Héctor Lorenzo Lucci

Electra Records (1923-1930)

on Alfredo Améndola never ceased in his stubborn decision of releasing phonograph discs after the war was over. So much so that from 1918 to 1920, together with Saverio Leonetti, he released the Telephone records, a trademark filed in Buenos Aires by Améndola and that manufactured in Porto Alegre recordings (some of them cut in Buenos Aires in 1915) such as: Augusto Gentile (piano solo), the quintet led by Augusto Berto, the Francisco Canaro orchestra, the one fronted by Genaro Espósito, by Juan Maglio, by Manuel Pizarro, by Astor Bolognini and by so many others.

The general agent of the enterprise was Alfredo Améndola, and its headquarters were on 707 Perú Street. It was called Casa Electra. Between 1921 and 1923 it launched the discs: Criollo, Ideal, Aurora, Popular and Electra itself.

Nearly all the artists —until the mid- 1924— were sent to Brazil to cut the “waxes” and, there, the factory Fábrica Phonográfica União —run by Saverio Leonetti—, pressed the discs that belonged to a merger they named Sociedad Fonográfica Argentina Buenos Aires.

On 51 Loria Street, Améndola made the first attempt of manufacturing discs completely in the country. For that purpose he sent some specialized workers and their families from Brazil. They would be the ones in charge of making the first Electra record.

The partnership was dissolved and Améndola founded the Fonográfica Argentina and became its sole owner as from 1925. Up to that year the artists that recorded those discs —which can be regarded as of historical importance— were the following: La Rondalla Breton, the Orquesta Típica La Unión (led by Juan Caldarella), the Orquesta Típica Luis Martín, the Típica led by Alpidio Fernández, the Orquesta Regional of Andrés Chazarreta, the Típica Cobián, the América Jazz Band of Eleuterio Iribarren, the orchestras of José Servidio, Francisco Pracánico, Tanturi-Petrone, Jazz Band Carabelli and the singers Carlos Dante, Charlo, Iris Marga, Sofía Bozán and Tomás Simari (humorist).

The company, in 1926, built an important facility for manufacturing the Electra discs on 1380 Sarandí Street. The recordings are now made through microphones, it is the electric era. The administration office was on 2001 Humberto Primero Street. The art directors of this last stage were Juan Rodríguez (El Zorzal Uruguayo), later Francisco Pracánico and, finally, Atilio Améndola, Alfredo’s son. The latter was responsible for all the recordings of the first period of the Juan D'Arienzo orchestra.

From 1925 to 1929 the recording engineer and responsible for the maintenance and improvement of the equipment was «El Vasco» Alfredo Murúa, pioneer in adding sound to Argentine movies. At the beginning it was made with discs and later with a photographic system as soundtrack. Murúa was later the owner of the Estudios Cinematográficos Argentinos (SIDE).

The Fonográfica Argentina ceased its recording activity in 1930 when the storm brought by the crisis spread worldwide and made all commercial engagements a difficult task. Alfredo Améndola died in 1932, at age 58. He lived and worked for the record industry all his life. The record collectors are very much obliged to him.