Juan Andrés Caruso

Juan Andrés Caruso was a journalist, playwright and prolific tango lyricist of the 1920’s. He wrote his first tango “Cara sucia” for his friend Francisco Canaro in 1918. In the 1920’s he became one of the favourite lyricists of Carlos Gardel who recorded 38 his compositions. In 1930 he wrote the lyrics of one of the greatest classics of the tango repertoire, “Alma de Bohemio” by Roberto Firpo.

Caruso was born in La Plata in the Province of Buenos Aires in 1890. Having lost his parents at a young age he came to Buenos Aires where he worked as a claque in the theaters of avenida Corrientes between other jobs. Soon after, following some incident involving a theft, he moved to the city of Bahia Blanca where he began working in a print shop. This is where he began working a journalist for the local newspaper, Hoja del Pueblo.

Back in Buenos Aires in 1910, Caruso moved to the neighbourhood of San Cristobal where he became friends with Francisco Canaro and other musicians of the guardia vieja including Vicente Greco, Genaro Exposito and Samuel Castriota. [2] This was before Pascual Contursi and the emergence of the tango canción and Caruso was writing estilos, a popular style of song we now regard as folclore. [3]

When a new style of tango poetry emerged in 1917 with Mi noche triste“, Caruso was one of the first song writers to contribute to the emerging repertoire with “Cara sucia” (1918), turning a notoriously obscene tango by Casimiro Alcorta into a decent song. Other compositions by Caruso include “No me escribas”, “El taita ladrón”, “Nobleza de arrabal”, “La ultima copa”, “Sentimiento gaucho” and “Alma de bohemio.

Caruso wrote over 30 plays and sainetes, the first of which was “Nobleza de arrabal” (1919) with Francisco Canaro. He was director of the magazine El Teatro Nacional.

Juan Andrés Caruso died in Buenos Aires in 1931. He was 41-years-old.

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[1] Gobello, Jose. Mujeres y hombres que hicieron el Tango. Buenos Aires: Libertador, 2008.

[2] Canaro, Fransicso. Mis memorias: Mis bodas de oro con el tango. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1999. Print.

[3] Pinson, Nestor. Juan Andres Caruso. Todotango. Online. http://www.todotango.com/creadores/biografia/647/Juan-Andres-Caruso/

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