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Feliciano Brunelli: illusion of my life

One of the greatest Argentine popular musicians today forgotten. With his Orchestra Characteristic, he joiced generations and twinned music without frontiers.

Feliciano Brunelli

Whoever visits the headquarters of the RCA Victor at Rockefeller Center will find a walk of fame with the stamp figures over the past 100 years, including Arturo Toscanini, Elvis Presley, Diana Ross and Britney Spears . But surely in the heart of New York a winning smile, well Argentinean, that stands out among the luminaires that built the prestigious record label worldwide. Thousands and thousands of albums sold placed Feliciano Brunelli among his greatest artists, the Magician of the Accordion who made a Continent dance.   Today few remember his almost 25 years in the  prime time of the powerful Radio Belgrano by Jaime Yankevich, or that his 1933 classic with the Criollo Quartet, the waltz “Illusion of my life”, was so immense that the author remembers “having lived ten years with perceived rights and rdquo; In the Era of Typical Orchestras was a fixed playing in tandem with his friend  Aníbal Troilo , with whom he shared the Quartet of 900 with Elvino Vardaro, the chosen violinist by Ástor Piazzolla to revolutionize tango in the early sixties. Pichuco knew that the two orchestras together in the forties were unstoppable.  And they were mainly with the irresistible rhythm of the Brunelli Characteristic Orchestra, which would be the germ of the santafesina cumbia and the quartet. Such a cultural legacy deserves much more than a street in his hometown in Santa Fe, Rafaela. Buenos Aires who catapulted him to stardom, and worshiped him for thirty years, still does not recognize Argentina's Major Accordion.  

Born circumstantially in Marseille, France, on 7 February 1903, from a birthplace of Italian  luthiers  ; in 1905 above almost completed the family to Rafaela, including relatives. Feliciano began his piano studies with Professor Luis Ricci but his hands were better off with the accordion buttons made by his father Juan. Already there stands out an absolute ear that will be another tool for this multiinstrumentalist and composer. In the mid-twenties he earned some pesos as a pianist in the cinemas of Santa Fe, and he made his first tours in a tent that also served as a campaign church. Participate in some orchestral formations of his village, including Miguel Cetta, although on the advice of his father he changes the piano for the accordion, “Look, while piano can be your instrument of the future because you are a scholar and good performer, the accordion can become your bread”  This change would be fundamental not only in his career but for all Argentine music, which with Brunelli's success with the accordion in front would take his example in future popular groups, including the Tropical genre.  

His skills draw the attention of Odeón, the seal of Carlos Gardel, in 1928 and there he records the tangos “Por mal camino”, “Slave rich”, “El gran triumph”, “Aquel palquito” and “Beware con la morocha”, all of his authorship, and that included perhaps by u ; only the accordion in this genre. A few years later he meets Vardaro, with whom he settles definitively in Buenos Aires, and starts recording assiduously because of the success of those 78 rpm discs, which are a friendly curtain for a decade hard as the thirties.  Rancheras, polcas, waltzes, tarantelas and even shimmy, close to jazz-style, are followed in recordings of the RCA, the label that will remain Brunelli until the mid-sixties . This fruitful relationship starts with the left foot, because it was presented to the hearing with the accordion in toests, at a time that the instrument was almost unknown in the middle. He was rejected. Nastidiado started in the hallway with a jacket song that caught the attention of employees and, in the end, of the directors in the studios of Suipacha Street. The next day, September 9, 1933, he recorded with the quartet four songs of his authorship, the waltzes “Ilusión de mi vida” and “Sueño mio”, the ranchera “La enana”, and the tango “En la vía y bien varao”  In that corridor began to be created legend that would result in the debut on May 12, 1936 of Feliciano Brunelli's  Characteristic Orchestra  with “Gypsy Love”, which was used until tiredness in the remembered radio program Glostora Tango Club, and the “Charming” waltz, one of his milestones in dances.  Towards a more international sound incorporates the famous chorus, leaving aside the instrumental feature of the years of learning, those who only sang the most catchy stanzas, and expands with the accordion on the baton, and supported by a pair of accordions, piano, flute, trumpet, clarinet, drums, double bass and guitar. Oscar Veleta and Alejandro Radamés put their voices to simple ones that sail from rumba, and the Mexican corrido, to chamamé and, the much-requested, pasodobles “During these long and long dances... the sleepy appearance of certain spectators can always be observed in their afterwards, the sleepy appearance of certain spectators and even of the same dancers. But break the Feature with a stepdoble and the eyes are cleared by charm... injecting us again good mood and joy.  The pasodoble is very necessary for us to act in a way of contrast with our melodious and sleepy tango,” Francisco Comas confessed to Sergio Pujol, in an invisible line of a rhythm of great freedom of movement, and repetitive base, that reaches contemporary cumbia.  

There were no musical boundaries for Brunelli, who could move immigrant and Creole alike, urban feeling and campero memory on the same track. The waltzes “Loca de amor” and “Frou Frou”, Homero Manzi's theme that had popularized Libertad Lamarque, are the hits of an orchestra that became popular in the most popular broadcasting since its debut on Radio Splendid.  Later the dancers Geniol on Radio Belgrano, in the company of Francisco Canaro, had such repercussions that there were special functions at Luna Park. Brunelli soon understood the penetration power of radio, and in an unprecedented synergy, he pushed his live performances from agricultural societies to the dancers of Palermo.  

