Abel Palermo

e was born in the province of Santa Fe, his parents were Pedro Arrieta and Emilia Mandarini. Being still a kid, his family settled in the city of Buenos Aires.

He was a baritone singer, with a style typical of Buenos Aires, with a personal phrasing, with a very personal way by which he was requested by several orchestra leaders, mainly by those that gave special importance to musicality and rhythm.

He debuted at age 16 with Juan Maglio (Pacho). Soon later, he was required by Carlos Di Sarli to replace the singer Antonio Rodríguez Lesende in his sextet. They performed throughout the year at the café El Nacional and at the cabaret Casino Pigall.

In 1933 he joined Juan Canaro after a short tenure in the aggregations led by Anselmo Aieta and Alejandro Scarpino. The following year he joined the quartet Los Magos del Tango (The Tango Magicians) which was appearing on Radio Ultra and which was lined up by the pianist Juan Polito, the bandoneon players Nicolás Pepe and Daniel Alvarez and the violinist Bernardo Sevilla (Tito). Thereafter there was a tenure with Pedro Laurenz's orchestra and, as of 1939, his premiere as soloist on LR3 Radio Belgrano, where he performed for two years until he switched to Radio Mitre.

The singer continued growing and establishing his style and he was summoned by maestro Lucio Demare to join his orchestra which already had the vocalist Juan Carlos Miranda. The first recording was on April 14, 1942: “Un tango guapo”, written by Roberto del Pino and Oscar Roma, later came “Soy muchacho de la guardia”, by Agustín Irusta and Héctor Marcó and “Canción de rango (Pa' que se callen)” by Raúl Kaplún and José María Suñé. By the end of the year, both Arrieta and Miranda split with the orchestra and they were replaced, by a great, the incomparable Raúl Berón.

Arrieta returned as soloist to Radio Belgrano and appeared at different night venues to great success, but his definitive consecration took place when he was invited to join the Miguel Caló's orchestra. With it he cut his first recording on August 7, 1945: Juan Polito's and Luis Caruso's tango “Quedó en venir a las nueve” and on the other side of the disc, the milonga “Cimarrón de ausencia”. The role of vocalist was shared with Raúl Iriarte, and this team maybe was the most important duo in the orchestra and the most transcendental in the continent. That made easier for both the later continuation of their careers in different countries of Latin America when the crisis of tango began in Buenos Aires in the 60s.

During his tenure with Miguel Caló he recorded 26 numbers as soloist and 4 as a duo with Iriarte. The most outstanding are: “Una tarde cualquiera”, for me his best interpretation; “En secreto”, written by Vicente Demarco and Alfredo Roldán and “A la gran muñeca”, one of the few versions of this tango recorded with lyrics.

Arrieta said goodbye to his first tenure with Caló with the recording of the tangos “Nunca más” and “Corazón de papel” on September 23, 1948.

After he split with that group, he was required to appear in Chile where he settled and stayed for a long season and recorded with different aggregations. Later he made a tour of different countries of Latin America, and when he returned to Argentina in 1954, along with Alberto Podestá, he joined again the Caló's orchestra.

On June 23 he recorded the Rodolfo Sciammarella's tango, “Boca Juniors”, dedicated to the popular soccer club. The following year he appeared with the orchestra led by Leopoldo Federico on Radio Argentina, later switching to Belgrano radio station and to the TV Channel 7, accompanied by the orchestra led by the excellent bandoneonist Alfredo Franco.

In 1957 he recorded again with Caló. On June 18 he cut "Cuánta angustia" and later he made a long tour of Brazil and Mexico with the Juan Canaro's orchestra. In 1959 he appeared in a show in the United States alongside Astor Piazzolla and the dancers María Nieves and Juan Carlos Copes. Encouraged by the public's recognition he settled in North America and, from there, he made tours of several countries of the continent.

Back in Buenos Aires, in 1972, along with Raúl Iriarte, they cut a long-playing record as guests artists of the Miguel Caló Orchestra. He recorded "Tres esperanzas", "Mis flores negras" and "Todos vuelven". Unfortunately, those will be the leader's last recordings because Caló died of a heart attack soon afterwards.

He also left several works as author and composer, some of them committed to record: "Mil veces feliz" (composed by Oscar Kinleiner), recorded by him accompanied by Jorge Dragone's orchestra; and "Versos para mi madre" (in collaboration with Alfredo De Angelis and Alejandro Mariscotti), recorded by Alfredo De Angelis, sung by Carlos Aguirre and Alberto Cuello teaming up as duo. Other compositions of his were: "Buenos Aires lejano", "Fuente de mis recuerdos", "Lágrimas de hombre", "Sin chance" (lyrics by Raúl Gramajo), "En lo de Tota" (lyrics by Enrique Dizeo), "Silencio Medellín" (music by Jorge Dragone), "Por más lejos que estés" (music by Aquiles Roggero), "Fue en diciembre" and "Historia de un viejo rosal" (both composed by José Canet), among others.

Little by little, the singer's appearances are becoming less frequent, nevertheless he recorded a long-playing disc for the Magenta label. He died young, at age 63, in his beloved Buenos Aires.