Santiago Devin

Real name: Devincenzi, Santiago
(27 December 1908 - 30 October 1950)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Juan Ángel Russo

e was a singer with a very defined and melodious voice, successfully enough in the 30s, who established his success when he joined the Antonio Sureda's trio, with whom he had nearly a seven-year tenure until the 40s.

When he was a boy he used to sing all day long and, according to his boss, that didn't match his occupation as car painter and it brought many problems to him.

His first presentation in public was at the “Nacional” cinema theater and his guitarist was no less than Samuel Aguayo who finally was the only one that was paid. When he tried an audition in Radio Cultura, Mr. Del Ponte, director of the radio station, told him: «You'd better go to study singing and later come back», as Devin himself said.

Soon later he made his debut singing with the orchestra led by the bandoneon player Antonio Romano who helped him to correct some vocal defects there. It was Del Ponte who shortened his last name Devincenzi and turned it into Devin.

He had a great ascendancy among the female audiences of that time. He was also "estribillista" (refrain singer) for Juan Carlos Cobián, Julio De Caroa> and Carlos Di Sarli.

When he began as soloist singer, his accompaniment was a guitar trio and they successfully appeared on radio, cafés and cinema-theaters of the most populous neighborhoods. But his consecration came when he joined the Sureda Trio. With the latter, maybe, he cut his best recordings.

Lito Bayardo said that as there was a hard competition in the sale of discs between the Victor company that sold Magaldi's records at $2,50 and the Nacional house which sold Gardel's records at $3,25, in spite of their different styles, the price had a strong influence on the sales. Precisely about this, according to Bayardo, Gardel commented him about Magaldi: «... he sings very well, he has a style, emotion and personality. The same thing I can tell you about Santiago Devin, a nice good-looking boy. During my last tour of the province of Buenos Aires, I worked with a half-filled room in the cinema theaters and the kid Devin with Sureda stole me the public...». This statement has been greatly argued and we transcribe it as a curious item in this biography. And if the event really happened, only the enormous generosity of Gardel allowed him to make that comment, knowing that the difference was obvious.

Returning to Devin, we highlight his presence at a time of a hard competition with great colleagues in the song field. He composed only one tango piece: “Quererte y morir”.

Published in Cuadernos de difusión del Tango, Nº 3.