Peregrino Paulos

Real name: Paulos, Peregrino
Violinist, bandleader and composer
(1889 - 21 November 1921)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Néstor Pinsón

t’s been a long, long time since his death. But why researchers had not been more interested in his career? About Paulos very little is known. In the media we checked only a few words we found but there is almost no difference among them. Possibly the lack of interest for his oeuvre is simply due to the fact that he did not draw people’s attention either as musician or as a composer and that his two outstanding tangos became popular after his death.

In this article we try, though modestly, to recover some contributions about his figure made by collectors and historians.

The book written by Héctor and Luis BatesLa historia del tango—, published in 1936, presents, after an interesting historical introduction, criticized by many but read and consulted by everybody, a series of transcriptions of radio interviews to the figures of the time and to those of days gone by, still alive. Paulos was not there then, but even though a chat did not take place, they wrote a very poor note transcribing some pieces of very well-known information and the rest are empty words. I mention this, not to speak badly of the authors, but taking into account that only fifteen years after his demise people knew very little about the composer of “Inspiración”, which by then, already was a tango with a widespread airing.

In the Antología del Tango Rioplatense, of the Instituto de Musicología Carlos Vega, an eighth of a column is the space occupied to mention some of his compositions and to inform that Greek were the origins of his family.

In the interesting work written by Oscar del Priore and Irene Amuchástegui Cien tangos fundamentales, he turns out to be the son of a Spanish musician with the same name and of a Danish woman.

His two brothers were musicians too; Roque Paulos that played the same instrument and Niels Paulos (Argentinized as Nelson Jorge), pianist. Peregrino joined the group led by Augusto Berto, with Horacio Gomila and Domingo Fortunato on piano. The latter was replaced later by Niels.

In the abovementioned book, the authors locate as a place of appearance, among others, the café on Avenida de Mayo 899 and they say that they were the ones who premiered “6ª del R. 2”, so entitled on Niels’ request who wished to pay homage to his buddies in the military service. Only in 1922 when Firpo committed it to disc it had its definitive title: “Inspiración”.

Del Priore and Amuchástegui transcribed an excerpt of the interview made to Niels for the Ocurrió magazine published on February 13, 1965. There it says: «He was good-looking, with light color eyes and curly hair, thin aquiline nose, he was tall and stout. He was in hospital for a long time. He suffered very much, poor guy, and he did not deserve it. He was quite tender and a good man.»

After Firpo this tango piece was forgotten. Until Maffia, in 1929 with Pugliese and Vardaro as members of his group, included it in his repertory. He recorded it soon thereafter for Brunswick.

In 1931, for the same label and already with lyric by Luis Rubistein, Agustín Magaldi recorded it. Soon later Alberto Gómez with Adolfo Carabelli and Libertad Lamarque did it. Much later came a large number of recordings until it became the classic known by everybody.

Also “El distinguido ciudadano” had a wide recognition. It was recorded by Di Sarli in 1946 and in June 1952. This was the title tune composed for the theatrical comedy written by José Saldías and Raúl Casariego.

As a a curiosity, it turns out interesting an interview to Manuel Pizarro in which the famous bandleader doubts that Peregrino is the composer: «Soon later, I joined a quartet that included Tito Roccatagliata, Ernesto Ponzio and the pianist Nelson Paulos (his name was Niels Jorge Paulos, Peregrino Paulos’s youngest brother). Nelson, even though he was almost a kid, he composed with much facility pretty things such as “El distinguido ciudadano” or “Inspiración”. As he was so young he did not care about it. Because of that his brother signed them».

Other titles of his compositions: “L'abbayé” (The Abbey), dedicated to the cabaret with the same name located on Esmeralda between Lavalle and Tucumán; “Balconeando”, “El loro”, “El temporal”, “Golondrina”, “Lamentos de un criollo”, “La murga” and “Tomasito”.

In some of the articles, there are doubts about the existence of a group led by him and, even more, that he would have reached the recording studios.

A few years ago, the researcher and collector Bruno Cespi told me about a casual discovery that -due to this note-, he explained to me in detail.

For a long time he had been intrigued by four of his discs, then eight recordings, with the record label of the ERA company, below the titles there was no name of a player. It was a small outfit he had put together in the late 10s. But one day handling the pages of the old magazine Caras y Caretas —or maybe it was Fray Mocho—, he stopped before the long advertisement of the records just released for sale. There he found those eight titles, the matrix numbers coincided and at the bottom of each title: Orquesta P. Paulos.

The numbers are: “De mi tierra”, by Juan de Dios Filiberto; “La polla”, by Francisco Canaro; “Hasta después de muerta”, by Ricardo González; “El batacazo”, by Manuel Pizarro; “Lamento de un criollo”, written by Paulos himself; “Ausencia”, a waltz written by Teisseire; “La biblioteca” and the waltz “Penas de amor”, both by Augusto Berto.