Abel Palermo

he had the privilege of having recorded with Aníbal Troilo, Osvaldo Pugliese, Astor Piazzolla and Mariano Mores. She is, no doubt, one of the last stars of the city song, with a good technique, a voice of great musicality and a soprano register that she adequately handled at the time of her tenure with Pichuco.

She was born in the city of Morón, province of Buenos Aires, very close to the Capital Federal. A few years later her parents settled definitively in the neighborhood of Liniers. Her dad was José Vázquez and Isabel Rodríguez was her mom; the family was completed with her twin brother Oscar Nelson.

Don José was a fan of tango and, when she was a child he sent her to study singing with maestro Eduardo Bonessi for 11 years. Later she continued with the former soprano singer of the Teatro Colón, Marta Constante. With the latter she developed her vocal range until reaching the level of an operatic singer and she then joined the choirs of that theater.

In 1957 she appeared at a contest for new singers organized by Radio Splendid and the magazine Radio Film which was directed by the singer and later journalist Emilio Roca who was also the owner of the successful magazine Cantando. She was second, for one point she was defeated in the final by the singer from Rosario, Carmen Martínez. As award she signed a contract for a year on the radio which was later renewed. Thereafter she made her debut on television on channel 7, accompanied by a trio of notable players: on piano Osvaldo Manzi, on bandoneon Eduardo Rovira and on double bass Enrique Kicho Díaz.

This cycle on television was interrupted in 1960, when Astor Piazzolla, who had just come back from the United States, summoned her to sing with his quintet. They immediately recorded a long playing record for RCA-Victor: Piazzolla. Bailable y apiazolado, on which Nelly cut four pieces: “María”, “Bandoneón arrabalero”, “La casita de mis viejos” and “Cristal”.

The following year, Mariano Mores called her to record his number “Viejo Madrid” with his Orquesta Lírica del Tango on the Odeon label. But her definitive consecration took place on October 1, 1963 when she recorded “Madreselva”, now as member of the Aníbal Troilo Orchestra. During the three-year-tenure with Pichuco her fellow vocalists were Roberto Rufino, Roberto Goyeneche and Tito Reyes.

With Troilo she cut 16 numbers. Her outstanding renderings are “Canción de Ave María” written by Cátulo Castillo and Héctor Stamponi; “Barrio de tango”, by Troilo and Manzi; “Galleguita”, by Horacio Pettorossi and Alfredo Navarrine, and “Golondrinas” by Gardel and Le Pera. The last recording was “Yo no merezco este castigo”, written by Roberto Cassinelli and Marcelino Hernández on April 13, 1966.

Since 1968, already as soloist, she made important tours throughout the country and abroad. Later she appeared to great success in Buenos Aires at the Estaño de Pepe Basso.

In 1969 and 1972 she recorded two LP’s for the Microfón label. The music was arranged and conducted by Osvaldo Requena.

In the summer of 1973 she sang at the Hotel Rivera of Mar del Plata —other stars at the show were Troilo, Pugliese and Goyeneche— and the remainder of the year, on the stage of “Malena al Sur”. Thereafter, she performed with the orchestra led by Francisco Rotundo alongside Floreal Ruiz and Alfredo del Río at the tango venue located in the neighborhood of Villa Luro.

Again on television she appeared along with other great figures in “Grandes Valores del Tango”.

In 1975 she performed at the Teatro Colón in an homage to Carlos Gardel on the 40th anniversary of his death. She was the only female vocalist that appeared on the event and was then backed by an orchestra led by Héctor María Artola.

As from 1977 she appeared with the Osvaldo Pugliese Orchestra at different venues, theaters, on television and was invited by the leader to cut a tango piece in 1979 for the Odeon company: “Mentira”, written by Francisco Pracánico and Celedonio Flores.

At the same time, she continued appearing on television and had stints alongside the singer Horacio Deval.

In 1983 she recorded a long playing disc for RCA-Victor, titled Todo Buenos Aires, with an orchestral background conducted by Raúl Garello. She later started an important tour of the American continent accompanied by the orchestra led by Antonio Garcés.

In 1985 she recorded, along with Carlos Acuña, Hugo Marcel, Antonio Tormo and the reciter Héctor Gagliardi, a tango opera that reminisces the life of Eva Perón. It was titled Volveré y seré millones based on texts by Miguel Ángel Jubany and music by Roberto Pansera and Domingo Federico. In this play Nelly plays the role of Evita.

Thereafter along with Horacio Deval, already definitively based in the United States, she made a new tour of Colombia, Venezuela, and finally Miami (USA).

In 1988 an old dream of Nelly's came true, traveling to Japan with a group of important tango figures: Roberto Goyeneche, the pianist Orlando Trípodi, the bandoneonists Néstor Marconi and Daniel Binelli, and the violinist Reynaldo Nichele, among others. The show was presented in the most important cities of Japan.

Nowadays she goes on working, bringing us her pleasantness, her handling of the stage and, even though her voice has no longer the brilliance of the past times, her personality is above any other circumstance.