Juan Alais *


The Argentine guitarist/composer Juan Alais (1844 – 1914) had a British father and an Argentine mother, for that reason he was called Juan el Ingles in Buenos Aires. He started to play the guitar as soon as he heard his older brother Guilermo playing it. Obviously, he was talented, a fact that was difficult to accept for his brother, so in the end Guilermo abandoned the guitar.

Alais appeared for an audience the first time at an age of eleven years. Later he studied guitar under Gustavo Sosa Escalada and entered the profession as a guitar teacher. Later some considered him to be the first Argentine composer for guitar.

Alais was most famous because of his Argentine folk music that was published by Schnockel and after the taking-over of this firm by the music publisher and luthier Francisco Nuñez. His best-known works were Qué curiosa (a mazurka), Un momento (a waltz), La Chinita and La Perezosa.


The music by Juan Alais is strongly influenced by the traditional Argentine folk music, in this case a stanza/refrain form.

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