Pioneers of our national recorded history
ven though those who have stood out most in the early period were male artists, the women who committed to record their interpretations were not few. As a nod towards them we shall take a glimpse to their activities before 1910 in which we find them singing European songs, local airs and even tangos which were used as music pieces in theatre plays.
About them we shall mention up to three recordings, highlighting that some of them were Spanish artists passing by our city. We shall only refer to recordings on disc because those made on cylinders are not our specialty.
The first label that picked up the so-called “repertorio criollo”, that is to say the one based on local subjects and preferably by national artists, was Royal Record whose records began to be released in August 1902.
In it we find the soprano singer Amalia Colón:
* “Los pilletes” (from “Los políticos”) by Antonio Reynoso and Nemesio Trejo, face 11.150 (possibly a duo with Arsenio Perdiguero);
* “Sobre las olas” (waltz) by Juventino Rosas, face 11.120;
* “El mantón de Manila” (from “La verbena de la paloma”) by Tomás Bretón and Ricardo de la Vega, face 11.153;
“Los pilletes” is peculiarly interesting because it would be one of the first examples of a female singer approaching the tango genre. Such hypothesis springs up because the recording of this same excerpt by Los Gobbi for Columbia (matrix 55.837-1, disc T 449, year 1911) evidences that it consists of a dialogue with jargon of the outskirts followed by a vocal rendition of a tango air. Finally it is worthwhile mentioning that these Royal Record releases were in fact discs made by the Zonophone label.
We also find another soprano singer named Eloísa Ceballos who recorded a European repertoire:
* “Los diamantes de la corona” (romanza) by Francisco Asenjo Barbieri, face 11.406;
* “Racconto [b]” (from “La leyenda del monje”) by Ruperto Chapí, face 11.404;
* “Los paraguas” (from “De Madrid a París”) by Federico Chueca and Joaquín Valverde, face 11.157.
Finally a third soprano, Emilia Colas, also with a repertoire from the Spanish peninsula:
* “El anillo de hierro” (romanza) by Pedro Miguel Marques, face 11.146;
* “Salida de Martha” (from “Los magyares”) by Joaquín Gaztambide, face 11.145;
* “Jura de la bandera” (from “El tambor de granaderos”) by Ruperto Chapí, face 11.154.
We now switch to the Zonofono label in 1905 and we find three female singers. One of them was Andrée Vivianne who recorded:
* “La camarera” from “Pica pica” by Antonio Reynoso and Enrique Demaría, face 13.709, matrix A 150;
* “Justicia criolla [b]” by Antonio Reynoso and Ezequiel Soria, face 13.705, matrix A 145, with piano;
* “El beso [b]” (vidalita), face 13.351, matrix A 241, with piano.
Another artist was Lola Contreras who recorded displaying her accent from Madrid in a duet with Ángel Villoldo:
* “Criollo falsificado” (tango and dialogue) by Ángel Villoldo, face 13.403, matrix A 281, with piano;
* “Dúo de Epifanía y Pelao” (from “Casos y Cosas”), tango by Ulises Favaro and Varzi, face 13.751, matrix A 278, with piano;
* “La camarera y el compadrito” by Enrique García Lalanne and Nemesio Trejo, face 13.407, matrix A 326.
Finally, in this label let us remember Lola García who also recorded teaming up with Ángel Villoldo as a duo:
* “Dúo de Quintín y Manuela” (from “Pica-pica”) by Antonio Reynoso and Enrique Demaría, face 13.391, matrix A 99;
* “Mi nena” by Ángel Villoldo, face 13.484, unknown matrix;
* “Los políticos” by Antonio Reynoso and Nemesio Trejo, face 13.389, matrix A 95.
We may add that at that time the fact that the duo referred to two male characters was not an obstacle for the inclusion of women.
In 1906 we find Flora Hortensia Rodríguez de Gobbi in Victor recordings made in the USA:
* “El porteñito” (tango), face 3.259, matrix B 3.555-1, July 23, 1906, with orchestra;
* “La morocha” (tango), 1 face 3.181 reissued in 62.241-B, matrix B 3.721-1, August 3, 1906, with piano;
* “La tejedora de Ñanduty” by Victoriano Montes, 1 face 3.186 reissued in 62.242-B, matrix B 3.734-1, August 4, 1906, with piano.
In 1907 the Odeon company appears with two-side discs with an almost absolute predominance of local themes. We find the following ladies:
* “El indiano” (estilo) by Antonio Reynoso, face 41.612, matrix XBA 133;
* “El porteñito” (tango), face 41.752, matrix XBA 320, with orchestra and words adapted to a woman;
* “Gobierno gaucho” (cifra), face 41.793, matrix XBA 387, with orchestra.
* “El pilluza” by Antonio Lozzi, Ulises Favaro and Varzi, face 41.746, matrix XBA 314;
* “Bolada carnavalesca”, face 41.860, matrix XBA 500, in a duo with Fausto Mendoza;
* “La morocha” (tango), face 41.744, unknown matrix.
* “La esquila” (romanza) by Antonio Reynoso, face 41.809, matrix XBA 404, with piano by the composer;
* “Los amigos” (estilo) by Antonio Reynoso, matrix 41.810, matrix XBA 405, with piano by the composer;
* “La beata” by Antonio Podestá and Ezequiel Soria, face 41.811, matrix XBA 406, in a duo with Mr. Podestá and piano played by Antonio Reynoso.
* “Amor olvidado” (vidalita), face 41.842, matrix XBA 449;
* “El pilluza” by Antonio Lozzi, Ulises Favaro and Varzi, face 41.775, matrix XBA 356;
* “La morocha” (tango), face 41.814, matrix XBA 409.
Sta. Vidal and Hermanas Borda:
* “Las floristas” (from “Revista Nacional”) by Enrique Cheli and Enrique Buttaro, face 41.803, matrix XBA 398.
The following sextet is an interesting case:
* “Revista nacional” by Enrique Cheli and Enrique Buttaro, face 41.800, unknown matrix, sung by Blanca Vidal, Stas. Borda, Sres. Podestá and Arturo Navas.
Switching to the curious Marconi flexible discs also in 1907, some of them reissued by the Columbia label series T after 1910, we find again Flora Hortensia Rodríguez de Gobbi:
* “La morocha” (tango), matrix 8.997-1 with orchestra, reissued in Columbia T 50;
* “Vidalitas” by Ángel Villoldo, with orchestra, matrix 8.988;
* “La piedra del escándalo” (estilo) by Antonio Podestá, matrix 9.001, reissued in Columbia T 47.
Finally, let us review some of the recordings for the Gath & Chaves label made by Flora Gobbi in Paris (circa 1908):
* “El mate [b]” (song) by Antonio Reynoso and Enrique Demaría, matrix 4.903, with orchestra;
* “La gaviota” (estilo) by Eloísa D'Herbil de Silva and Nicolás Granada, matrix 4.506, with piano;
* “Minguito [b]” (tango) by Jaquet and Alfredo Gobbi, matrix 4.865, with orchestra.
So here we have an interesting panorama of the female singers’ work in the dawn of our recorded history of which we have only seen a handful of examples according to the length of this article.