Roberto Goyeneche

Roberto Goyeneche, “The Pole”, was born on January 29, 1926 in the Saavedra neighborhood, in a house located at Av. Ricardo Balbin 3050 (former Av. Del Tejar). Of Basque descent, he found his vocation for popular music at a very young age. Although he was a "singer" without academic training, he appeared in a voice competition at the Argentine Federal Club in 1944. He debuted on Radio Belgrano and recorded his first song, “Celedonio”, in 1948.


At the age of 18, with a baritone vocal range, he became part of Raúl Kaplún's orchestra, alternating this work with that of a bus driver on line 19. Later he would work as a taxi driver and also as a mechanic.


When introducing him to Horacio Salgán's orchestra, Ángel Díaz baptized him as “the Pole” because of his blonde features. With this orchestra he recorded ten songs, among them, his first big hit, “Alma de loca”.


Atilio Stampone, musician and composer, stated that “Polish is the antithesis of Gardel,” because with his paraphrasing of the lyrics, he revealed to the general public the stories that the songs told, with his particular way of narrating.


At the age of 30 he became part of Aníbal Troilo's orchestra, with which he spent around seven years. Troilo, seeing his potential, advised him to pursue his solo career. It is precisely when he decides to continue as a soloist that he defines his style.


Ricardo García Blaya, founder of the website “Todo tango”, highlighted that what distinguished him from other singers was the expressiveness of his phrasing, the particular way of placing his voice, the strong personality of someone who knows the very essence of tango. . He also talked about the management of accents and silences, the dragging of a word in the lyrics, or the whisper of the verses.


The public would especially remember the concert at the Teatro Regina, in 1982, Piazzolla-Goyeneche live, in which they performed songs such as “La Última Curda”, “Chiquilín de Bachín”, “Balada para un loco” and “Cambalache”. Additionally, he sang and recorded with Atilio Stampone, Raúl Garello, Armando Pontier, Osvaldo Berlingieri, among others. In 1985, Goyeneche received international recognition: he played at the Châtelet Theater in Paris with Horacio Salgán, the Sextet Mayor, Jovita Luna, Elba Berón and six couples of dancers.


In cinema, he debuted as an actor in "The Right to Happiness" (1968), by Carlos Rinaldi. He participated in the musical "El canto tells the story of him" (1976), by Fernando Ayala and Héctor Olivera, but his consecration came in the film "Sur" (1987), by Pino Solanas.


He achieved a beautiful connection with the new generations. Litto Nebbia, an exponent of the beginnings of national rock, created his own record label Melopea in the late 80s. He already knew Goyeneche from crossing paths in the halls of RCA and admired him greatly, but it was not until he was summoned to record an album with him and Néstor Marconi that friendship and affection began. Later, when no one was calling him to record, Nebbia produced his last albums.


Furthermore, any type of rivalry that had existed between tango and rock was dissolved with the symbolic hug that Fito Páez and Goyeneche gave each other in the movie "Sur." His friendship with the "Polish" began in said filming and according to him, she was his spiritual father. Charly García stated that “The first national rocks are tango lyrics thanks to Litto Nebbia”, who produced some of his albums, such as “Tangos del sur” (1989) and “Amigos” (1993). Andrés Calamaro recorded a version of “Naranjo en flor” for his 1999 album “Honestidad brutal”. This version gave the song new popularity.


Adriana Varela met Goyeneche at the beginning of his career at the “Homero” café concert in the Palermo neighborhood. He discovered her and advised her to dedicate herself to singing. She took it as a divine sign. For La Gata, Polaco was “the language”: “…There are those who prefer the virtuous, but sometimes the virtuous does not reach the audience, although many people said that Polaco sang better in the early days. Those of us who were young in the last stage of Polaco knew him that way, that's how he came to us, and the artistic fact happened there, when he was already a soloist.

The "Polaco" recorded nearly one hundred albums and was accompanied by the most prestigious orchestras, such as Pontier, Baffa-Berlingieri, Pugliese, Piazzolla and the Teatro Colón Philharmonic.

Goyeneche performed classic versions by Piazzolla, Ferrer and Gardel, such as “Naranjo en flor”, “Balada para un loco” and “Volvió una noche”, among others. Their versions of “Malena”, “Afiches”, “La Última Curda”, “Cafetín de Buenos Aires”, “Che Bandoneón” and “El Ultimo Café” stood out. He participated in the Spanish singer Dyango's album, “Yo canto tangos” (1989), and performed a version of “Los marados” with Mercedes Sosa.

From the depths of popular culture, Goyeneche received various recognitions. In 1985, the Konex Foundation awarded him the diploma of merit as a male tango singer. He also received the distinction of “Illustrious Citizen of the City of Mar del Plata” in 1988.

In the city of Rosario, during the "Night of the Stars" party, Goyeneche was awarded the “Carlos Gardel” Award. He obtained other awards, such as the Martín Fierro and the Estrella de Mar, in addition to being named Illustrious Citizen of The city of Buenos Aires.

On August 27, 1994, Roberto Goyeneche died from pneumonia.

In his honor, an avenue in the Saavedra neighborhood is named after him, as is the popular grandstand at the Ciudad de Vicente López Stadium. In addition, a group of admirers from the neighborhood created the "Peña Roberto Goyeneche", at the El Tábano Club.

Likewise, the Government of the City of Buenos Aires named the underpass located on Av. Balbín as "Goyeneche-Gatica" and a statue of him was placed right in front of the entrance to "Parque Sarmiento". For his part, the singer-songwriter Cacho Castaña composed the tango “Garganta con arena” in his honor.