ARTISTS,  Ephemeris,  NEWS

Laura Ana Berello (1904 – 2002)

As from 2002, every December 24th we remember the journey to eternity of the woman artistically known as Tita Merello, celebrated tango and milonga singer and actress.  Her nick names were “La morocha argentina” (the argentine black-haired woman) or “Tita de Buenos Aires”.

She debuted as an actress in the first argentine film with sound called, “Tango!”, and established herself as an actress in “La fuga” (which means “the escape”).  In the mid 1940s she settled down in Mexico where she filmed “Cinco de rostros de mujer” (which means “A Woman’s five faces”), for which she was awarded with the Ariel Best Actress in a Supporting Role prize. When she came back, she played the leading role in “Don Juan Tenorio” and “Filomena Marturano”, which was later staged as a theatre play. She reached the peak of her career in the 1950s when she led films such as “Los isleros” (which means “The Island Men”), “Guacho” and “Mercado de Abasto” (which means “The Abasto Market”). She also obtained distinguished roles in “Arrabalera”, “Para vestir santos” and “El amor nunca muere” (which means “Love Never Dies”) (both 1955). Her last film was “La Madre María” (which means “Mother María). Due to her success as an actress she was demanded to play on stage in theatrical productions, on the radio and on television where she coined the expression that says: “Muchacha, hacete el Papanicolaou”), which means, “Girl, you need to get a Papanicolaou test donde”.  She pronounced this exhortation to motivate woman to get the test used to detect uterus cancer done.

This was how “Tita de Buenos Aires” was born. She was honoured in the argentine film “Yo soy así, Tita de Buenos Aires” (which means, “This is who I am, Tita from Buenos Aires”. She was remembered by Cacho Castaña in the song which is named like the film, in which the chorus says:   

“Tita from Buenos Aires, my Tita!/ the one who sings the sensual tangos/ the one with cold hands/ the one who sings prayers to the heavens/ like Mother Mary/ the one from the Abasto Market/ the one from the streetcar stroll”.

In the same way, “The argentine dark-haired woman” was a great tango and milonga singer. Between 1927 and 1974 she recorded more than 80 themes, from which some can be distinguished as emblems of her repertoire: her interpretations of “Che Bartolo”, “Viejo rincón” (which means Old Corner”), “Tarjeta Postal” (which means Postal Card), “Niño bien” (which means “Good Boy”), “El choclo” (which means “The Corn”), “Pipistrela”, “Arrabalera”, “Se dice de mí” (which means “What is said About Me”), from her own authorship “Llamarada” (which means “The Calling”) and “La milonga y yo” (which means “La Milonga and Me”) which was especially composed for her by the author and composer Leopoldo Díaz Vélez (music by Tito Ribero) and translated into a film by Tita Merello in “Esto es alegría” (which means “This is Joy”).

It is worth standing out, as a curiosity that expresses this great diva’s national and international Significance, that the chorus from the theme “La milonga y yo” says: “We are climbing the slope because at the peak the night is dressed as a celebration”, is very similar to the one sung by Joan Manuel Serrta in his theme, “Fiesta” (which means “Celebration” in which it says: “We are climbing the slope because the street has dressed as a celebration on the top”. In the civil trial, which was sponsored by Díaz Velez accusing Serrat of plagiary, the jury arrived to the conclusion that there was no similarity between the two pieces.

“Tita from Buenos Aires” passed away on Christmas Eve of 2002, when she was 98 years old. Because of her high work as an artist and because of her female charisma, we now remember her listening to one of her emblematic milonga:

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