Paquita Bernardo , nicknamed “La Flor de Villa Crespo» ( 1 of may of 1900 , Buenos Aires , Argentina – 14 of April of 1925 ), whose real name was Francisca Cruz Bernardo was the first professional bandoneonist woman in Argentina.
In 1915, when she was a teenager started to study piano at a conservatory, but as José Servidio was one of Paquita’s fellow students she finally switched from piano to bandoneon.
From 1920 she began to perform in various cafes and salons, mainly in Villa Crespo, where the nicknames “La Flor de Villa Crespo” and “La Mujer Bandoneón” were born. She was accompanied by her brothers Arturo, who was a drummer, or Enrique, who owned a taxi.
She never wore pants, sometimes replacing the blouse with a shirt and tie.
In 1921 she was hired to perform at the “Domínguez” bar on Calle Corrientes (Corrientes street) with a sextet called “Orquesta Paquita”, which also included the young Osvaldo Pugliese on piano, Alcides Palavecino and Elvino Vardaro on violins, Miguel Loduca on flute and his brother Arturo Bernardo on drums. The public came to see and listen to it in such quantity that the police had to divert traffic from Corrientes Street, which, at that time, was narrow.
She composed about fifteen pieces of music but did not record any disc. She died in his neighborhood of Villa Crespo on April 14, 1925 as a result of complications from a badly cared cold.
Here you can see a video of Gardel singing one of her tangos, La Enmascarada.