Juanita Larrauri

Real name: Larrauri de Abramí, Juana
(12 March 1910 - 21 February 1990)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Néstor Pinsón

he was born in the neighborhood of Floresta, on the west side of the city of Buenos Aires. Today she is remembered due to her political militancy rather than for her beautiful suggestive voice.

She was a vocalist of the old times, with the strength and feeling of the best tango.

She might have been a star because she possessed all the qualities to become one. She had a good intonation, good taste and a velvet-like voice, sparkling at times, that reminds us of the style of the great singers that preceded her.

But at the best time of her career her passion for politics was greater than her devotion for art and she quit singing.

She made her debut as tango singer in 1931 on LR3 Radio Nacional (later named Radio Belgrano) backed first by a guitar trio and later by the Trío Sureda. In 1932 she performed on LS3 Radio Mayo and on LS5 Radio Rivadavia. In the latter case she was accompanied by the guitarists Humberto Canataro and Roberto Marcos Pedretti.

In 1934 the Alberto Gambino’s orchestra accompanied her appearances on Radio Nacional. The following year on Radio Prieto and Radio Argentina her accompaniment was a typical trio with violin, piano (Francisco Trópoli) and bandoneon (Minotto Di Cicco).

In 1936 her consecration came on Radio del Pueblo and she recorded her first disc for the Odeon company. Accompanied by guitars she committed to record “Castigo” (Juan Canaro and Luis Rubistein) and “Sueño fue” (Luis Rubistein and Jesús Fernández Blanco).

In that same year she sang alongside Oscar Alonso in the orchestra led by Horacio Pettorossi on Radio Mitre.

With the exception of short tours throughout the interior and some neighboring countries, her career was entirely on radio. In 1937 with the guitarists Jaime Vila, Antonio Ciaccio and José Cortecce she appeared in her shows on Radio Belgrano, Mitre and Porteña, radio stations that were located in the same building.

In 1949 she married the pianist and orchestra leader Francisco Rotundo.

One anecdote: Radio Stentor organized a contest, sponsored by the firm Metrópolis, to discover the new leader of its tango orchestra. For that purpose a photograph of the lady at issue was published in a weekly magazine. The letters with the right name were drawn lots and the winner was awarded with a check and the winner’s photo was published on a note in the magazine. That leader was Juanita Larrauri. It was the debut of the vocalist in this new role but we do not know if it took place.

Among several anodyne concepts included in the above mentioned note the following paragraph stands out: «Our artist, that a few days before had made her debut on Stentor leading a really excellent radio theater company, is in the middle of a process of renewal. This is added to the fact that she is a well-known female singer and now also an actress and orchestra leader».

In other words, a trick of her advertisers to emphasize and highlight a simple note in a show business magazine.

As from general Juan Domingo Perón’s inauguration, Juanita was a fervent adherent to his cause and developed from then on an intense and prolonged political activity. This forced her to stop her shows, which she resumed for a brief time on the Municipal, Del Estado and Belgrano radio stations, but later she abandoned definitively her career.

In the political field she held different offices. Eva Perón chose her to organize the female branch of the Peronist party (Partido Justicialista) in the whole nation.

When the Law 13.010 of the year 1947 allowed women to vote and brought the consequent possibility to choose women candidates, she was elected as Senator for the province of Entre Ríos for the period 1952-1958. Her office was interrupted by the coup that overthrew president Perón in 1955.

Time made her one of the top leaders of the female branch of the party during the entire period of the Peronist resistance. A name given to the stage of popular struggle that appeared as reaction against the military government of general Pedro Aramburu.

Juanita recorded the party song "Evita Capitana" and in 1972 she recorded again, this time an LP titled "Canto para mi pueblo" with 12 numbers accompanied, in some cases, by guitars and in others by the orchestra led by Tití Rossi. The numbers were: "El ciruja", "La cumparsita", "Julián", "Morena Clara", "Nueve de Julio", "La piba de Mano a mano" and "Anoche", among others.

"La piba de Mano a mano" was written by Tití Rossi and Juanita Larrauri. Juan Mostazo, Quintero and Guillén wrote "Morena Clara".

When we listen to these recordings we can realize that, despite the passing of time, the vocalist still had that good quality and personal expression in her voice.

With this short portrayal I want to pay homage to a woman that preferred to fight for her ideals, putting aside a promising future that -surely- her career as female tango singer would have deserved.