Lalo Etchegoncelay

Real name: Etchegoncelhay Jaureguiberry, Luis Eduardo
Pianist, bandleader and composer
(31 May 1911 - 18 January 1985)
Place of birth:
Montevideo Uruguay
Horacio Loriente

e was born in the Montevideo neighborhood of Tres Cruces, República Oriental del Uruguay, to a family of musicians.

At age 18 he made his debut as pianist in the orchestra led by the bandoneonist Héctor Gentile. Its members were Isidro Pellejero (second bandoneon), Emilio Pellejero, Nicolás Agapios and Romeo Gavioli (violins) and Pedro Torrón (double bass). The following year he joined the Típica de la Guardia Vieja to appear at a tango contest at the Electric Palace movie theater.

In 1933 he traveled to Buenos Aires with Romeo Gavioli with whom he teamed up to lead an orchestra that appeared on the Prieto and Cultura radio stations and which had Panchito Pons on vocals. During his stay in Buenos Aires he composed in collaboration with Juan Antonio Collazo and the lyricist Luis Rubistein “Yo soy así pa’ el amor” which was sung by Tita Merello in the first sound movie in Argentina: Tango. The musical accompaniment was in charge of a group headed by Ernesto Ponzio and Juan Carlos Bazán.

On his comeback to Montevideo he with his brother Freddy and Romeo Gavioli and formed the trio Los Carves, after the style of the successful Irusta-Fugazot-Demare trio. Later they included the violinist Emilio Pellejero and changed the group name for Los Dandys. They also appeared in Buenos Aires in 1935 on the Belgrano, Argentina and Prieto radio stations to an important acclaim.

In the late 30s he devoted himself to piano “comping”. He backed the main international figures that performed in Uruguay. He also with his friends, Ramón Collazo and Víctor Soliño, was part of the important Troupe Ateniense that so much contributed to tango in the River Plate area.

In the early 40s, on request of the brand-new record label Sondor, he recorded and played at different shows in Montevideo as leader of an orchestra of danceable music called Lalo y sus Rítmicos. And, as from 1944, he fully devoted to the task of composing. His tango “Parece un cuento” recorded on November 23 that year by the Alfredo De Angelis Orchestra with Julio Martel on vocals turned out a smash hit.

In 1949 the motion picture Con los mismos colores was shot. Its script was written by the journalist Ricardo Lorenzo Borocotó and the music was composed by the young Astor Piazzolla. This movie includes two numbers composed by Lalo with words by José Rótulo: the tango “Con los mismos colores” and the candombe “Vamos a Belén”. By that time he held different positions in AGADU (Asociación General de Autores del Uruguay) (Association of Songwriters of Uruguay).

It is unavoidable to mention some numbers to have an idea of the finesse and beauty of Lalo’s oeuvre: “Adiós corazón” (his most well-known tango), “Sin amor”, “No me dijo ni adiós”, with lyrics by Héctor Sapelli; “Parece un cuento”, “En la bruma”, with José Rótulo; “Señor tango”, with his own lyrics; “Incertidumbre [d]”, with Julio Reggiardo. Also the waltzes “Musiquita”, “Sonreirás” and “Un traje de novia”. The three of them with lyrics by Federico Silva. And the bolero “Dos rosas” which has an unforgettable recording by Romeo Gavioli.

According to the record file in AGADU, Lalo Etchegoncelay wrote 147 compositions.

In the 60s he appeared as a soloist playing piano or accompanying different singers either on television or at shows.

He was a pleasant fellow that expressed his kindness and optimism on his wide smile. I recall his figure on a motorcycle going to the Cerro stadium with that faithful devotion for the colors of Nacional.