Julio Nudler

is four grandparents were Russian, his parents were Argentine and their names were Gregorio and Clara. Gregorio —was born in 1910 and died in 1961 in a route accident— was devoted first to dental mechanics and later to dentistry in Humahuaca where he worked in this profession despite he lacked a degree as graduate. When he returned to Buenos Aires and married Clara, in 1938 he installed his first drugstore in the neighborhood of Versailles. It was during the time when they had their second drugstore, in La Boca, when the future singer was born.

For years the Pikers were moving from neighborhood to neighborhood and increasing their fortune, until from a pharmacy on Arenales and Libertad they switched to another on La Plata Avenue and Pavón. In that modest quarter, while the family economy declined, Guillermo had true friends and his first girlfriend. But that did not last long either. From there they moved to Núñez, always changing drugstore, this time to Cabildo and Paroissien, and later to Mar del Plata, where they bought the Los Troncos hotel instead. It was by the sea where Guillermo began his singer's career.

While he helped to paint the rooms of the hotel, he sang tangos. The painter offered him then to introduce him to the pianist Luis Savastano that led a tango orchestra. With him he made his debut at the Mviera hotel singing the bolero “Escándalo” in tango beat one night when the great figure of the show was Edmundo Rivero with his guitarists. That period lasted until the Pikers returned to the Núñez's pharmacy, and soon thereafter Gregorio died when traveling to Mar del Plata to cash some documents for the sale of the hotel. Guillermo was then 15 years old.

He came to know Roberto Goyeneche at the Cristal barroom on Cabildo and Republiquetas but El Polaco did not like his way of singing. Anyhow they ended up being neighborhood friends, besides some nebulizations that he carried out at Goyeneche's home. Not even a domestic recognition had achieved Guillermo since his brother Coco (Jorge Eduardo), seven years older, was regarded as the singer of the family.

He then met the pianist José Colángelo, with whom he checked songs of his repertoire to find the tangos that best fit with his voice range. This ended in Guillermo's debut with the Colángelo's orchestra in the big auditorium of the Centro Cultural San Martín, in 1975, singing “Rebeldía”, “Pequeña”, “La última curda”, “Naranjo en flor”. He later continued in Malena al Sur, a San Telmo venue, already as staff singer, while he run three pharmacies.

In 1977, he began at El Viejo Almacén with Carlos Figari's orchestra for a two-year tenure. Julio Ahumada was the lead bandoneon. At that time the Clarín daily paper awarded him as the revelation of the period. He started on television, in Buenas Noches Tango, on Channel 11 and in Grandes Valores, on Channel 9. He sang also at El Viejo Almacén with Horacio Salgán's septet (with Ubaldo De Lío, Leo Lipesker, Julio Pane, Ariel Pedernera on bass). By that time he also made a couple of tours throughout the interior of the country with the trio comprised by Leopoldo Federico, Orlando Trípodi and Horacio Cabarcos (later Rafael Del Bagno).

After that stage, Guillermo generally appeared as soloist, accompanied by Osvaldo Berlingieri, with Néstor Marconi, with Domingo Moles, with Ernesto Baffa, with Osvaldo Tarantino. With the latter in 1979, he cut his first disc that included several pieces by Tarantino and Juanca Tavera (“Vamos todavía”, “Mordiendo el puño”, “Qué me querés vender”, “La última esquina”) within a repertoire devoted to new tangos like “Cordón” or “El corazón al sur”.

By the time of the second disc, recorded in 1984 with Colángelo, Guillermo had become noticeably Troilean, performing "La última curda", his signature tune, and also including "Desencuentro" and "A Homero", among others. Although he liked several singers like Jorge Casal, Alberto Marino, Jorge Durán, Rodolfo Lesica, Jorge Valdez, his model was Goyeneche. His idol had been Néstor Fabián, a reference of tango in the era of the Club del Clan.

In 1981, he had appeared with Salgán in Bolivia. In 1982, he had a two-month tenure at the Trottoires de Buenos Aires, a Parisian venue now disappeared. In 1983, he sang for two months in the Club Argentino of Los Angeles. He appeared with Ernesto Baffa, with the Sexteto Mayor, he appeared on television, made tours of Miami, performed on some Mexican beach, singing mainly for Argentine public. From time to time he reappears in Buenos Aires.

In his Mar del Plata beginnings he had chosen the sobriquet Guillermo Gales. This implied to discard his first name, Marcos, and his true family name, although in compensation for years he hung a Star of David from his neck. But soon he had to change even his nom de plume, because there was already a female tango singer called Paula Gales. Finally he found Galvé when reading a sports chronicle: it was the last name of a soccer referee. Much later he knew that an aunt of the latter had already given origin to the actress's alias Elisa Cristian Galvé. Whether Gales or Galvé, his commercial life was favored by this different name of the artist: nobody trusts a check signed by a tango singer.

Extracted from the book , Tango Judío, del Ghetto a la Milonga, Editorial Sudamericana, 1998.