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Malena (1942)

Malena
lyrics by Homero Manzi
music by Lucio Demare

Malena sings the tango as no one else can,
and she pours her heart into every verse.
Her voice is scented with suburban weeds,
Malena feels the pain of the bandoneón.
Perhaps in her distant youth, her lark’s voice
took on that dark back-alley tone,
or perhaps it was the affair she won’t speak of
unless she saddens herself with alcohol.
Malena sings the tango with a shadowy voice,
Malena feels the pain of the bandoneón.

Your song
carries the chill of a last goodbye…
your song
is bitter as the salt of memories…
I don’t know
if your voice is the bloom of a wound,
I just know that the sound of your tangos, Malena,
makes me feel that you are better,
better than me.

Your eyes are as dark as oblivion,
your lips are pressed together like rage,
your hands are two doves that feel a chill,
your veins pump the blood of the bandoneón.
Your tangos are abandoned creatures
crawling through the back-alley mud.
When all the doors are closed
and the ghosts of songs begin to weep,
Malena sings the tango with a broken voice,
Malena feels the pain of the bandoneón.

Orquesta Aníbal Troilo, singer Francisco Fiorentino 
(1942)

Orquesta Lucio Demare, singer Juan Carlos Miranda (1942)

Orquesta Lucio Demare, singer Hector Alvarado  (1951)

(Spanish original after the jump)

Malena

Malena canta el tango como ninguna
y en cada verso pone su corazón.
A yuyo del suburbio su voz perfuma,
Malena tiene pena de bandoneón.
Tal vez allá en la infancia su voz de alondra
tomó ese tono oscuro de callejón,
o acaso aquel romance que sólo nombra
cuando se pone triste con el alcohol.
Malena canta el tango con voz de sombra,
Malena tiene pena de bandoneón.

Tu canción
tiene el frío del último encuentro.
Tu canción
se hace amarga en la sal del recuerdo.
Yo no sé
si tu voz es la flor de una pena,
sólo sé que al rumor de tus tangos,
Malena,
te siento más buena,
más buena que yo.

Tus ojos son oscuros como el olvido,
tus labios apretados como el rencor,
tus manos dos palomas que sienten frío,
tus venas tienen sangre de bandoneón.
Tus tangos son criaturas abandonadas
que cruzan sobre el barro del callejón,
cuando todas las puertas están cerradas
y ladran los fantasmas de la canción.
Malena canta el tango con voz quebrada,
Malena tiene pena de bandoneón.

About Derrick Del Pilar

Born and raised in Chicago, I came to the tango while studying at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires in 2006. In 2008 I earned my B.A. with majors in Creative Writing and Spanish & Portuguese from the University of Arizona, and in 2009 I earned an M.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. My specialty is the history & literature of early 20th century Argentina.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Malena (1942)

  1. thank u very much, i missed so a Blog.

    nagdi from Munic

    Posted by Nagdi | 04.14.2009, 9:37 PM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Así se baila el tango (1942) « Poesía de gotán: The Poetry of the Tango - 03.11.2010

  2. Pingback: Demare #1: The Poetry of Homero Manzi « DDP's Favorite Tandas - 10.25.2011

  3. Pingback: Tango Poetry - dancedress.com - 11.07.2016

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The sound files on this site are included for illustrative purposes only. Those wishing to obtain high quality versions for their personal collections should purchase commercially available copies. If you can't get to a record store in Buenos Aires, a great many tangos are available, song by song, from http://www.tangotunes.com/ and others can be found on iTunes (transfer quality varies widely). Many CDs are available through online retailers such as Michael Lavocah's superb http://milonga.co.uk/.

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