Raúl Deval, interview to a singer of the tough times
e met the singer on May 29, 2014 and we held the following conversation:
N.P.: How did you start in singing and in tango?
R.D.: Like everybody, I think… as a boy, watching my father play guitar, singing some tango tune and knowing many singers and actors, friends of his, because he was in the show business milieu. He was a movie actor in minor roles, not precisely as singer. He was also Raúl Deval, I kept his stage name. My godfather was Roberto Escalada (Note: a well-known Argentine movie actor, now dead). I started at age twenty. For a long time my old man had been encouraging me, but I dared not to. When he passed away, then I made up my mind. At a venue I met Carlos Acuña and told him who I was, he much esteemed my Dad and was happy that I liked to sing. He gave me his card and told me that I should see Eduardo Bonessi, who had his studio on Bartolomé Mitre and Paraná…
N.P.: What did he advise you?
R.D.: Firstly he asked me about what I liked. I then was with the new wave, Palito Ortega and the others. He auditioned me and soon he told me: “No, your thing is tango, forget about the other stuff”. I began to vocalize and to do all he was saying to me.
N.P.: When did the first appearances occur?
R.D.: I got in touch with Domingo Marafioti and with him, little by little, a songbook was built. He told me I had good ear, good will and so some appearances at the Café Tortoni, later at the El Rancho de Ochoa, El Farol, Burbujas and several others came. All the routine of that time in the Federal Capital followed. That took place in the mid- 1970s.
N.P.: Those were your beginnings, did you already have a model?
R.D.: Yes, Carlos Gardel…
N.P.: Put Gardel aside. Gardel is for listening and for trying to solve the difficulties you may have…
R.D.: That’s true. Floreal Ruiz, Alfredo Belusi, listening to the Aníbal Troilo orchestra and Charlo… I recorded one of his tangos, “Sin lágrimas”, a difficult piece, to emulate him is impossible.
N.P.: What about recordings?
R.D.: A friend of mine owned a studio and one Sunday morning he invited me to visit it with my guitar. So it was. I recorded some excerpts and I cut “Pedacito de cielo” completely. But that was all… One week later Lionel Godoy (Note: a radio speaker and tango broadcaster) phoned me to tell me he had listened to it and was interested in playing it on the radio and to talk with me in his traditional program. There was a nice talk, the waltz was played and Víctor D’Amario, who was in one of the studios heard it and asked me to record it with him. He had four tangos and there he decided that I would be the singer.
N.P.: I recorded 4 tracks with D’Amario in 1989: “Por eso tango”, “Uno somos vos y yo”, “Callecita triste”, “Lo llamaban el paisano” (by Nito Farace and Edelmiro D’Amario).
R.D.: Thereafter, accompanied by his orchestra, in the old style, a large group with ten players, I think, we had several appearances. For example, in La Plata. And he was unable to make true one of his dreams: putting together the Orquesta Provincial del Tango. As in the Capital the Orquesta Nacional del Tango was, he tried to form a similar ensemble for the province, but that project never was accomplished.
N.P.: On some occasion you said that you had not an obsession to be in the milieu. Wasn’t there any other chance for you to join an orchestra?
R.D.: No, for a long time tango had already declined in the interest of the public, there were no orchestras, save for a trio or a quartet. But I always took advantage of the occasions that appeared, then as soloist with guitars. I appeared on television programs, on almost all the air channels, I also accepted invitations to radio programs and several traditional venues of that period.
N.P.: Always here in the country or did you make tours?
R.D.: Oh, I’ve almost forgotten. It was around 1978 or 1979, I was working in an enterprise, besides my gigs as singer, but the factory was closed. I had no engagements, but as I had a cousin in Germany, I went there. As I always carried my guitar, somebody heard me and there was another who knew one who owned a music venue, so I sang and later I did it in other places. It was a nice experience. Thereafter there was another trip, longer. Firstly, to Brazil, Copacabana. Also it was an opportunity, at a local I sang “El día que me quieras” and they liked it. There were many foreign tourists and they asked for tango. They suggested me to stay for a week, but it turned out a month. I passed by Mexico and it happened the same thing, I sang in several places of the Distrito Federal. I missed my land and came back to never return again, like the lyric of some tango says. I got married, other occupations came, I put aside my passion due to a health problem in the family and, after some years, again, I resumed my vocal training and I’m ready again to appear wherever is possible.
N.P.: Is there anything you remember to add as conclusion?
R.D.: When I was four years old, for some family gathering, my old man dressed me as Gardelito, trouser and coat, tie, neckerchief and little hat. He made me climb on a table and told me: sing!
N.P.: He also recorded with guitar accompaniment and backed by the Jorge Dragone orchestra, a non-commercial edition: “La última copa”, “Soledad”, “Qué tango hay que cantar”, “Amigos que yo quiero”, “Como dos extraños”, “El último round”, “La última curda”, “La última”, “Nostalgias”, “Por la vuelta”, “Romance de barrio”, “Sin lágrimas”. With Miguel Palermo on guitar: “Amigos que yo quiero”, “Caserón de tejas”, “Mano cruel”, “Viejo ciego”, “Toda mi vida”, “El último farol”, “Cuando tú no estás”, “Te llaman malevo”, “Ventanita de arrabal”, “Las cuarenta”.