AJN Agency.- Bernardo Mitnik, better known by his stage name Chico Novarro, passed away this morning at the age of 88. The Argentine singer-songwriter had a long career in the world of music. His initial fame came when he joined the cast of Club del Clan, later developing a successful career as a solo singer and songwriter.
He was born on September 4, 1933. He was the son of Albert Mitnik (a shoemaker from Ukraine) and Rosa Lerman, of Romanian-Jewish origin, who arrived in Argentina in 1923 with their two eldest daughters.
Upon arriving in Argentina, the family settled in Santa Fe, where three more children were born: Samuel, Fanny and Bernardo.
Bernardo was asthmatic and, to seek a drier climate, at the age of twelve the whole family moved to Deán Funes (in the province of Córdoba).
Bernardo’s mother sang songs in the Yiddish language at home and said that his father sang so well and so loudly that they could hear him from other villages.
Bernardo wanted to emulate his maternal grandfather, singing tangos like “Remembranza” or “Alma de bohemio” out loud. Already at the age of fourteen he began to earn a living as a drummer in a jazz group (Blue Star Jazz) with the master pianist Carmelo Taormina and his wife Olga Nelly Rodríguez (Nelly Foster- Singer) and singer with a typical orchestra. However, his father wanted him to become a business expert and then study medicine.
He entered the business college and was an accounting clerk in the city of Córdoba with the father of actor Norman Briski as his boss, but he soon realized that he could earn much more money as a musician than as an accountant. It was thus that he arrived in Buenos Aires for the first time in 1951, with an orchestra where he played the bongo, the drums and the double bass. But the contract was frustrated and after many trips, it was not until 1960 that he finally settled in the capital.
In the fifties he was a member of the Montecarlo Jazz Orchestra (from Córdoba), the Argentine Jazz Orchestra, the Don Roy Orchestra, the Lucho Gatica, Daniel Riolobos and Arturo Millán orchestras, among others.
He formed a tropical music duo with Raúl Boné called Los Novarro. When they separated in 1962, Boné, who was very tall, adopted the stage name Largo Novarro for himself. Almost as a joke, and at the suggestion of RCA producer Ricardo Mejía, Mitnik adopted the stage name of Chico Novarro. His first album, in 1961, was made by a duo called Los Novarro (Largo y Chico).
Chico Novarro was characterized by addressing very varied styles with solvency, especially bolero and tango, but with outstanding performances in jazz, rock, cumbia and pop. He himself has defined this characteristic by saying: “I carry dispersion in my blood.”
In 1960 he settled in Buenos Aires and two years later he was hired by the RCA Victor record company to join the Club del Clan, a television program that would become famous for broadcasting rock & pop music in Spanish, from which other successful artists emerged, such as Palito Ortega, Violeta Rivas, Raúl Lavié and Johnny Tedesco, among others.
It was in this program where he artistically adopted the pseudonym suggested by Ricardo Mejía, who created the program, with which he would be known ever since. At the Club del Clan, Chico Novarro began to compose and sing his own songs. The first of these were “El orangután”, “El camaleón” and the cumbia “Un sombrero de paja”, songs that have become popular melodies transmitted from generation to generation.
In 1965 he wrote his first tango, “Nuestro balance”, with which he won the Parque del Plata Festival in Uruguay. In 1969 he recorded the album Música para mirar a Chico, accompanied by the pianist and composer Mike Ribas, who since then has been present in almost all of his recordings. In 1970 he composed the second of his few but notable tangos, “Cantata a Buenos Aires”.
In 1980 he recorded the album “Por fin al tango”, the only one of his productions entirely dedicated to tango. In the eighties, his song “Carta de un león a otro” was performed by Juan Carlos Baglietto, who made it a hit for Argentine national rock. He composed songs with other important lyricists and musicians, such as Eladia Blázquez (“Convencernos”, “Pazzia”), Héctor Stamponi (“Minas de Buenos Aires”), Rubén Juárez (“Se juega”), Federico Silva (“It makes you late », «Amor de juguete», «Por ejemplo»), Amanda Mandy Velazco (“Salón para familias”, which was played by María Elena Walsh).
Chico Novarro also stood out in the composition and singing of boleros, where he is recognized for having introduced everyday speech to the bolero. Among his boleros, “Something with you”, “One more Saturday” and “Count on me” stand out, a song that won the OTI festival in 1979, performed by Daniel Riolobos.
He obtained two diplomas of merit from the Konex Awards as a melodic author/composer (in 1985) and as a pop/ballad author/composer (in 1995). In 2014 he received the Illustrious Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires mention, voted unanimously by the Buenos Aires legislature.