Dienstag, 25. Januar 2022

The Trío Argentino and the Orquesta Típica Argentina (Irusta-Fugazot-Demare)

by José Manuel Araque 

The Trío Argentino was formed by Lucio Demare (b. 1906) on piano, and the voices (solo or duet) of Agustín Irusta (b. 1902) and Roberto Fugazot (b. 1902).

In 1923, at 17, Lucio Demare was the pianist for Carabelli Jazz Band at Club Tabarís in Buenos Aires. At the Club he met Francisco Canaro, already one of the most popular Tango musicians, with multiple orchestras playing around town. Canaro liked Demare and recorded several shimmies composed by him. 

In early 1925 Canaro was invited to play in Paris, he traveled with his brothers Juan and Rafael. Later he asked Demare to join him in Paris as his backup pianist.
In post-war Paris, the Canaro Orchestra was a big hit at Club Florida, in the Théâtre Apollo. There, in late 1925, Canaro met Rudolph Valentino, who suggested that Canaro bring the Orchestra to New York.

In late September 1926 Canaro headed for New York with his brothers, he left Demare in Paris in charge of the Orchestra, which continued playing at the Florida, and at "Thé Dansants" of the Hotel Claridge, in Champs-Élysées.

From October through December the three Canaro brothers played in New York. Meanwhile in Paris, in November, the journal Comœdia published a glowing review of The Black Bottom Follies at the reopening of the Apollo, the Demare-led Orchestra opened for Sam Wooding's Jazz players, Mistinguett danced. Demare's father Domingo joined in from Buenos Aires, he was a violinist. His mother traveled too.
Francisco Canaro arrived in Buenos Aires on December 7, 1926. Juan and Rafael Canaro, and pianist Fiorivanti di Cicco, returned to Paris after Christmas, and joined Demare. The Canaro Orchestra in Paris, now with two pianists, continued playing at the Florida, and at the Thé Dansants that Harry Pilcer ran at the Hotel Claridge. They were in Paris when Charles Lindbergh landed in his Spirit of St. Louis, "the whole city was awake", Demare recalled in an interview. On June 2 they were in a South American Gala at the Opera, and shared the stage with Manuel Pizarro, and the famous Tango dancer Casimiro Aín. 

In August, the Canaro Orchestra went South to Biarritz, and played at the Pavillon Royal.

In Buenos Aires the same year, from March through late September, Francisco Canaro recorded extensively for Odeon, with newcomer Agustín Irusta as his chansonnier. He also recorded a handful of tracks with Fugazot and Irusta singing duet. Canaro then decided to return to France, and bring the singers to support the Orchestra. Canaro said in his memoirs that he did not travel as an engaged musician, or even as director, that he was "mostly on vacation". But it's possible Canaro was also there for business, as the Apollo had changed hands, and the Florida engagement was no more.

On October 5, the Canaro Orchestra played at the
Teatro Maravillas, in Madrid. But Demare was not with them, he had stayed behind in Paris. Francisco Canaro arrived in Paris in late October or early November, with Fugazot and Irusta in tow, and introduced them to Demare. All of them then traveled in Canaro's Renault from Paris to Madrid, and Canaro floated the idea of forming a Trío.

Since early November, the Canaro Orchestra had moved to the Maipu Pigall’s in Madrid. On November 25, 1927, the Trío appeared for the first time at the Maravillas, in a vignette entitled “Aires pampeanos”, as part of the revue “Noche loca”.

They were an instant success.

Gardel was in town too, singing at the Royalty. They spent New Year's Eve together with Canaro, Gardel and the Trío sang that night. On Wednesday January 11, 1928, the Trío and the Canaro Orchestra organized a monster party in honor of Gardel. Three days later Gardel recorded Demare’s tango Dandy.

Canaro soon returned to Buenos Aires, and his Orchestra folded at the Maipu Pigall's. The Trio played at the Maravillas until February 26. It was rumored that the management of the theater wanted to throw a party in recognition of their success, but apparently the offer was rejected. With this the Trío entered the Spanish lore, their life stories became the stuff of gossip columns in Spain.

