poesía de gotán:

Farol (1943)

lyrics by Homero Expósito
music by Virgilio Expósito

A humble neighborhood with houses
that reflect its tin sorrow.
A human neighborhood
whose stories are sung in tangos
while a distant clock chimes
at two in the morning.
A workers’ neighborhood,
a corner filled with memories
and a streetlamp…

Oh, streetlamp—
the things you must see these days!
Oh, streetlamp—
yesterday has gone away…
the shadows
that escape your gaze tonight
leave me, in the middle of my little alley,
sadder than ever before.

Your light
has the tango in its pocket
(smells like old cigarettes)
it has lost its shine and glimmer
and has become a cross to bear…

Orquesta Aníbal Troilo, singer Francisco Fiorentino

Orquesta Osvaldo Pugliese, singer Roberto Chanel

In the two most popular versions of this tango, an entire line is different. Fiorentino sings “has the tango in its pocket” and Chanel sing “smells like old cigarettes” which rhyme in the original Spanish.

You can also read Rick McGarrey’s translation, with comments and annotations.

(Spanish original after the jump)


Un arrabal con casas
que reflejan su dolor de lata.
Un arrabal humano
con leyendas que se cantan como tangos
y allá un reloj que lejos da
las dos de la mañana.
Un arrabal obrero,
una esquina de recuerdos y un farol…

¡las cosas que ahora se ven!
ya no es lo mismo que ayer…
la sombra
hoy se escapa a tu mirada,
y me deja más tristona
la mitad de mi cortada.
Tu luz,
con el tango en el bolsillo
(con olor a cigarrillo)
fue perdiendo luz y brillo
y es una cruz…

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.

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By title in Spanish


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, in meticulously digitized versions from http://www.tangotunes.com/ and others can be found on the iTunes music store or Amazon (transfer quality varies widely). Though he no longer has inventory available, Michael Lavocah's superb http://milonga.co.uk/ can help you determine which CDs might be best to buy used.
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