poesía de gotán:

Charlemos (1940)

Let’s Chat
lyrics by Luis Rubinstein

Retiro 60-11?*
May I please speak to Renée?
She doesn’t live there? Wait, don’t hang up—
could I just talk with you, miss?

Don’t hang up…this afternoon is so dreary,
and I feel so sentimental.
I already know that there is no René…
Let’s chat…you’ll do as well…

Chatting makes me happy…
life is so short…
Let’s dream together
on this gray, rainy afternoon.

Let’s talk of love…
we can be just Man and Woman
and your voice
can lessen my cruel anguish
just a bit.

Let’s chat, nothing more,
I am captive
to a dream so fleeting
that I don’t even live it.

Let’s chat, nothing more,
and deep in my heart,
listening to you, I feel the beat
of another emotion…

What’s that you say? Let’s get together?
Let’s just keep up this charade…
Let’s talk, without meeting,
heart to heart.
No, I can’t see you, miss…
it’s hurtful, yes I know…
How I would love to love you!
But please forgive me…I am blind…

*In the early days of telephone service, you had to identify the local exchange when placing a call. Exchanges were often named for neighborhoods, streets, or significant landmarks (see also Glenn Miller’s famous song from the same era, “PEnnsylvania 6-5000“). Interestingly, the original sheet music for “Charlemos” says that the exchange is “Belgrano 60-11″ rather than Retiro. Both are relatively affluent neighborhoods on the north side of Buenos Aires.

Orquesta Carlos Di Sarli, singer Roberto Rufino

Orquesta Francisco Canaro, singer Ernesto Famá

(Spanish original after the jump)


¿Retiro (Belgrano) sesenta once?
Quisiera hablar con Renée…
¿No vive allí?… No, no corte…
¿Podría hablar con usted?

No cuelgue… La tarde es triste.
Me siento sentimental.
Renée ya sé que no existe…
Charlemos… Usted es igual…

Charlando soy feliz,
la vida es breve.
Soñemos en la gris
tarde que llueve.

Hablemos de un amor,
seremos Ella y Él,
y con su voz
mi angustia cruel
será más leve…

Charlemos, nada más,
soy el cautivo
de un sueño tan fugaz
que ni lo vivo.

Charlemos, nada más,
que aquí, en mi corazón,
oyéndola siento latir
otra emoción…

¿Qué dice? ¿Tratar de vernos?
Sigamos con la ilusión…
hablemos sin conocernos
corazón a corazón…
no puedo… no puedo verla…
es doloroso, lo sé…
¡Cómo quisiera quererla!
Soy ciego…perdóneme. . .

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.


8 thoughts on “Charlemos (1940)

  1. Thanks! JC

    Posted by Joe Caldwell | 05.22.2013, 10:57 AM
  2. One of my favourite bittersweet Di Sarli/Rufino tangos. Thanks so much.

    Posted by Patricia | 05.22.2013, 12:27 PM
  3. As I never understood the lyrics before, this was great. Thank you

    Posted by Jerry | 05.22.2013, 5:43 PM
  4. Thanks to the explanation of the words for the telephone exchange designation. Now I have to figure out how it worked in the old days in the old country if I ever hope to get it translated 🙂

    Posted by Dmitry Pruss (aka MOCKBA) | 05.23.2013, 9:14 PM
  5. I’m coming very late to this one, but I just noticed the difference in the phone number districts between different versions, and googling threw up some additional info. According to todotango,

    “Eso sí, hubo un inconveniente. La letra original comenzaba con este verso: «¿Retiro sesenta once?», coincidiendo, por mera casualidad, con el número telefónico de la estación así llamada. Las bromas comenzaron a abundar. Cuando la telefonista de la estación respondía, solía oír a través del tubo: «Quisiera hablar con Renée». Las quejas del ferrocarril llevaron a Rubistein a cambiar Retiro por Belgrano.”

    In other words, the telephone number of the railway station at Retiro was 6011, and the operator quickly got sick of prank callers ringing up to speak to Renee, so the railroad persuaded the composer to change from Retiro to Belgrano.

    Posted by Iain | 04.17.2017, 1:03 AM
    • Wonderful find! Thank you for sharing–I had a nice chuckle thinking of an exasperated station agent grumbling about “Those damn kids and their newfangled popular music…”

      Posted by Derrick Del Pilar | 04.17.2017, 8:16 AM

Leave a Reply to poesiadegotan Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Donate to Poesía de Gotán

Your donations can help pay for this website and domain!

Visit PayPal.me/derrickdelpilar to donate.


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.
%d bloggers like this: