Flores (Chato) as well performed in his orchestra.

As composer he released “Pájaro ciego”, with Lito Bayardo, and the tangos: “Arlette” (lyrics by Horacio Sanguinetti), “Color de cielo”, “Organito del suburbio” and “Tus cartas” (all them with his own lyrics), “El gavilán”, “Mala racha [b]”, “Pordiosera”, “Seguí nomás hermano”, “Sigan tomando muchachos” (with Rodolfo Scafidi) and “Virgencita de Luján”.

The waltzes: “Cariño que mata”, “Lirio blanco”, “Llanto de madre”, “Martirios del alma” and “Una esperanza”. The foxtrots: “Francesita [b]” and “Amor de oriente”; the shimmies: “Japonesita” and “Se va el tren”; the rancheras: “Metele que son pasteles [b]”, “La polca de espiante” and the milongas: “El barrio del tambor” and “Pueblera”.

With this brief sketch, "Todo Tango" intends to rescue an excellent musician from oblivion, one that has been unjustly forgotten.