poesía de gotán:

Veinticuatro de agosto (1943)

August 24th 
lyrics by Homero Manzi
music by Pedro Laurenz

August 24th— it’s been one whole year.
Not one night missed at my preferred café,
and after, out with all my favorite guys
to dance, to drink, to while the time away…
I haven’t touched my tools for one whole year,
I call my mother only once a month,
I stay awake when siesta time comes ’round,
at the stroke of six a.m., I go to bed.

I lived another life beside her love,
another life, so full of idle dreams:
The pleasure of working, joy of feeling free
of the corner dance hall, my preferred café.
I lived a handsome life beside her love:
my shirt was clean, and crisp, and pressed, and starched,
I wore a blazer, brushed it every Sunday,
and pinned a single rose over my heart.

Orq. Pedro Laurenz, singer Alberto Podestá

Orq. Ricardo Malerba, singer Orlando Medina

In Uruguay, August 24th is celebrated as Noche de la nostalgia, on the eve of their independence day. Manzi’s mother was Uruguayan…though the origins of the tradition postdate this tango by several decades. On an unrelated note, August 24th is also the birthday of the famous Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges.
(Spanish original after the jump)

Veinticuatro de agosto

Veinticuatro de agosto…ya hace un año
que no falto ni una noche del café,
y que salgo después con los muchachos
a bailar, a tomar y a no sé qué…
un año que no toco una herramienta
y que hablo con la vieja cada mes,
que despierto en las horas de la siesta
y me acuesto con el pito de las seis.

Al lado de su amor era otra vida,
otra vida, más llena de ilusión,
Placer de trabajar y estar cortado
del café, de la esquina, del salón.
Al lado de su amor era más lindo:
la camisa planchada al almidón,
el saco cepillado en los domingos
y una rosa tapando el corazón.

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.


7 thoughts on “Veinticuatro de agosto (1943)

  1. Alito asked the date today as usual. I told him it’s the 25th of August. He replied, there’s a tango by that name. No, I said, it’s the 24th of August. I knew that because I received your post. I have a book of all of Homero Manzi’s lyrics and showed Alito the page with the lyrics of 24th of August.

    Posted by jantango | 08.25.2011, 9:03 AM
    • How funny! I can see why a porteño might think that the tango was called “Veinticinco de agosto,” though, since that has been Uruguay’s Independence Day for almost 200 years, while the “Noche de la nostalgia” on the 24th was purportedly invented by radio DJs in the 1970s…so I still haven’t been able to ferret out any real significance in Manzi’s choice of that date for the title…but, though August 25th 1825 marks Uruguay’s independence from Brazil, on that day it also joined the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata…i.e., unified with today’s Argentina! This is also linked to another famous tango, recorded in a great instrumental by Di Sarli, as the men who declared independence were “Los 33 orientales,” the thirty-three men from the Eastern shore of the Río de la Plata. This started several years of war between Argentina and Brazil, culminating in Uruguay’s emergence as an independent state in 1828.

      Posted by poesiadegotan | 08.25.2011, 9:51 AM
  2. Thanks for the interesting story behind the title date. Alito isn’t a porteno, but has lived 79 of his 82 years in Buenos Aires. He was born in Mexico DF and is as porteno as anyone.

    Posted by jantango | 08.28.2011, 7:53 AM
  3. The 24th of August is Ricardo Malerba’s birthday (1905)! Pedro Láurenz wrote the music and recorded it on April 16 1943, and Malerba recorded it in the same year, on June 10. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it’s does make you wonder….There’s got to be some connection.

    Posted by Michael Krugman | 06.04.2013, 10:04 PM
  4. Hi Derrick,
    Thanks for your translation. I have two comments:
    1/ “despierto en las horas de la siesta” – I think this means, “I wake up at siesta time”
    2/ “Placer de trabajar y estar cortado / del café, de la esquina, del salón” – I think the meaning of estar cortado is to be cut off – he’s saying he was so happy with this woman that he was happy just to go to work and *not* go to the café or the dance hall.
    All the best

    Posted by Michael Lavocah | 02.06.2020, 9:00 AM


  1. Pingback: Laurenz #1: Vocals with Alberto Podestá « 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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