Enrique Sdrech

Interview to Oscar de la Fuente

y the third decade of the twentieth century a musical trio started to be well known. It used to play in the underground dancehalls but it was also requested by clubs and families for parties and reunions. The thing began in the neighborhood of Floresta and was spreading to Flores and Mataderos. Its members were the bandoneon player Miguel Indana, the guitarist Nicolás Vaccaro [b] (with the same name as the author of “Barajando”) and Oscar on violin. Tango prevailed but they also played waltzes, pasodobles and some fox-trots.

«My first instrument was the guitar. And it was due to a very simple reason, my mother admirably played that instrument. I was a child and that awakened in me a sort of passion, so much so that I had my early lessons at age four. When I was six, besides grade school, my father enrolled me in the Juana de Arco conservatory and advised me that I had to play the greatest attention to music reading. Still wearing short trousers, I chose to play violin. My mother preferred that I would have chosen guitar and my father, a wind instrument.

«When I was thirteen I entered the Conservatorio Municipal Manuel de Falla where Cátulo Castillo taught me music reading. Years later we met again, he was already famous because of his compositions and I was barging my way through music in orchestras which were quite fashionable and were led by excellent musicians.

«I was orchestrator and violinist in the orchestra led by Horacio Pettorossi and later I was immensely happy when I joined Juan Carlos Cobián. I conducted his orchestra on many occasions when it played a number I had arranged. In 1959 and 1960 I was with Rodolfo Biagi, thereafter with Juan Polito, Alfredo De Angelis, Salvador Grupillo and several more. I wrote charts for Antonio Bonavena, Félix Guillán, Roberto Caló, Antonio Arcieri and in 1955 Aníbal Troilo recorded “Intermezzo”, a tango I had composed. The latter is included in a long-playing record.

«The first two pieces in which I made my debut as arranger, when I was still a kid, were “La polla” and “París”. They later became two smash hits under other names: “Madreselva” and “Corazón de oro”. More than 50 years ago I joined the forgotten orchestra fronted by Julio Del Puerto. It was at the Primera Junta movie theater on Rosario Street, half a block from the subway station. Also many years ago I came to know a bandoneon player with whom I played at the Café Benigno. He was extremely successful and always was known as El Negro Eduardo.

«I accompanied a large number of singers. It is a long list: Jorge Casal, Antonio Maida, Aída Denis, Jorge Durán, Goyita Quiroz, Carlos Dante, Ricardo Ruiz, the vocalists in the Biagi orchestra when I was in that aggregation and many more. I worked at the Café Nacional —like almost everybody— and there I led the group, among them were Ricardo Pedevilla (bandoneon) and maestro Averbuj (piano). The singer was Carlos Almada and there also Aída Luz and Elena Lucena, who were just beginning, sang with me.
«As well I worked a lot in Uruguay but as a guitarist because a broken bone in my wrist forced me to change. At present I compose a little and I’m devoting myself to painting, I also write, I always get some lines off the ground».

Oscar de la Fuente composed several pieces, among them the ones best known are: “Mi alondra” recorded by Biagi; “Melodía para una novia”, with words by Lorenzo Spanu and sung by Armando Guerrico; “Tango soñador” recorded by the Trío Don Rodolfo with Hugo Duval on vocals, with music and lyrics by Oscar, and his most beautiful number, according to me, “Bailarina de tango”, recorded by Biagi and the Trío Don Rodolfo, both with Hugo Duval. When Manos Brujas died the Orquesta Símbolo «Rodolfo Biagi» was put together and he was the leader.

Note published in the Clarín newspaper.