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Agustín Lara

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  • Born: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Died: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Years Active: 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

One of Mexico's seminal songwriters during the pre-war era, Agustin Lara wrote favorites including "Granada," "Solamente una Vez," "Maria Bonita," "Farolito," and "Palabras de Mujer." Lara excelled in a variety of song styles -- ranchera, bolero, tropical songs, even the occasional tango -- and brought a cosmopolitan flair to the Old West while vivifying many early Mexican films with his rich music. Born in 1897 in Mexico City (though he would often name Veracruz as his birthplace), Lara took piano lessons and ended up playing in a bordello until his father sent him to military school. He was soon back in the music world however, playing piano around Mexico City and, by 1928, having his compositions recorded. ("Imposible" was the first, by Adelaido Castelleda's orchestra.) He wrote most of his legendary songs between 1930 and 1939, while touring around South America and performing often on national radio. He also began composing for film, and contributed much to a golden era of Mexican film (basically from the mid-'30s to the late '40s) that roughly paralleled America's. During the '50s and early '60s, Lara cemented his international star status by touring Europe to wide acclaim. Though his popularity diminished in the '60s, he stepped back into the limelight several times before his death from a heart attack in 1970. Dozens of artists have performed Lara's songs, including Xavier Cugat, Desi Arnaz, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Lola Beltran, and Celia Cruz. On the centenary of his birth, Placido Domingo recorded a full album of Lara compositions, Por Amor.


Ángel Agustín María Carlos Fausto Mariano Alfonso del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Lara y Aguirre del Pino (Spanish pronunciation: [aɣusˈtin ˈlaɾa]; October 30, 1897– November 6, 1970), known as Agustín Lara was a Mexican singer, actor and songwriter.

^ Félix (1993), Volume 2, page 53.^ "Yolanda Santacruz Gasca". Eldictamen.mx. 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2014-01-30. ^ Lara’s biography^ Una Pasión y DOS Quijotes: Don Quijote de la Mancha y Agustín Lara by Beila Zider.^ Life and family of Agustín^ "La madre de todas las trivias". M Semanal (in Spanish). January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 


Lara was born in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz. Later, the Lara family had to move to Mexico City, establishing their house in the borough of Coyoacán. After their mother died, Agustín and his siblings lived in a hospice run by their aunt. It was there that he had his first contact with music.

Lara’s first musical composition was Marucha, written in honor of one of his first loves. In 1927 he already was working in cabarets. He subsequently moved to Puebla, but returned to Mexico City in 1928. That same year he started working for the tenor Juan Arvizu as composer and accompanist. In September 1930, Lara began a successful radio career. At the same time he acted and composed songs for such films as Santa.

Lara’s first tour, to Cuba in 1933, was a failure because of political turmoil on the island. Later, more successful tours in South America, as well as such new compositions as Solamente Una Vez (composed in Buenos Aires and dedicated to José Mojica), Veracruz, Tropicana, and Pecadora increased his fame.

By the beginning of the 1940s, Lara was well known in Spain. In 1965, the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, gave him a house in Granada to show his appreciation of Lara’s songs with Spanish themes, such as Toledo, Cuerdas de mi Guitarra, Granada, Seville and Madrid. He received additional honors and decorations from around the world.

In 1968, Lara’s health began to decline rapidly; an accident that fractured his pelvis further aggravated his condition. On November 6, 1970, Lara died. He was buried in Mexico City. By the time of his death, Lara had written more than 700 songs.

^ Araújo, Samuel (1999). "The Politics of Passion: The Impact of Bolero on Brazilian Musical Expressions". Yearbook for Traditional Music 31: 44. doi:10.2307/767972. ^ "AGUSTIN LARA, POET AND COMPOSER, DIES". The New York Times. November 7, 1970. 


Agustín was a son of Joaquín Lara and his wife María Aguirre y Pino. He had an aunt named Refugio Aguirre del Pino and younger sister, María Teresa Lara. He married beautiful María Félix and Rocío Durán (whom he adopted) and was a stepfather to the actor Enrique Álvarez Félix, who died in 1996.

Adopted sons of Lara are Gerardo Agustín Lara Santacruz (biological son of Lara’s sixth wife Yolanda Santacruz Gasca) and Agustín Lara Lárraga (biological son of actress Vianey Lárraga, one of Lara’s wives).

Lara also had a stepmother.

^ Cite error: The named reference ReferenceA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).^ José Garcia. "Agustín Lara and Tlatlauquitepec". Pueblo-tlatlauquitepec.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. ^ María Teresa Lara^ "Song: ''Piensa en mí''". Secondhandsongs.com. 1936-02-22. Retrieved 2014-01-30. ^ "Life of Lara". Archivo.elnuevodiario.com.ni. Retrieved 2014-01-30. ^ Félix, María (1994). Todas mis Guerras. Clío. p. 84. ISBN 968-6932-08-9. ^ Luis Miguel Madrid (2004-10-21). "Rodríguez, Dionisio. Agustín Lara "El Schubert Jarocho"". Babab.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. ^ Article about Agustín Lara on EcuRed^ Biography of Agustín Lara

Selected filmography[edit]

Melodies of America (1941)
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