Gerónimo Sureda

Real name: Sureda, Gerónimo
Poet and Lyricist
(15 July 1906 - 5 October 1964)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Héctor Ángel Benedetti

he figure of this poet and reciter has always been linked to that of his brother, to such an extent that several times some aspects of their lives have been confused with each other. For example, some mentioned Gerónimo as a member of the groups led by Antonio, something that in fact never happened. This fraternal symbiosis ended up relegating the one who was an author with his own place in the history of tango to oblivion.

Gerónimo was born in the neighborhood of Boedo on July 15, 1906. It is not known too much about his training; we think that the area itself influenced him: along those streets personalities like Francisco Canaro, Homero Manzi, Sebastián Piana, Julián Centeya, Enrique Maciel... grew or became well-known.

His first outstanding work was the lyric for the waltz “Ilusión marina” whose music belonged to Antonio. This creation began to be known thanks to the recordings that Francisco Canaro made, either in the rendering of his orchestra with the refrain sung by Charlo (October 29, 1930) or as accompanist of the versions of Ada Falcon as soloist (November 18, 1930) and Charlo's (July 8, 1931). There is evidence that it belonged to Carlos Gardel's songbook, although he never committed it to record.

Ilusión marina” in 1932 forced the launching of a relating second part, called “Volvió la princesita”, a big hit by Canaro with the refrain sung by Ernesto Famá (March 21, 1932) and, mainly, Ignacio Corsini’s exquisite rendition with the accompaniment of the guitarists Pagés, Pesoa and Maciel (April 6, 1932). This waltz is erroneously mentioned as “Volvió la princesa” in some texts.

This good start was the best stimulus for Gerónimo, who since then released many pieces. Among others, “Adiós juventud” (a waltz which ought not to be mistaken for at least two tangos with the same name), “A obscuras” (which is a continuation of “A media luz”), “Arrebato”, “Barreras de amor” (another of his great hits), “Callecita del suburbio”, “Ciudad de mis sueños”, “Decime adiós”, “Dos amores”, “Flores rojas”, “Gorrión”, “Juanillo”, “La medallita”, “La vas a pagar”, “Mala suerte [b]” (homonym of Francisco Gorrindo’s tango), “Nido de amor [b]”, “Nostalgias [b]” (same title as the one Enrique Cadícamo used by that same time), “Noviecita de mis sueños”, “Nunca es tarde”, “Pialando las penas”, “Plegaria [b]”, “Quiero que me quieras”, “Ronda del querer” (unforgettable as sung by Carlos Galán), “Sombra doliente”, “Te quiero mucho más”, “Todo es mentira [b]”, “Vincha bruja” (one of his best creations), “Yo quiero que sepas”, and an endless number of poems without music, which include one as homage to Gardel after his demise in 1935, and several verses more gathered in his book Mis Recuerdos, printed in 1938.

It is very famous his advertising song for the analgesic Geniol, although the best known part (that quatrain that says «Whether the air or the sun / wine or beer brings you/ a headache / with a Geniol you'll be free of it») is usually attributed to the inspiration of a pharmacist of La Plata named Adrián González. This publicity that originally was a milonga entitled “Venga de donde venga” (No matter where it comes from) was recorded with different beats by Carlos Marambio Catán and by Carlos Roldán.

He generally worked with his brother Antonio, but he also made songs with music of other great artists of that time. And although he is pigeonholed as a creator of lyrics for waltzes, it is right to say that he also wrote tangos, zambas, pasodobles, rancheras and other airs.

Another facet of his was that of reciter. He appeared on different Buenos Aires radio stations and made short tours with his brother Antonio who used to accompany him with his bandoneon solos.

Nearly all his output dates back to the thirties. Gerónimo was one of the last exponents that were born out of that poetic style previous to the tendencies imposed during the forties. When these began to prevail, with their poems of more subjective matters and their high tropes, he -who was unable to adapt himself to that, or simply he didn't want to do it- passed to a second level, until he really disappeared from the milieu.

He died on October 5, 1964 leaving behind the memory of many works that largely matched the taste of a precise, gone time.