The mysterious Emilio Pellejero

Some years ago I attended a tango marathon and while I was dancing a never heard milonga has been played: Mi vieja linda. It has been an unforgettable moment of dance. Even though I never heard this tango before it sounded familiar to me. That might sound paradoxal but it confirms that well dancable tangos you might play for the first time form some kind of exception when it comes to acceptance by the audience. Generally people I have been talking to, don’t like too much to dance to music they don’t know very well. When I played this milonga for the first time at a local milonga in Brussels, it had the same déjà vu effect on the most recalcitrant dancers.

As I later was told, this milonga has been performed by the Orquesta Emilio Pellejero in 1941. I found a recording at the Uruguayan record label Sondor the CD is called El Tango de los 40, Inéditos de Sondor, Sondor catalogue number 8.200 – 2.

According to Emilio Pellejero recorded some other tangos with Sondor but to my knowledge none of these recordings seem to be reissued on CD. The person record on is even more limited and states that the overall performances of this orchestra is estimated to 4. All these performances point to the two Sondor CD samplers El Tango de los 40, Inéditos de Sondor and Tangos para la Historia (1944 – 1948) with reissued tangos mainly recorded in Uruguay. Curiously just shows a birth date for Emilio Pellejero, as he was born the 1st of January 1911, he might party his 100th birthday in a couple of days if he is still alive.

So, unless I know better this person’s work, I suppose there are a lot of lost works around on some vinyl records or 78 RPMs waiting to be discovered. Let’s start to search for it 😉 Here is the tanda how I play it:

  1. Milonga oriental, Ángel Sica (Instrumental), 1942, 1:57
  2. Mi vieja linda, Emilio Pellejero : Enalmar De Maria, 1941, 2:26
  3. Rebeldía, Ángel Sica : Romeo Gavioli, 1942, 2:20

As this milonga tanda is quite short or if you like to play 4 milongas, you could add the following milonga at the beginning of the tanda:

  1. Flor de milonga, Rogelio Coll : Enrique Campos, 1942, 2:11

They all work perfectly well together and are on the same Sondor CD. It is also worth to note that Sondor’s masters seem to be in a bad condition or that they have grabbed these tangos from a damaged 78 RPM. I would really love to get hold on better quality recordings.

3 thoughts on “The mysterious Emilio Pellejero

  1. Mi vieja linda – I feel the same way as you described about this song. The song and beat is spiritually uplifting. Today, I was teaching a milonga class in a beautiful historical building and had picked this to play along with other favourites. When “Mi vieja linda” started to play, I suddenly said in front of the class, “wow, I sure pick good music” (smiling)! As well, I happen to have the other two you included in a tanda. Thanks for the tip. I don’t have the fourth one except by Laurenz but this version is too fast. Take care Jens, Louis

  2. Hi I’m Deborah and Emilio was my grandfather. Thanks for the article sorry about my english but I’m uruguayan so I speak only spanish. I want to tell you that he was an excellent violinist and he was born 1st January. Thank you very much for your comments

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