Daniel Pedercini

Cordisco - Chatting with Alfredo Cordisco

small man, skinny and always smiling, with an extraordinary talent, Alfredo Cordisco is one of the last bandoneon players that belong to the great history of tango. Getting to know him when he is 95 years old meant for me simply pure pleasure not only because of his professional gifts but also due to the fact he is a person full of life and future.

«I was born in the Quinta Bollini today called Palermo Hollywood. In 1927, at age eleven, I studied piano with maestro Hércules Balsangiacomo until I graduated as professor. But I always liked bandoneon, for that reason, in 1932, I began to study bandoneon technique with maestro Alfredo De Franco.

«In 1933 I made my debut on Radio Porteña, which today is Radio Continental, with the José Rebolini orchestra.

«Between 1934 and 1939 I had a tenure with the Roberto Firpo orchestra. Then I realized my career was in the right path.

«Later one of my dreams in life came true: to join the orchestra of the one who had placed a hinge between the old trend and what was coming next. It was in 1939 when I joined the bandoneon section of the Julio De Caro’s aggregation and I stayed until 1944.

«And in 1945, another dream came true: being member of the Pedro Maffia orchestra. I remember several appearances with it at the old, historic Cabaret Tibidabo.

«In 1946, due to the restlessness which is one of my features, I joined the only orchestra fronted by a woman: Ebe Bedrune from Rosario. Thereafter in 1948 I switched to the orchestra led by Francisco Lomuto. My tenure was until the leader’s death in 1950, consequently the aggregation was dismembered. In it I met the singer Miguel Montero who was starting his career. We became close friends.

«In 1951 I joined the bandoneon section of the Rodolfo Biagi orchestra and, later, in 1952 I was member of the Gerónimo Bongioni’s Cuarteto Los Ases.

«Two years later I put together my own quartet. My intention was a revival of the old trend quartets so I named it Cuarteto de la Guardia Vieja. With this group I appeared on Radio Belgrano on several occasions. The members were: Carlos Hergot (piano), Alfredo Liguori and Luis Funes (violins) and I (bandoneon).

«I remember that in 1955, my friend Roberto Firpo, one of the first leaders who had faith in me, summoned me to play in several recordings with his quartet.

«After several years, in 1988, I was requested to join the Orquesta Símbolo Francisco Canaro —under the direction of Ricardo Francia— for appearances in Japan».

In 2004 he was honored by the Academia Nacional del Tango as Honorable Academician. Furthermore, he is one of the founding members of the Sociedad Argentina de Autores y Compositores (SADAIC) (Argentine Guild of Lyricists and Composers) and his number card 18 reveals that.

As composer, the following belong to him, among other pieces: “Rendido”, co-written with Alberto Leiva, recorded by the Alfredo De Angelis orchestra with Julio Martel on vocals, and the tangos “Por él” (with words by Carlos Jonsson) and “Yo soy de la vieja ola” (in collaboration with Alberto Castillo and Carlos Jonsson).

Don Alfredo Cordisco, and I place a “don” before his name with all the respect that such word implies. He is one of those characters that, surely, will live forever in my memory not only because of his artistry but also because of his humility and gentlemanliness.