Poets
Alfredo Le Pera

Poet, journalist, playwright and cinema script writer
(4 June 1900 - 24 June 1935)

More Le Pera:
H

e was born in Sao Paulo (Brazil) but when he was a two-month-old kid he already was in Buenos Aires where, later, he would attend the Colegio Nacional Mariano Moreno. After his high school studies he began to study medicine but he quit his studies to devote himself to journalism. He wrote for the theater page of “Última Hora” with Julio F. Escobar; he later switched to El Telégrafo and thereafter to El Mundo. In the meantime he wrote texts and dialogues for different revues.

In the late 1928 Le Pera was sent to the United States and Europe by El Mundo. On his comeback he joined the movie company United Artists as author of the so-called subtitles. His first tango dates back to that time, “Carillón de La Merced”, which was premiered by Tania at the Teatro Victoria of Santiago de Chile and later she premiered at the “Cómico” theater of Buenos Aires.

In Paris where he settled later, Le Pera again met Carlos Gardel who had sung for the first time in that city on September 30, 1928. The meeting promoted by the movie company Paramount took place in 1932 during the third stay of Gardel in the French capital city. Le Pera became the author of all the movies that since then the singer would shoot from “La casa es seria” (Paramount, 1932) up to the respective episode of “The big broadcasting of 1936” (Paramount, 1935). Since then he wrote a great number of lyrics, most of them for tango music: they are those that Gardel sings in his movies.

In his lyrics Le Pera tried to use a language that would be understood by all the Spanish-speaking world. Then widening, in that way, the geography of tango. In fact, Gardel, with his mimicry, broke the barriers of the language. Like every great interpreter, his language was universal. However, in spite of that we cannot underestimate Le Pera’s contribution, who, by launching the singer beyond the closed localism which surrounded the poetry of tango, he helped his friend by making easier his road to a vast conquest.

Certainly, had not his lyrics borne Gardel’s music and his vocals today they would not have the popularity and the prestige they have. But it is not a question of what could have happened but of what it is. Today nobody pays attention to the reiteration of his figures of speech, or even to his lexicon in order to focus on the nobility of feelings sung, the adorable nostalgia that impregnates many of his stanzas, the decorum of the language and the quite  singular ability that allowed the author of “Volver” to reduce the language of Buenos Aires to a very expressive and, above all, understandable lingo for all the Spanish-speaking world.

Le Pera died in Medellín (Colombia) on June 24, 1935 in the same accident that was deadly fatal for his partner Carlos Gardel.