poesía de gotán:

Yo me llamo “Juan te quiero” (1934)

I’m Called “Juan-I-Love-You”[1] (milonga)
lyrics by Fernán Silva Valdés

You’re a dark lady forged
by pleasure and slander.
I’ve taken you for carriage rides
from Palermo down to the riverbank.[2]

You’re a dark lady, tempered
by men’s fiery passion.
You’re like a dagger blow
struck right through my heart.

I’m called “Juan-I-love-you”
and you’re María the Tease.
your teasing just kills me,
and you never throw out a single “yes”
for this kid, “Juan-I-love-you.”
Cover to original sheet music, c. 1934

[1]As the image of the original sheet music shows, the words “Juan te quiero” are in quotation marks on the cover, indicating that “Juan I love you” is the boy’s nickname. This suggests that he is prone to lavishing declarations of undying love on every girl he meets.
[2]The Spanish term here is “la olada,” literally, “where the waves hit.”

Orquesta Francisco Canaro, singer Ernesto Famá

(Spanish original after the jump)

Yo me llamo “Juan te quiero”

Vos sos la china fogueada
en el placer y en el ultraje.
Te he paseado en un carruaje
de Palermo hasta la olada.
y sos la china templada
en el fuego del varón.
Sos como una puñalada
pegada en el corazón.

Yo me llamo “Juan te quiero”
y vos María changui,
Por ese changui me muero,
y a este mozo Juan te quiero
nunca le largás el “sí.”

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.


4 thoughts on “Yo me llamo “Juan te quiero” (1934)

  1. I had only heard a completely different song with a similar title: “A mi me llaman Juan tango”. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Canaro milongas of this period (early to mid 30s), but Canaro milongas of late 30s… now we’re talking. Nevertheless, interesting lyrics… very tricky to translate, yet superb job, as usual!

    Posted by Jaimito | 12.30.2010, 3:28 PM
  2. Dear DDP, your selections are “the best”and the site is perfect! Now having said that, I wonder if you could add more info such as name of CD and where to purchase?
    Wishful thinking……..Sabina

    Posted by sabina Hascup | 02.15.2011, 6:36 PM
  3. Beautiful song, makes me want to change my name…!

    Posted by Dieudonne Dang | 07.13.2011, 8:31 PM

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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.