Alberto Heredia

brilliant career, years of struggle rewarded by a long popularity, honoring friendship and remaining loyal to teachers and friends. He has a charming personality and a great command of his profession. He possesses a splendid baritone voice, plus a special dramatic expression, an impressive presence and an admirable facility on stage.

His subtle sensitivity makes the melodic line be showcased even in the most dramatic numbers while the sweetness of his mezza voce is highlighted with nuances of his expressive strength and accompanied by the deepness of his low notes and long sustained finales.

He was born in Buenos Aires, in the neighborhood of Caballito, but his family moved to the city of San Francisco, in the province of Córdoba, when he was a very young child.

Caressed by the Gardel’s tangos hummed by his father, by the bandoneon playing of his cousin Raúl and his careful daily listening to the Glostora tango club on the radio, he learnt to sing the first notes.

When Alfredo De Angelis played in San Francisco, he had the chance to be heard by Oscar Larroca and Carlos Dante, who encouraged him to perform on stage. He was only 16.

This encounter was the starting point. Larroca connected him with the Orquesta Juventud Triunfadora of Córdoba, where he had his professional debut. Later he switched to other orchestras until he formed his own aggregation led by the bandoneonist Norberto Pivatto.

In Córdoba he studied vocal technique with professor Piedrabuena, an excellent baritone singer who had joined the staffs in the Teatro Colón. The expectations of his teacher to influence him towards opera were defeated by the firm decision of the student to devote his life to tango.

Later he went to Buenos Aires and despite he sang in many places, he was not lucky. By that time he appeared at all the talent contests he could but, undoubtedly, it was not his time yet. When the possibilities were exhausted he returned to San Francisco, he was then twenty years old. He gigged in all the towns between Rosario and Santa Fe.

When he was performing at the Confitería Oriental, of his town, he was occasionally heard by The Negro Mela, who was Osvaldo Pugliese’s agent. He told him about the possibility of an audition, because the maestro was looking for a young vocalist. After different alternatives and auditions in Rosario —where he was about to sing with the orchestra— he was summoned to go to Buenos Aires for the final audition. He was among over 300 contestants. Of all them only four singers remained, but he was chosen by the players of the orchestra. His début was on October 10, 1964, now as Abel Córdoba. You may ask: who were those musicians? They were no less than the maestros: Osvaldo Ruggiero, Julián Plaza, Emilio Balcarce, Arturo Penón, Víctor Lavallén, Alcides Rossi, Oscar Herrero, Julio Carrasco and Enrique Lannoo.

His singing partners were Jorge Maciel and Alfredo Belusi. The latter soon split to rejoin maestro José Basso.

His first great joy soon came when he went on a tour of Japan. Though initially it was meant for three months it finally lasted six months. He was amazed when they arrived because the people who was waiting for them knew all the members, even him, that was the newest. It was a very successful tour with over ninety concerts.

In 1968 six musicians and Jorge Maciel split with the orchestra to put together the Sexteto Tango. It was a hard blow for don Osvaldo who at first thought of putting together a quintet to go on with his career. But after the insistence of his wife Lidia he again formed the orchestra and Abel continued with him.

Pugliese went on with many tours, again to Japan, two tours of France, six of Holland, Belgium, Finland, Spain and Portugal. Thereafter, three tours of the United States —he played in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco— and nearly all the countries of Latin America. In Ecuador the vocalist sang for Prince Rainier and the princesses Caroline and Stephanie of Monaco. His last tour was of Japan and China. Furthermore during that time he appeared twice at the Teatro Colón.

He broke the record for longest tenure: 31 years singing with Pugliese. He had been his only singer since 1968 until 1981, year when Adrián Guida joined them. There were also sporadic female appearances, such as Inés Miguens, Gloria Díaz, María Graña and Nelly Vázquez. The latter traveled with them to Cuba. Due to Adrián Guida's demise in 1994 he was again the only vocalist until the end of the maestro's career.

As from the sixties the recording companies did not pay much attention to tango, because of that he did not cut many recordings. His recordings are about sixty. They include traditional songs and others by contemporary composers.

From his records we highlight: “Enamorado estoy”, “Canción de rango” by Raúl Kaplún and José María Suñé, “Manón” and, many years later, “Milonga para Gardel”, along with Adrián Guida, and “Por unos ojos negros”.

After the death of the leader he followed his career as soloist and, as such, he traveled to Holland, Belgium and the United States, as well as Peru and Ecuador. With the Orquesta Color Tango he made a long European tour. They toured Italy -with performances in Venice, Trieste, Roma and Lecce- in five recitals in memory of Pugliese.

Nowadays he is a guest artist in several orchestras, he appears in shows in theaters and venues in Buenos Aires and tours throughout the country permanently. In August 1999 he recorded two pieces with the Orquesta Color Tango: “Sueño querido” and “Noches de luna”. Some years later, four tracks with Fernando Romano: “Los mareados”, “Uno”, “Buenos Aires” and “Nostalgias”.

A fervent advocate of tango, he does hide his disgust when recalling the birth of the Club del Clan, which tutored by Ricardo Mejía, boss of the Victor company, had as a requisite pushing tango into marginality and even he ordered to destroy matrices which were never recovered. «To such an extent that —he told us— that in the Club Estudiantes de la Plata, the club authorities asked Osvaldo not to play. They would pay him all the same because the Club del Clan people were there and they distributed free drinks. Osvaldo managed to do what he thought was right and his orchestra played in spite of the opposition. On another occasion, just arrived from Japan where we achieved an impressive success, at a carnival ball at the Club Provincial of Rosario, they sent some kids to throw coins at us on the stage».

He reached a big satisfaction when he was in Finland because he was told that in Stockholm (Sweden) a board of ten musicologists had chosen him for his best rendition of the tango “Uno”: Pugliese's with him on vocals.

Finally, we may add that he is much appreciated in the milieu and respected by his peers. His life, with no ostentatious displays, shows us the work and the stamina of that young man, who without self-conceit and acknowledging with proud his humble past, decided to follow the road of singing, spellbound by tango, the passion of his life.