Agustín Lara

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Agustín Lara
Agustin Lara en 1941 - Revista Ecran (cropped).jpg
Agustin in the Chilean magazine Ecran from September 1941
BornOctober 30, 1897[1]
Tlacotalpan, Veracruz[1]
DiedNovember 6, 1970(1970-11-06) (aged 73)
Mexico City, Mexico
WivesMaría Félix[2]
Yolanda Santacruz Gasca
Rocio Duran[3]
Clara Martínez[4]
Vianey Lárraga
Agustín Lara Lárraga (adopted son)
FatherJoaquín M. Lara[1]
MotherMaría Aguirre del Pino de Lara[1]

Ángel Agustín María Carlos Fausto Mariano Alfonso del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Lara y Aguirre del Pino[5] (Spanish pronunciation: [aɣusˈtin ˈlaɾa]; October 30, 1897 – November 6, 1970),[6] known as Agustín Lara, was a Mexican composer and interpreter of songs and boleros. He is recognized as one of the most popular songwriters of his era. His work was widely appreciated not only in Mexico but also in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Spain. After his death, he has also been recognized in the United States, Italy and Japan.

Notable performers of his work include Pedro Vargas who was a friend, Juan Arvizu, Nestor Mesta Chayres, Pedro Infante, Javier Solís, Julio Iglesias, Manuel Mijares, Vicente Fernandez, Luis Miguel, Perez Prado, Chavela Vargas and Natalia Lafourcade among others.

Outside the Spanish speaking world, his most famous songs are Granada, Solamente Una Vez (You Belong to My Heart) and Piensa en mí, which have both been recorded by numerous international singers, including Enrico Caruso, Mario Lanza and José Carreras.


The Eng. Guillermo González Camarena, with Agustín Lara.

Lara was born in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz to Joaquín Lara and Mara Aguirre del Pino.[1] 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.[1]

Lara's first musical composition was Marucha, written in honor of one of his first loves. In 1927 he already was working in cabarets. It was around this time that he was involved in an argument with a showgirl named Estrella, who slashed him in the face with a broken bottle, leaving a distinct scar (a Glasgow smile) on his cheek.[7] He subsequently moved to Puebla, but returned to Mexico City in 1928.[8] 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.

Statue of A. Lara in Madrid, by sculptor Humberto Peraza

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.

In 1934 he went to Los Angeles, where he did multiple concerts at the California Theatre. He would later return to the city to write songs for Tropic Holiday (1938), a musical film.[9]

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.

His career was portrayed in the 1959 Mexican film The Life of Agustín Lara.

In 1968, Lara's health began to decline rapidly; and a fall that occurred on October 16, 1970 fractured his pelvis. He was hospitalized under the false name of Carlos Flores, but the press learned about his hospitalization anyway. The next day, October 17, 1970, he experienced cardiorespiratory arrest in the elevator while being transferred to the intensive care unit.[10] He never regained consciousness, and on November 6, 1970, Lara died.[7] He was buried in Mexico City. By the time of his death, Lara had written more than 700 songs.

A biography of him, "Agustín Lara: Vida y Pasiones", was written by his friend Javier Ruiz Rueda.[11]


Grave of Agustín Lara
External audio
audio icon You may hear Lara's bolero Granada as sung by Nestor Mesta Chayres with la Orquesta Alfredo Antonini and John Serry Sr. in 1946 here on

Agustín was a son of Joaquín Lara and his wife María Aguirre y Pino.[12] He had an aunt named Refugio Aguirre del Pino and younger sister, María Teresa Lara.[13][14] He married María Félix and Rocío Durán (whom he adopted)[15] and was a stepfather to the actor Enrique Álvarez Félix, who died in 1996.[16]

Sons of Lara are Gerardo Agustín Lara Santacruz (with sixth wife Yolanda Santacruz Gasca)[17] and Agustín Lara Lárraga (biological son of actress Vianey Lárraga,[18] one of Lara's wives).[19]

Lara also had a stepmother.

Selected filmography[edit]

  • Melodies of America (1941)
  • Mujer en condominio (1958) including the song "Arroyito", composed and sung by Lara in the film


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Agustín Lara, one of Mexico's most popular singers and composers". Mexicanist. Mexicanist. October 30, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  2. ^ Félix, María (1993). María Félix, todas mis guerras, Volume II (all my battles). Santa Barbara, CA, USA: ABC-Clio. p. 53. ISBN 9789686932058.
  3. ^ "Yolanda Santacruz Gasca". October 26, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Lara’s biography
  5. ^ "La madre de todas las trivias". M Semanal (in Spanish). January 29, 2012. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  6. ^ Rita Pomade, "A legend in his time: composer Agustin Lara",, retrieved August 23, 2019
  7. ^ a b "AGUSTIN LARA, POET AND COMPOSER, DIES". The New York Times. New York, NY, USA. November 7, 1970.
  8. ^ 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. JSTOR 767972.
  9. ^ Kun, Josh (2017). "Introduction". The Tide Was Always High: The Music of Latin America in Los Angeles. Oakland: University of California Press. p. 25. ISBN 9780520294400.
  10. ^ Diaz Barriga, Carlos (November 8, 2020). "Agustín Lara… lo inmoral, el deseo y el pecado (Agustín Lara ... the immoral, desire and sin)". Milenio. Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  11. ^ Andrew Grant Wood (June 13, 2014). Agustin Lara: A Cultural Biography. Oxford University Press. pp. 252–254. ISBN 978-0-19-989246-4.
  12. ^ José Garcia. "Agustín Lara and Tlatlauquitepec". Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  13. ^ "Maria Teresa Lara". IMDb.
  14. ^ "Song: Piensa en mí". February 22, 1936. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  15. ^ "Life of Lara". Archived from the original on February 20, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  16. ^ Félix, María (1994). Todas mis Guerras. Clío. p. 84. ISBN 968-6932-08-9.
  17. ^ Luis Miguel Madrid (October 21, 2004). "Rodríguez, Dionisio. Agustín Lara "El Schubert Jarocho"". Archived from the original on August 28, 2019. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  18. ^ "Agustín Lara".
  19. ^ "Biography of Agustín Lara". Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2013.

External links[edit]