José De Grandis

Real name: De Grandis, José Pedro
Lyricist, violinist and composer
(27 February 1888 - 3 December 1932)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
José Gobello

is not much what is known about this violinist who died at a young age in Buenos Aires. Luis Adolfo Sierra told me that, among other groups, he had joined the outfits led by Roberto Goyheneche, Enrique Pollet, Graciano De Leone, Juan Bautista Deambroggio (Bachicha) and the brothers José Servidio (Balija) and Luis Servidio.

«He was not an outstanding performer —says Sierra—; almost usually a second fiddle. And what is most regrettable, to make more difficult our intentions of conceptually rescuing him as lyricist, is that he did not have a high esteem for the lyrics he wrote. According to what those who knew closely told me adding lyrics to certain tangos he liked was simply an unimportant mischief; something like drawing caricatures with a pencil on a tablecloth during an after-dinner chat».

The De Grandis’ most well-known tango is “Amurado” which dates back to 1926 when Pedro Maffia and Pedro Laurenz, who composed the music, played in the sextet led by Julio De Caro.

In 1928 he wrote the lyrics for two tangos composed by Agustín Bardi, “Adiós pueblo” and “Cachada”. That year he also wrote the lyrics and the music of “Aquel muchacho triste”. “Cotorrita de la suerte” is previous, it was premiered by Carlos Gardel and was recorded in Barcelona on December 16, 1927.

In fact he was a modest lyricist. His verses were filled with the typical clichés of the genre he loved. His presence in an anthology is justified, however, by the stanzas of “Amurado” in which those common phrases were delicately chosen by the poet. Undoubtedly, those lines are embellished by the music of Maffia and Laurenz. The memorable rendition that Agustín Magaldi committed to disc on September 10, 1927 highly contributed to its popular acclaim.

However, even without those complements, those words would be honoring a hall of fame of the urban popular poetry, where they would not discredit neither the economy of expression nor the emotion —somewhat reminiscing Pascual Contursi and Celedonio Flores— that transcends from the lyric and the description of the environment.

Furthermore I want to highlight two metaphors: «an evening sadder than the sorrow that afflicts me» and «but my poor heart is much more intoxicated» which do not lack in strength and a sort of originality.