Agustín Irusta

Real name: Irusta, Agustín Cipriano
Singer, actor, composer and lyricist
(28 August 1903 - 25 April 1987)
Place of birth:
Rosario (Santa Fe) Argentina
Ricardo García Blaya
| Néstor Pinsón

ust like Francisco Canaro, with the singer Roberto Díaz, ushered in the refrain singers (estribillistas) fashion, favorably surprising a public used to instrumental tango, Agustín Irusta strengthened that role with the quality of his interpretations in Canaro´s orchestra.

He had the look of a gallant actor, but he was mainly an exquisite singer with tenor range and a sweet elegant timbre.

His major success was outside the country, he recorded in all the places he performed, so to precisely establish his discography is impossible.

He had a very long career, but the crest of his popularity, the most important in my opinion, was when he assembled the Trío Argentino, with the singer Roberto Fugazot and the inspired pianist Lucio Demare.

Native of the city of Rosario, the second in importance in the Argentine Republic, he began singing at an early age when touring nearby cities.

He served in the Army in the province of Santiago del Estero, where he met the folk musician Andrés Chazarreta —a renowned composer and researcher of country and folk music— who was teaching the illiterate soldiers. He was who gave him his first singing and guitar lessons.

Some time later, he traveled to Buenos Aires where he met Roberto Fugazot and formed a vocal duo, accompanied by Humberto Correa on guitar (composer of the tango “Mi vieja viola”) and they recorded for the Victor label in 1926.

He also performed on Radio Cultura accompanied by Lorenzo Olivari on violin and Carlos Di Sarli on piano. Subsequently, he teamed up with Luis Scalon, firstly, in a duo setting, and later with Francisco Graciadío plus Genaro Veiga's guitar.

In 1926 he came to theater work by joining Enrique Muiño's company and also played in a trio, Los tres gauchos, with Alfredo Eusebiio Gobbi and Roberto Fugazot.

The pianist Alberto Soifer introduced him to Francisco Canaro with whom he played, recorded estribillos refrains and traveled to Paris. Canaro himself suggested him putting together a trio with Fugazot and the pianist Lucio Demare to see what would happen in Spain.

They made their début in Madrid at the Theater Maravillas and enjoyed an unprecedented success along nine years, their tunes are sung by the people and are broadcasted to boredom.

They are casted in two Spanish movies, Boliche (1933) and Ave de paso (1935).

One year later, the imminence of the civil war brought them back to Buenos Aires. They were reunited with Canaro on one of his usual musical revues and in 1937 the trio dismembered. In 1948, owing to the iniciative of a Cuban impresario, the group reconvened to carry out a contract in the island performing on radio and releasing more than forty non-commercial recordings.

Irusta continued the cinema work with the movie Ya tiene comisario el pueblo and was hired by Radio El Mundo to sing with the accompaniment of Roberto Grela's guitars. Later he was casted in three more films: Cantando llegó el amor, El matrero and Puerta cerrada, with Libertad Lamarque.

He made tours of different countries in America, accompanied by the bandoneonist Héctor Presas, the violinist Samy Friedenthal and Daniel López Barreto on piano. Later he starred in Tres hombres de río and traveled to Europe, performing in France, Italy and Spain, where he stayed for five years and was casted in the film La guitarra de Gardel where the then unknown Carmen Sevilla had a brief appearance.

Subsequently he stranded for four years in Mexico where he made recordings for cinema and appeared in public performances. He made frequent trips until he finally settled in Caracas (Venezuela), where he married again and lived until his death.

Among his most famous tangos we can mention: “Dandy”, “Tenemos que abrirnos”, “Dos vidas”, “A cara o cruz”, “Mi fortuna” and “Mañanitas de Montmartre”, almost all in collaboration with Roberto Fugazot and Lucio Demare.

Agustín Irusta was, undoubtedly, a complete artist, not only he stands out because of his extraordinary interpretive qualities, but also as composer of our tango classics and as a traveling ambassador of our national culture.