poesía de gotán:

La milonga de Buenos Aires (1939)

The Milonga of Buenos Aires
lyrics by Ivo Pelay
music by Francisco Canaro

To your majestic sound
I saw you pass today
through my big city
and in you I discovered
the exact copy
of one that I had forgotten,
and that, like you,
was a porteña

You are the flower of Buenos Aires,
the beautiful little porteña,
worthy successor of the beautiful one
who used to stride majestically
through that big village [1]
of colonial windows
and Federalist troops on patrol. [2]

You are the flower of Buenos Aires
the little idolized porteña
faithful copy of that iconic image
that has been gone a long time.

Orquesta Francisco Canaro, singer Ernesto Famá

[1] The original Spanish words here are “Gran Aldea” [“big village”] a reference to a classic novel of Argentine literature written by Lucio Vicente López, grandson of Vicente López y Planes, who served as an interim President of Argentina and wrote its national anthem.
[2] A euphemistic reference to the mazorcas of Juan Manuel de Rosas.

(Spanish original after the jump)

La milonga de Buenos Aires

Al son de tu majestad
hoy pasar te vi
por mi gran ciudad,
y en vos descubrí
que la copia sos
de una que olvidé,
y que, como vos,
porteña fue…

Sos la flor de Buenos Aires,
porteñita primorosa,
digna nieta de la bella
que paseaba majestuosa,
en aquella gran aldea
de ventanas coloniales
y patrullas federales.

Sos la flor de Buenos Aires
porteñita idolatrada,
copia fiel de aquella estampa
que hace tiempo que se fue.

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.


3 thoughts on “La milonga de Buenos Aires (1939)

  1. Here does the “you” refer to a woman he had known in the past, or is it the milonga itself which is personified as a woman?

    Posted by Vishu | 09.25.2010, 7:29 AM
    • Either. Or both. :).
      That’s the thing about poetry and lyrics…sometimes they are intentionally ambiguous.
      Though since the first line is, “At the sound of your majesty,” that will perhaps color most people’s interpretation.

      Posted by poesiadegotan | 09.25.2010, 6:11 PM


  1. Pingback: Canaro #2: Fast Milongas « DDP's Favorite Tandas - 10.25.2011

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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, 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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