The following decades will be those of absolute dominance in the cultural industry in its entirety, and Brunelli's Characteristic will be the most selling record in and outside the country, far away its numbers left to the Typical Orchestras, and even competitors like Enrique's orchestra Rodríguez or the set Los Cuatros Accordions.

 Brunelli's golden years or we're all going to dance 

 “ Feliciano Brunelli's orchestra reflected in his creations the joy, carelessness, innocence and also the cursilry and sentimentality of the time “In a forest of China”, “The alligator”, “Oh, Mr. Columbus” and “Zaz& aacute;” marked the border of picardy,” recalled Felix Moon  of the Empire of the Accordion Magician at the rise of Peronism, and the  barrage of the “little head” black”  to the heart of Buenos Aires.  Even the event of the Santafesino drives until well into the sixties an avidity for the study of the small verdulera and the accordion on piano, a seed that will infect future generations.  

Brunelli was a prolific author, with almost 800 recorded songs, who also surrounded himself by great popular composers such as Carlos Bahr, with a similar number of compositions in cheerful and festive tone. Together they released “El baión del Iara-Iará” (co-written with Brunelli's son Carlos), which is still heard the melody in Latin American football stadiums.  Another of Brunelli's great breakthrough hymns is recorded by Fernando Raymond on March 5, 1947, the fox trot of the Spanish “Mi vaca lechera”, and who had a second round of popularity when he sounded with the closing titles of the film”  Waiting for the Carroza”  in 1985 — and of course, as an Argentine father with children infants.  

“Felichín”, as they said in his beloved Rafaela, as we enter the fifties broadens the radius of action by adding popular music in the region, and incorporates bossa nova, bolero,  booggie  and tropical, without neglecting its sources that were the Italian cafe concert, the theatre Hispanic musical, traditional Latin American melodies and European polks.  The polka “Mi viejo viejo accordion” from 1955 was his homage to the instrument that marked his life and one of his enduring songs. Also his particular arrangement for “La cumparsita”, which both in 1949 and 1965 conquered the audience and the tracks.  

“It is impossible to list all the sites where it was presented. His style got acceptance throughout the country and his most outstanding successes were heard by radios permanently, to such an extent that it was impossible that at least refrain of lyrics were not learned. Children and teenagers incorporated them into everyday speech, either as a humorous note or a regular singing,” recalls Emilio J. Pichetti on  in the years where Roberto Morales was the lead singer (he recorded 162 songs with Brunelli), “  Those who were chiquilines in Forty, I guess we still remember that “fall, fall, you can't get up... ”, “The alligator goes, the alligator goes, goes to Barranquilla... “or that dairy cow that was not just a cow because it gave merengada milk. And a long time later, that of “They must be the gorillas, they must be”, in collaboration with Delfor, in his radio success at La Revista Dislocada”  

 Nothing else is behind the hairstyles of Jolly Land 

At the end of the 1950s, a big and treading monster is approaching: rock and roll. But nothing immutes Brunelli that incorporates into the Characteristic American rhythms, the  twist , or Afro-Cubans. These winds of change reduce the formations, as do the Typical tangueras that pass to quintets or duos, in tune with television demands, and returns to the campero genres of its beginnings with modern German  Honner  accordions, made to measure . He even returns to record “Barrilito de beer” from 1941, “Cancha de Rueda” of 1930, or a new version of “Loca de amor” It is increasingly less required in Buenos Aires in the sixties but remains an indisputable in the Interior, especially in Santa Fe and Cordoba, where he establishes a new point of departure to explore villages and villages. In 1966 he recorded the latest performances, the “Rancherita gaucha” and “A ti madre”, a waltz he composed for mama Ardovina in 1930.  

 Brunelli's last presentation was a summer of Villa Gesell in 1966 before a ralo audience, the musician decided to retire convinced of the low support of his recorder, which in those years sustained the career of the epigons of the Clan Club, with Jolly Land, Palito Ortega and Raúl Lavi& eacute;, among others.   His last years served in person a  long play sales venue, cassettes, instruments and musical accessories on Rivadavia Avenue 2743 in the Balvanera neighborhood. There in person he tuned the accordions to the surprise of admirers, with his “fine ear” according to grandson Omar. He died on August 27, 1981 and his remains rest in the Chacarita cemetery.

“No one was left out of the Orchestras Characteristics, although the Correntinos prefer chamamé and the porteños tango”  The ecumenical spirit of Argentine music, melting pot of cultures and races, had in Feliciano Brunelli, the Owner of Alegría, his tireless doer by the Argentine routes  “The bailanta is party/They hired seven orchestras/Twenty lights were added to the hall” sings Cacho Castaña, or “Qe lindo tu bum bum boom bum/That you move your boom boom boom bum/You move your boom bum boom boom” of the Mona Jimenez, and thousands of milestones popular Argentineans, will dance eternally to the rhythm of the Accordion Wizard.

Sources: Saavedra, N .    Feliciano Brunelli, the Magician of the Accordion in All is History magazine No. 492 July 2008; Brunelli, S. “The Magician of the Accordion”  in Club de Tango magazine No. 24 April-May 1997; Risetti, R.  From heart to heart. Memories of the bolero in Argentina . Buenos Aires: Corregidor. 1996

Publication Date: 24/02/2021

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Los-Palmeras La cumbia santafecina, music with its own label
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