José Lucchesi: a mysterious tango musician (made in Brazil)

José María Lucchesi was born José Marcos Lucchesi in Sorocaba, Brazil, in 1897. Lucchesi played mainly the accordion, but also piano, harmonica and guitar. Lucchesi went to France in the 1920s and became a French citizen in 1942. He died in Paris on February 10th, 1989.

Very little information on Lucchesi is available on the Internet. High Castle Teleorkestra refers to Lucchesi as the Argentinian composer of one of the tracks in their upcoming debut album (“Ich Bin’s“).

Surprisingly enough, Lucchesi is actually Brazilian, born on March 29, 1897, in the city of Sorocaba, countryside of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil [1] [2] [3] [4].

According to BibleTango, he comes from a family of Corsican immigrants. Lucchesi’s connections with Argentina, if any, remain unknown.

According to Richard Stroll, “Lucchesi moved to France in the 20s for the tangomania (just like other south American artists*) and started to perform and record. In Paris he met Gardel and dedicated one of his tangos ‘Gaby Morlay‘ to the French actress whom Gardel had an emotional affair. Later he provided the music for one of her films Acusée (by Maurice Torneur, 1930)”.

* Speaking of South-American musicians who made a career in France, there is also the case of Oscar Alemán, acclaimed by many as the South-American Django Reinhardt.

Unlike José Lucchesi, Oscar Alemán was born in Argentina and lived in Brazil (in Santos) before moving to France, where he would become famous, like Lucchesi, in early-20th-century Paris.

In 1942 Lucchesi was naturalized in France. The name of his orchestra was Orchestre sud-américain José M. Lucchesi. With this Orchestra he recorded tangos, valses and paso dobles in a very broad spectrum.

Lucchesi recorded his tangos mainly in Europe, especially in Germany, France and Spain, sometimes under the pseudonym “Leal Pescador” (the loyal fisherman), as fishing was one of his favourite passtimes, or else Jose Maria de Lucchesi.

Very interesting for Milongas are the early Tangos from the 20s and 30s, which are very Argentinean flavoured. Later, his style was more adapted to European audiences. Interestingly, he started (like Canaros musicians) to wear “Gaucho” uniforms during his performances.

Richard Stroll, The Educated Tanguero (blog), 07/23/2015
Orchestre Sud-Americain Jose M. Lucchesi. Requiem de amor. 1930.
Orchestre Sud-Americain Jose M. Lucchesi. Bello sueno. 1932.
Orchestre Sud-Americain Jose M. Lucchesi. Calida emocion. 1932.
Orchestre Sud-Americain Jose M. Lucchesi. Tango vidalita.

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