Abel Palermo

on of Nicolás and María Rosa Sorrentino, he was born in the neighborhood of Balvanera, near the Spinetto market, in the city of Buenos Aires. His older brother Roberto, was one of the most important singers of Francisco Canaro.

At age sixteen Antonio made his debut in a juvenile orchestra, at the Café Germinal, later switching to the group led by Juan Maglio (Pacho). In 1931 he appeared on Radio Cultura accompanied by an outfit headed by the young pianist Orlando Goñi.

In the early 1934, he was summoned by maestro Edgardo Donato to replace the vocalist Félix Gutiérrez and made his debut on record for the RCA-Victor company on January 9 that year with the tango written by Vicente Vilardi, Alberto Maraviglia and Leopoldo Amoroso “Esto es el colmo”.

Donato was creator of a different style, adding other beats to his tango repertory, such as rancheras, pasodobles, foxtrots. A trend that later Enrique Rodríguez would successfully carry out. Examples of this are the recordings of his orchestra with Maida between 1934 and 1935. Among them we find the rancheras “Abandonada”, “Pa’ semejante candil”, “Ensalada mixta”, “De ande yerba”, the pasodoble “Noches sevillanas” and the one which would become an important hit: “Sandía calada”. Also in duo with Randona, violinist of the orchestra, the tangos “Ruego”, “Riachuelo”, theme of the motion picture with the same name and “Quién más, quién menos”. They recorded a total of 24 numbers.

During the two years of his tenure in the Donato’s orchestra, the numbers most requested by the public were: “El huracán”, nicely performed by Antonio, “Berretín” and the milonga “Corrales viejos”. In 1935 the young Hugo Del Carril was his fellow vocalist, who as well made his debut on record with this aggregation.

As from 1936, Maida would begin a long stage as soloist singer, always accompanied by guitar groups, on Radio Belgrano and at different venues. His guitarists were Pascual Avena, Enrique Toto and Alberto Adolfo. Furthermore, he premiered “Media noche” and a piece by the same authors, “Claro de luna”.

In the early forties, with the growth of the tango orchestras and their singers, there is a decline in the appearances of the so-called national singers, the soloists.

In 1944, he was summoned by the orchestra leader Ricardo Malerba to join his aggregation. And he recorded again “Media noche”, which since 1936 had been his letter of introduction and which Pichuco, his composer, never recorded commercially. Due to the boom of this rendition, the tango was included in the charts of different orchestras —the rendering of Alberto Morán with Pugliese is a standout—, however Morán only recorded it as soloist in 1955, accompanied by the orchestra conducted by the excellent pianist Armando Cupo.

Other numbers he recorded alongside Malerba were: “Encuentro”, “Una copa más”, “Pasado florido” and “Siglo veinte”. In the late 1946 he split with Malerba, he went on as soloist and reappeared on Radio Belgrano accompanied by the staff guitarists of the radio station: Antonio Ciaccio, Héctor Davis and the young Ubaldo De Lío.

His appearances at the shows on Corrientes Street were very frequent. He was at Tango Bar, El Nacional, La Armonía, at the cabarets Maipú Pigall, Marabú, among others. In 1948, he appeared in the movie directed by Manuel Romero, La Rubia Mireya, whose leading roles were played by Mecha Ortiz and Roberto Escalada. In the film Maida sings the tango “Tiempos viejos”.

Before his retirement he appeared on an important radio cycle on Radio Belgrano, alongside his great friend Roberto Flores (El Chato) and the female singer Rosita Lavalle.

As from 1958, he was appointed art advisor of LS6 Radio del Pueblo and in February 1959, general director of the radio station.

During that time one of the periods of largest airplay for tango took place. A great portion of the daily programs were filled with soloists, outfits and tango orchestras and, on weekends, were featured stars of the level of Edmundo Rivero, Alberto Marino, Julio Sosa, Roberto Rufino, Carlos Fontán (El Duende) and Aníbal Troilo with his quartet which included Roberto Grela, Edmundo Zaldívar and Rafael del Bagno.

Antonio Maida was humble and possessed an immense sense of friendship. His office always had its doors open to the artists of our popular music.

On May 3, 1963 on 952 Uruguay Street he opened, together with his friends Atilio Stampone, Reynaldo Martino and Vicente Fiaschi, the most important tango venue of the decade, -later it moved to Talcahuano 975-, the historical and unforgettable Caño 14. There we were lucky to enjoy listening to Troilo with his quartet, Edmundo Rivero, Roberto Rufino, Enrique Mario Francini, Héctor Stamponi, Leopoldo Federico, Roberto Grela, Polaco Goyeneche and so many others.

Maida passed away in Buenos Aires at age 71. He left for us the memory of his honesty and his cult for friendship.