Pilar Arcos

Real name: Pubillones, Pilar
(6 June 1893 - 10 January 1989)
Place of birth:
La Habana Cuba
Guadalupe Aballe

hey used to say that she had a nice voice, figure, pleasantness and charm. She was a ditty singer, but like others, included tangos in her songbook.

Pilar was born in La Habana (Cuba), and was daughter of one of the owners of the then popular Pubillones circus, known throughout the country.

Born to a family linked to art, Pilar had a good education. She studied music at the Conservatory of Madrid, graduating in sight-reading at age fifteen. Not much later, his father died and her family settled in New York.

In 1917 she married with Guillermo Arcos from whom Pilar adopted his family name. He was a guitar teacher and also an actor —whenever he had the chance— that had appeared at the movie Cuesta Abajo with Carlos Gardel.

In 1919 she made her debut as singer of the Spanish genre. So she started a successful career and cut many recordings for the Columbia and Victor record companies. She made tours of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico, sang teaming up with artists like Rodolfo Hoyos, José Moriche, Julita Comín, Carlos Mejía or Juan Mario Oliver. Her appearances on stages and radio stations are well remembered.

Fortunately, this vocalist released an interesting number of recordings with different repertoire: recordings of ditty songs, excerpts of zarzuelas, foxtrots, songs, waltzes and tangos. As examples we can mention the ditty song “La cocaína” (1927), the tangos “Mama yo quiero un novio” and “Mamita”, that she recorded in the United States with the Fresedo's orchestra (1930), “Sendero de amor”, the song of “Espinos de los Monteros” (on the other side of the Regal disc it has a number sung by Conchita Piquer), the foxtrot “El claxon” written by Ricardo García de Arellano.

She was aunt of the actress Luana Alcañiz, daughter of her sister Marina Pubillones. Luana, in an interview for the Spanish magazine Cinegramas made by the journalist Florentino Hernández Girbal in 1933, commented about the show business world that had always surrounded her family: «As you can see, I belong to a family of artists; there you have my parents appearing in the movies; my aunt Pilar Arcos, successful in America as singer; her husband Guillermo that plays guitar and also has dared to be starred in motion pictures, but he had a little role for the Fox which was cut in the definitive editing. And first, before all of us, was my grandfather Santiago, who with his brother founded the Circo Pubillones of Cuba, famous in all the countries of Latin America. Because of that, since an early age I was surrounded by an artistic milieu whose attraction I was not able to resist».

Pilar went to Spain in 1935 in order to further develop her career but when the Spanish Civil War broke out she returned to the United States. There she tried her luck in the movies but to no much success. She only appeared in secondary roles of Spanish speaking films. She died when she was over ninety in the city of Los Angeles.