“I am a romantic, a guy who sings to love and life,” he said. Mario Silva during its passage through Tropical Memory, the documentary cycle of TV City. And the “Frank Sinatra of the North of the Black River”, as he was known and who died on Wednesday at the age of 68, was a true master of the matter. In its passage through Grupo Mogambo and Professional sound, and later with his solo career, he won over the public by merging the rhythm of the charanga with the lyrics “with content”, as he defined in several interviews.
“I’m like a cupid of tropical music,” commented the man with hair in the style of Jim Morrison and Ron Wood, when analyzing its impact on the lives of its followers. And that repertoire that crossed love, happiness, spite and abandonment became the soundtrack for several generations. People told him that they fell in love with his songs, that he overcame a lack of love with his performances and that his records generated instances of encounter between parents and children. There is no better legacy than that.
“The first time the expression ‘idol’ was used among peers of the tropical music of the interior was with him,” he says. Lucas Sugo to El País. “With him we discovered that a colleague could reach so many hearts”, adds the artist who in 2002 replaced Silva at the helm of Professional sound.
But, yes, the unconditional affection of the public was not immediate. Silva, who died in a hospital in Melo after a series of medical complications, had to go through several changes before establishing himself as a popular idol. His career began in his native Montevideo covering heavy rock in various groups – Led Zeppelin classics, Deep Purple and Ten Years After were mandatory in his shows – and was transformed when he began to go out at the carnival with Musicalísima magazine and sing with music orchestras. tropical.
Although it had generated an audience in the capital, the piece that was missing to consecrate itself was inside; more precisely in Artigas. Silva, who in addition to singing worked as a civil servant at OSE, was sent by the state company to the extreme north of the country after a trip to Buenos Aires. The plan was to stay a while, but something in the environment captivated him. “I liked that area so much that I stayed,” he recalled.
In the mid-eighties, it was time to shine. He appeared as a guest to sing three versions of the “Puma” Rodríguez on a Hawaii group show, he caught the attention of quite a few. Before long I was in charge of Grupo Mogambo, his first big project, and began to create his label. “When I arrived in Artigas, everyone copied what was done in Montevideo. I didn’t discover America, but I realized that I could sing level lyrics with a danceable rhythm, ”he commented.
By the time he entered Professional sound, the phenomenon finished gestating from the hand of his versions of “A tear on the phone”, “I wish you to die”, “I love you“And, of course, the stainless”Ask me for the moon”.
“Marito was the man who brought feeling and romance to the interior cumbia,” says Sugo. “We came from the influence of Los Wawancó, which were lyrics designed for dance, but the first time I heard meaningful lyrics and a very good performance was with him. He added a lot to the tropical genre, because one thing is to dance it and another is to feel it ”.
Chacho Ramos, another of the figures of the tropical music of the interior, coincides with Sugo. “His style is unique,” he says. “And sometimes it doesn’t go through sophisticated arrangements or great orchestrations, it goes through knowing how to transmit a song that is simple from a harmonic point of view. You can interpret a song in one way, but getting it to the public is another thing; you have to have a gift for that. And Mario had it ”.
“He was a real performer and he had a tear in his voice,” adds Sugo. The composer of “Cinco Minutes” describes it very well: in classics like “I wish you to die”, “Cuckoo clock” and “Where is my dad”He broke in singing softly, like someone who sings in his ear, to generate a complicity with the listener. Then, in the chorus, he let out the maximum commitment with a voice that moves immediately. “He let the heart use the vocal cords as a guide to reach people.”
And the repertoire he selected had everything to captivate his audience. “Who did not fall in love? Who did not suffer for love? ”Ramos wonders. “They were songs common to a lot of ages, because people live on affections from birth until they die; It is one of the most important things that the human being has. And when it is sung to love, there is a great range of the public that identifies itself, that is why the whole family followed it ”.
But the admiration around the “Romantic King of Uruguay”It did not depend solely on his voice and his presence; his close relationship with his followers was essential. “Do not put any doubt about that,” assures Ramos. “The way of behaving with the public was very important. Sometimes, the artists of the interior do 2000 kilometers in three days and we arrive really exhausted to the shows, but taking the time to take a photo and chat with people makes them give you their affection.
Sugo agrees with his colleague: “Mario is synonymous with a loving person with his audience. Thanks to him I realized how important it is to have a friendly smile with the people who accompany you ”.
The artist himself told El País in 2014: “If Mario Silva is someone, it is thanks to the people.” And, after his death, it is the public who will keep him alive through his songs. There is no better appreciation than that.
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Memory: Lucas Sugo and Chacho Ramos analyze the success and legacy of Mario Silva – Tvshow – 09/09/2021