Enrique Santos Discepolo

Enrique Santos Discepolo was a poet, playwright, actor, movie director and screenwriter. He is the author of some of the most philosophical and highly praised tango lyrics ever writen, including those of Yira yira“, “Uno” and Cambalache.

Discepolo was born in the neighbourhood of Balvanera in 1901. His father was a musician from Napoli who died when Enrique was only 5-years-old. Having lost his mother by the age of 8, he went to live with his older brother, Armando Discepolo, a successful young playwright who was 14 years older than him. Following the footsteps of his brother, he began acting in 1917 and was a renowned playwright in 1925 with his play “El Organito” premiered at the Teatro Nacional.

Discepolo wrote his first tango in 1926 for a play by José Saldías entitled “La porota”.  This tango entiteled “Bizcochito” is of little interest and remains forgotten to this day. However it was not long before Discepolo found his voice with Que vachacheand “Esta noche me emborracho”.

In 1928 Enrique’s fame as a poet was quickly established as his tangos was interpreted by popular signers Azucena Maizani and Tita Merello. Carlos Gardel recorded many of Discepolo’s first tangos including “Yira Yira(1929), which he also turned into one of the very first video clips in history 1930.

Traveling in Europe in the 1930’s, Discepolo began working as a movie actor, director and screenwriter. He wrote many more tangos including Cambalache (1934), “Desencanto (1937) “Alma de bandoneón (1935), “Uno (1943) “Canción desesperada (1944) and “Cafetín de Buenos Aires” (1948).

Discepolo was among the authors who took action to lift the prohibition of lunfardo under the government of Peron in 1949. Cambalache and “Unowere banned by the military government in 1943.

Discepolo was happily married to Tania, a Spanish signer who used to sign “Esta noche me emborracho” at Les Follies. He died of cancer in 1951 at age 50. On his death bed himself at that time, Homero Manzi wrote “Discepolin” to honour his memory.

”””””

[1] Tango: Cien anos de historia (Vol. III). Buenos Aires: Editorial Perfil, 1992. Print.

[2] Gobello, José. Mujeres y hombres que hicieron el tango. Librerias Libertador, 2002. Print.

[3] Peña, Alberto. Recopilación antologica para una sociología tanguera. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1998.

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