Juan Carlos Casas

Real name: Casas, Basilio Constantino
(23 March 1914 - 21 August 1986)
Place of birth:
Tandil (Buenos Aires) Argentina
Néstor Pinsón

e was born in Tandil, province of Buenos Aires. For the tango milieu of his hometown he still is the most important name because he arrived in Buenos Aires and toured a great portion of the world by singing our music.

In grammar school he learnt the elementary notions of English and French, languages that attracted his attention and that later would be useful in his future career. Like with other boys who later became singers, his family and his friends were his first audience and they encouraged him to get a place in a local aggregation: the Crespi-Lisarrague orchestra.

He complied with the obligatory military service in the Capital city where he had the opportunity to attend to the then successful PAADI academy (Primera Academia Argentina de Intérpretes) (First Argentine Academy of Interpreters) run by the Rubistein brothers. Luis was its director and it was located on 420 Callao Avenue. There shows with students that stood out were organized and they were broadcasted on radio. They also organized contests and in one of them Casas sprang up. He was immediately included in the short-lived orchestra fronted by the guitarist Horacio Pettorossi and soon thereafter he joined the aggregation led by Joaquín Do Reyes.

Because of his face features, wide face, moustaches and plentiful hair combed backwards we may think he is a singer fond of tough songs. But outlooks may be misleading. His vocal range between tenor and baritone, his delicate way of expression might as well have been Osvaldo Fresedo’s choice.

His presence in the little tango stages attracted the milieu’s attention and so it was that Pedro Laurenz included him in his brand-new orchestra. With a repertoire suitable to his style he succeeded in recording when Héctor Farrel split with the group. It was on May 12, 1938 with the tango “Vieja amiga”. He recorded fifteen tracks: “Milonga compadre” by José Mastro and Carlos Bahr (1938); “No me extraña”, “De puro guapo [b]”, “Mascarita [c]”, “Desconsuelo”, “Milonga de mi flor”, “Como dos extraños”, “Improvisando”, “Amurado” (1940), “Taconeando”, “Corazón encadenado”, “Chatero de aquel entonces”, “A mí déjame en mi barrio”, “Firuletear de bandoneón” (1942).

The new year brought him the chance to travel with Juan Canaro on a Latin American tour but he soon split with the orchestra to continue as soloist. He arrived in Puerto Rico after visiting Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia and other countries. And from there he was tempted to travel to Europe.

He started with Barcelona where he settled for a time. Later, in 1949, he went to Paris. He had a good start at the L’Aiglon nightclub with a popularity that attracted the attention of the Moulin Rouge enterprise. There he shared the bill —as South American attraction— with Maurice Chevalier, Lily Pons, Bing Crosby, among other great stars. Back in our country, he was busy with trading always connected to show business but he quit professional singing.

From a note by Aldo Abel Dufau, Revista Tango directed by Orlando del Greco, Nº 9, July 1995.