Jorge Ledesma

Real name: Deluchi, Justo José
(3 February 1924 - )
Place of birth:
Piñeyro (Buenos Aires) Argentina
Ricardo Barbieri

e was born in Piñeyro, province of Buenos Aires. Ledesma was a tango singer with one of the most pleasant voices in our popular music and also a great interpretive expression.

Furthermore, we must highlight that despite he possessed all the capabilities of a great vocalist he did not have the chance to appear with renowned orchestras as other less qualified singers did.

With a Uruguayan father and an Argentine mother, after grade school he began to work at a printing house of his elder brother, a few years his senior. At age 18, after having evidenced his affinity for singing in family parties, he became a professional. His friends from his neighborhood invited him to be member of a costume carnival group (murga) to appear during the carnival celebrations of 1941, at the balls organized by the Club Juventud Unida Independiente, in Lanús.

The tango orchestra that played there was led by the, today unknown, Raúl Rodríguez. As his vocalist was absent that evening he needed a substitute. The boys of the murga suggested him to audition Deluchi. The bandleader agreed and he then sang “Como dos extraños”. His performance was so successful that Rodríguez made him join his aggregation and his sobriquet was then Alberto Deluchi. One year later, in 1942, he joined the Castro-Paulino all-rhythm orchestra to appear at the clubs Orientación Juvenil and El Porvenir.

In 1943 he switched to a humble orchestra, the one led by Alfredo Celestino, to appear at the carnival balls of the Club Unión of Wilde and at El Palacio del Baile (The palace of dancing), located at the Parque Japonés (Japanese Park), in Retiro. Accompanied by the same musicians he appeared at a contest organized by Radio Mitre and also he recorded with them a non-commercial disc that included the numbers “A la luz del candil” and the waltz “Ribereña”.

His next step was putting together his own quartet that would back him up in his appearances on Radio del Pueblo.

One year later he was summoned by Juan Carlos Caviello to join his group. They appeared on Radio Argentina and, among others, the café El Nacional on Corrientes Street.

The year 1949 was the best time of his career. Alberto Mancione called him to replace his singer Alberto Carol. The latter had recorded as vocalist of the Orquesta Típica Víctor. The bandleader himself auditioned him on Radio Splendid. He sang “Margot” and Mancione was satisfied with his choice. The other vocalist was Héctor Alvarado. The orchestra’s agent, Julio Curi, suggested that a new sobriquet for him was necessary. He was inspired by listening to the Martínez-Ledesma duo and then he said that his name would be Jorge Ledesma from then on and so it was.

His debut took place at the cabaret Cote D'Azur, on 536 25 de Mayo Street and, soon later, on Radio Splendid. When Alvarado quit he was replaced by Francisco Fiorentino who was then in a declining stage. Hired by Radio El Mundo, they appeared at prime times: Estrellas a Mediodía, the unforgettable Glostora Tango Club —when Alfredo De Angelis was on vacation leave— and at the dancing shows on week-ends.

With Mancione he succeeded in recording and cut 18 numbers. Of course, he left unrecorded several numbers of his songbook, pieces such as: “Tormento”, “Sur”, “El mismo barro”, “Pero a pesar de todo”, “Llorando la carta”, “Viejo ciego”, “Lloró como una mujer”, among others.

He split with the orchestra in the late 1955. His next stop was Alfredo Calabró. This outfit had only one vocalist, the excellent singer José Torres. With them he appeared at different clubs and venues and on LS10 Radio Libertad. As a testimony of that there is a non-commercial recording with the tango “Cafetín de Buenos Aires”.

There was a short tenure in the Lucio Demare Orchestra to sing in the evenings at the Hotel Crillón, on Santa Fe Avenue at the corner of Esmeralda Street. In 1956 he joined the orchestra fronted by Héctor D'Espósito which also had the female singer Mabel Gamizo and they were part of the cast of Radio Belgrano. Finally, he joined the Ciriaco Ortiz’s outfit and toured the southern area of the province of Buenos Aires from Quilmes to the city of La Plata. Thereafter for a long time he used to appear as soloist, with different accompaniments, and in different settings for fun or to get some money.

In 1996, along with Osvaldo Ribó, the latter’s brother, Octavio Osuna on guitar and Antonio Nevoso on bandoneon, he started a short tour of the southern province of Río Negro.

He did not cut many recordings but they are enough to evidence he is a first level singer as many of his peers think. He also was a composer. There are two numbers of his that are standouts: “Y después” and “Siempre es primavera”.

Published in Tango y Lunfardo, Nº 132 (September 1997).