Susy Leiva

Real name: Leiva, Susana Teodora Ramona
(31 August 1933 - 4 October 1966)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Néstor Pinsón

he appeared in the art milieu surrounded by all the glamour provided by an intense advertising. Until then, except very few ones, most people ignored who she was.

At first, it was through radio, repeating once and again “Frente al mar” backed by the Mariano Mores Orchestra. At the same time her photograph appeared on newspapers and magazines and, lastly on television, with its overwhelming impact, she appeared at the main show of the period Casino Philips.

But her career in show business had begun several years before. In Mendoza, while she was a teenager, she made her professional debut on Radio Nihuil. Later came some forgettable performances on RadioBelgrano in Buenos Aires. At her brother Fernando’s suggestion, a tango singer as well and, after convincing the theater owners, she became member of the cast of El Tronío, on Corrientes Avenue. There she captivated the public with her beauty and her quality as interpreter.

She had a soprano range, sometimes excessively high, slightly operatic with an interesting dramatic characteristic and an attractive look. She as well appeared at La Alameda, on Avenida de Mayo, and at the remembered folk circle Achalay, run by Pancho Cárdenas, where besides tango numbers she sang estilos and country milongas.

An event that turned out important for her new career took place on May 1, 1954, —Workers’ Day—, on a celebration organized by the CGT (General Federation of Workers) —an entity that reunites all the unions of the nation—, because General Juan Perón, the president of the republic, was present. The main event of the program was the selection of the Queen of Labor, in it Susy was representing the Unión Argentina de Artistas de Variedades (Argentine Union of Variety Artists). She was the winner and since then the union itself sponsored her.

Later she joined the Juan Canaro Orchestra, which had just arrived from its memorable tour of Japan. Let us remember that it was the first group of Argentine tango that visited that far distant country. They soon started a long tour which began in Brazil and went on up to Mexico. There she attended a party at the house of a female singer that she admired, Libertad Lamarque. At that place she met Mariano Mores. The pianist accompanied her in the song “El patio de la Morocha” and was impressed by her. Soon later he made her join his shows.

By that time Mores composed “Frente al mar”, which was arranged by Martín Darré. It would become Susy Leiva’s tango trademark, her most popular hit.

With Mariano Mores she toured of Cuba and Mexico. Her husband, Manuel Villamor, also her manager, traveled with them. Back in Buenos Aires, they appeared at the Teatro Astral and toured the country with their show.

When she was returning from a gig in the city of Rosario, province of Santa Fe, the car in which she was traveling crashed into another vehicle. She died immediately. This tragic accident was used commercially to promote her in order to sell more records.

She was starred in three poor films: Don Quijote sobre ruedas, Ritmo, amor y juventud and Casa de mujeres.

With the Juan Canaro Orchestra she recorded “Remembranza”; in 1963 with the orchestra led by Mariano Mores plus a choir accompaniment she released her hit “Frente al mar”. Previously she had recorded a long-playing record for the Victor label accompanied by Víctor Buchino. The selection was somewhat strange: classic tango tunes and other numbers really exotic. So “Madreselva” and “Milonga triste” were included as well as “Cleopatra, la reina del Nilo” and Salomé, cruel destino”. She also recorded two other LP records, one of them with the accompaniment of the orchestra conducted by Martín Darré, which included two outstanding renditions “Gracias” and her other boom “Sombras nada más”.

In spite of her short career she deserves to be remembered for her beautiful figure, her strong personality and her unmistakably voice.