Horacio Loriente

e represents an artistic life rich in nuances and a distinguished contribution to tango. He was no stranger in the field of bel canto due to his studies, his voice color and his perfect intonation.

He was born in Paysandú, Uruguay. His parents were Spaniards and soon his family settled in Buenos Aires where he always lived.

The Argentine publication Correo Musical Sud-Americano in its issue of July 18, 1917 says that his teacher in sight-singing was maestro Juan Gutiérrez. When Ildefonso De Goya heard him sing he labeled him as a "dramatic tenor" and made him his pupil.

Later he joined an opera company that was hired to open the Progreso Theater in his hometown performing Bizet's "Carmen".

In the dawn of Argentine broadcasting he worked as speaker. At that time the announcers or commentators were called by that English word. He began on Radio Cultura, later he switched to the most important radio stations while he alternated this job with singing. He even sang in the choirs of the Teatro Colón.

The tango "Angustia" written by Horacio Pettorossi is the first evidence that associated him with the genre when on January 10, 1927 he recorded with the Francisco Canaro's orchestra and sang some lines of the lyrics.

He performed with the Donato-Zerrillo Orchestra at its debut at the Ccinema Select Lavalle and with Julio De Caroa> in the big orchestras put together for the carnival balls in 1929 and 1930.

In 1929, he is a leading artist in the recently opened Brunswick record company, among a selected list of hired artists. His labor there was manifold: he formed duos, he sang refrains with all the tango orchestras of the label and with the Sam Liberman jazz band. He continued associated to Brunswick until it closed.

At this stage he recorded with the following orchestras: Donato-Zerrillo, Edgardo Donato, Julio De Caroa>, Pedro Maffia, Ricardo Luis Brignolo, Orquesta Típica Brunswick and Osvaldo Fresedo. He as well did it with Roberto Firpo (for Odeon), with Adolfo Carabelli, the Típica Víctor and the Típica Los Provincianos (for Victor).

In March 1931, he traveled to Europe hired by maestro Julio De Caroa>. He was on a tour of different countries, mainly France and Italy and returned to Buenos Aires by mid- 1931.

In 1932 he appeared as operatic singer in the Enrique Sussini's play "Madame Lynch" with a script written by Enrique García Velloso and the critic Agustín Remón. This play was performed at the Teatro Odeón of Buenos Aires.

The following year he appeared in the movie Los Tres Berretines in which he sang the tango "Araca la cana", accompanied by José María Rizzuti, Aníbal Troilo and Vicente Tagliacozzo.

Encouraged by the movies, in 1934 he sponsored the film Galería de Esperanzas, committing its text to Enrique Cadícamo. Later Carlos De la Púa was also requested to contribute to the text and it made Cadícamo very angry because he considered that his original idea was partially distorted, so he even tried to quit but he was finally persuaded.

In that movie he sings the waltz "Ríe" and the tango pieces "Pebeta goalkeaper" and "Luces de París", all them composed by Cátulo Castillo with lyrics by Enrique Cadícamo.

He later appeared in Poncho Blanco (1936) alongside Luisa Vehil and Benita Puertolas under the direction of Cadícamo. Soon thereafter he produced Virgencita de Pompeya, with Nelly Quell, Enrique Maroni and Silvio Spaventa. The film was premiered in Montevideo on October 13, 1936.

He alternated his activity in the movies with singing on radio as soloist. In 1935 on LR5 Radio Excelsior, in 1936 on a radio station of brief existence: LS3 Radio Ultra, with the tango orchestra led by Eugenio Nóbile. In December 1936 Radio Splendid hired him.

In May 1937, when Allende Iragorri's play "Se acabó lo que se daba" was staged at the Teatro Argentino under the direction of Atilio Supparo, he was in the cast accompanied by Margarita Sola and Roberto Páez. After this engagement he appeared as actor and singer on Radio Porteña in Héctor Pedro Blomberg's and Carlos Viale Paz's play Los Caminos de la Historia.

In November 1937, he sang on Radio Belgrano and soon thereafter he traveled to Montevideo to debut on Radio Carve with guitar accompaniment.

On his comeback to Buenos Aires he joined the big orchestra led by Julio De Caro and recorded outstanding performances on Radio El Mundo. In June 1938 they traveled to Montevideo and appeared only once at the Parque Hotel alongside the Alabama Jazz band led by Eddie Kay.

The Julio De Caro Orchestra, with Luis Díaz, will visit again Montevideo in February 1939 and performed at the Club Atlético Defensor Sporting.

On March 17, 1939 he recorded the last tracks with maestro De Caro: the waltz "Era mi vida" and the tango "Coraje". Later he quit singing and all show business activity for good even though he was in full shape.

He was a good lyricist, he wrote the tangos "Tierra querida" and "Cote d'Azur", the waltz "Ilusión de pierrot" and the ranchera "Quedan tuitos invitaos", all them with music by Julio De Caro; the tango "Yo quiero casarme" and the ranchera "Ya se ha marcao la hacienda", with Edgardo Donato; the tangos "Narciso negro", with Pascual Martínez and "El barrio murmura", with Álvaro Sanjurjo Varela.

As we see, Luis Díaz was a complete artist that the tango public must place among the seminal important voices because he furthermore shared a period with anthological figures who did not overshadow his own light.

Excerpted from:
Loriente, Horacio: Ochenta notas de Tango. Perfiles Biográficos, Ediciones de La Plaza, Montevideo 1998. Under the auspices of the Academia de Tango del Uruguay.