Iván Diez

Real name: Martini, Augusto Arturo
Nicknames: Antonio Timarni
Journalist, author and lyricist
(16 August 1897 - 8 November 1960)
Place of birth:
Mar del Plata (Buenos Aires) Argentina
José Gobello

e was born in Mar del Plata and died in Villa Ballester, two cities of the province of Buenos Aires.

In my Nueva Antología Lunfarda I recalled his literary beginnings and his early books, the short novels La honra de aquella mujer (1921) and the poems of Granos de arenas (1924). It was also mentioned there that before 1930 in the Última Hora newspaper he began to write the lunfardo verses that he gathered later in the volume Sangre de suburbio. He signed that book with the sobriquet Iván Diez, the same he had used to sign Diez Sketchs (1932) and the three-act farce written in verse El romance de un taura, premiered at the Teatro Nacional by the theater company led by Pascual Carcavallo, on May 8, 1933.

I also published in my book an autobiographical page he wrote at my request, because Iván Diez was from the early to the mid- 1950s one of my partners in the editor’s office of the Democracia paper.

Neither my portrayal nor the autobiography say a word about the Iván Diez’s tangos. Now I remember that I heard him say that he had given lyrics to the bandoneon player Antonio Polito. Today we know that it is true and that he also gave him the sobriquet A. Timarni that he had made use of to sign some of his lyrics. Later he signed others as Iván Diez: the one of “Vesubio”, tango with music by Enrique Delfino; “Tu pañuelo”, waltz with music by the above mentioned Polito; “Busco un rincón lejano”, a successful habanera that was sung under the title “Tendrás un altar”, as well with music by the latter bandoneon player and others.

Around 1930 for Vicente Ronca he wrote the lyrics of “Almagro”. Ronca was a popular singer, of Neapolitan origin, to whom father Lorenzo Massa, founder of the Club San Lorenzo de Almagro, persuaded him to sign as Vicente San Lorenzo. With that nom de plume Ronca began to appear at different venues; with it he signed the music of “Almagro” and, among other compositions, the one of the tango “Knock-out de amor”, also with words by Iván Diez.

Carlos Gardel heard Ronca sing his tango and asked him permission to record it. The quick acceptance of the author enriched tango with a quite beautiful page and a unsurpassable interpretation which was cut on record on May 1, 1930. A few days later, on May 27, Gardel also recorded “Knock-out de amor”.

Published in the book by José Gobello, “Tangos, letras y letristas”, volume 5, Editorial Plus Ultra, 1995.