Leopoldo Federico was born in Balvanera, Buenos Aires, on January 12th, 1927. His father Luis passed from a day-labourer to a company's associate, but went later bankrupt. Being he a free time bandoneon player ``by ear'', the bandoneon was always present in the family's home, while the young Leopoldo used to play in secret his father's wonderfull instrument. But it was his uncle Chilo Rainone who brought the bandoneon to Leopoldo, being himself a fan of Pedro Maffia, and who perhaps was dreaming of Leopoldo to play like Maffia who had played during the silent movie era in the Select Lavalle theatre. With twelve, Chilo Rainone brought Leopoldo to Ingratta, a local bandoneon teacher, who very soon recognized Leopoldo's vocation and who brought him to Felix Lipesker, one of the most famous teachers of the time. But the modest family was not able to cover the costs, and, finally Francisco Requena took over the job. in 1943, at the age of 17, Leopoldo's father was then a charburner. Leopoldo had to contribute during the morning while his father was selling in the streets. Kwowing of the economic trouble of the family, Paco Requena introduced Leopoldo to the orchestra of Di Adamo-Flores which was performing at the Tabaris, a well established Night Club. All people told Leopoldo he was playing magnificent, but he was unsure if he could play in an orchestra. When they told him he would earn 200 pesos, he couldn't beleive it! Leopoldo's new income saved the family. His mother managed the economy.
Already in 1944 Leopoldo was engaged by Juan Carlos Cobián, a famous composer. Very soon he came to Emilio Balcarce, highly admired by Leopoldo as person, musician, arranger, and composer, but his discrete violin play. Later, when they had to accompany the vocalist Alberto Marino the stronger violinist Simón Bajour came in.
In 1946, the time with Alfredo Gobbi begun. ``We all bacame mad of
Alfredo Gobbi'' remembers Leopoldo. But there were also difficult moments.
Most violinists quit at this orchestra and Gobbi had to play alone. Perhaps
the reason was they had to play at three or four different places a day.
``We started at noon at Richmond, Suipacha, and from there we went to
Marzotto by Corrientes where we finished at 9 p.m. Then we went to
Chacarita by subway to continue in the Bar Argentino until
1:30 a.m. During the rest of the morning we played at El Congo at the
Bonpland street. Sometimes we had no time to close the instruments in their
El Gordo: Always a revolutionary but at the same time a traditionalist (Oscar Zucchi).
In fact: Leopoldo Federico is among the greatest bandoneonists ever and besides Máximo Mori and Gabriel Clausi one of the best arrangers. The sound he gets from his instruments makes his performance unmistakable.
Important halls of Buenos Aires he performed are: Malena al Sur, Caño Catorce, Sans Souci, La Casa de Carlos Gardel, La Gayola, etc. and during seven continued years in Mar del Plata: Caribbean, Enterprise, Caño Catorce, Re Fa Si, Trasnochando, Hotel Hermitage and Mi País. Of course he had to repeat many trips to places of the countryside, as well.
He toured also many countries: Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, France, Japan, Finland, Spain and Switzerland and conducted and arranged the ensemble for Susana Rinaldi at Paris' Olympia, her presentations at Michelangelo and the San Martín theatre and on recordings for Philips.
Very successfull arrangements he made for a couple of vocalists like Hector Mauré, Alberto Podestá, Gloria Díaz, Edmundo Rivero, etc.