Along with their success in Madrid, came a recording contract. They moved to Barcelona and recorded their first track, Por el camino, on February 28, 1928. For the next 3 years the Trío recorded for La Voz de su Amo, Gramophone UK’s subsidiary in Spain (His Master’s Voice). Their recordings sold like hotcakes in Spain, their popularity was enormous. Their repertory included plenty of Argentinian folk sons, from Gatos to the "Pericón Nacional".

Spring of 1928 was a very busy season, a veritable Tango-fever took over Barcelona. Amongst others, Bianco-Bachicha played at the Teatro Nuevo, with their star violinist Agesilao Ferrazzano, and singer Teresa Asprella. On March 10, Demare's Orquesta Típica Argentina debuted at the Principal Palace in the Ramblas. Demare formed his new Orchestra with his father Domingo on violin, and his brother Lucas on bandoneon. Héctor Artola (formerly with Bianco-Bachicha) and Pedro Polito (formerly with Canaro) on bandoneons, and four other musicians (violins, bass, drums), completed the formation. Over the next 3 years, musicians that joined in the Típica included Antonio Romano and Alberto Celenza (bandoneons); Víctor Hugo, Bernardo Stalman, Jesús Fernández and Samuel Reznick (violins); and Romualdo Lomoro (drums, also formerly with Canaro).

In May the Trío started recording with the Orchestra too. The Orchestra's repertory leaned heavily on Tango, and highlighted some of Demare's early compositions.

They played at the Palace until mid June.

They were very popular in Barcelona, the press kept talking about them. In late November there was a melee in a cabaret where they were performing, because Irusta had publicly expressed his sympathies for a local soccer team. 
In December they celebrated their first anniversary with a series of concerts at the Salón Doré at the Granja Royal.

The Trío and the Típica recorded two Movietone videos in February 1929. Sadly they are lost (or so it seems).

In April 1929 they played for few weeks at the Cine Avenida, in Madrid.

As part of the celebration of the International Exposition, the Trío opened a contest for the lyrics of a tango composed by Demare in honor of Barcelona. 

Señorita Pilar Canosa won the contest.

They were very busy recording through June 1929, then paused. Fugazot traveled to New York a few days after Osvaldo Fresedo arrived in New York, he was in transit to La Habana, where he arrived on October 16. The Trio returned to the studios in May 1930. In June of the same year they were at the Empire in Paris.

They went back to Madrid in November 1930, and played at the Alkázar and the Latina.

On December 1 they left Spain, and went on a tour of Latin America through 1931, visiting Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Perú and others.

The Demare family arrived in Buenos Aires in January 1932, presumably Irusta and Fugazot arrived earlier. In Buenos Aires the Trío recorded a few tracks with Canaro, and a gorgeous version of the vals Lupe with Osvaldo Fresedo.

The Trio (and some members of the Típica, including Lucas Demare) returned to Spain in early 1933, and for the next year recorded a few more tracks for La Voz de su Amo. They also starred in two movies, Boliche and Aves sin rumbo, directed by Antonio Graciani. Lucas moved on to movie-making.

They went back to Argentina in 1936 when the Spanish Civil War broke out. They started their own solo careers, Demare formed a new Orchestra with new singers.

The Trio had a reunion-tour in 1948 in Cuba, and recorded some tracks there.

The discography of the Trío and the Típica can be found here.


1. El Tango en España by Juan Manuel Peña (Abrazos, 2010)
2. El Tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes by Oscar Zucchi (Corregidor, 1998)
3. Mis bodas de oro con el tango by Francisco Canaro (Corregidor, 1957)
4. Interview with Lucio Demare, by Eduardo Soriano, 1974 (todotango.com)


1. Leonardo Palludi in Porto, for his invaluable input to this article and the Discography.
4. Camilo Gatica y Mark John, for their incredible work restoring glory to the sound of an era.

Revision history

1. The original version of this article is being published on March 21, 2022


To Emilio and Rosita in Barcelona 💚