poesía de gotán:

Buenos Aires (1923)

Buenos Aires
lyrics by Manuel Romero

Buenos Aires, the Queen of the Plata,
Buenos Aires, my beloved land,
listen now to my song—
my whole life has gone into it.

In my most orgiastic, fevered hours,
spent from pleasure and insanity,
I think of you, my homeland,
and my bitterness gets some relief.

Under the blanket of your porteño nights
tears and joys go hand in hand.
Laughter and kisses, played out parties—
all can be forgotten with a sip of champagne.

And outside the doors of the milonga
a little girl cries, begging for bread—
there’s a reason why the tango [1]
always sobs with some sorrow.

And to the grumbling beat of the fuelles [2]
a swell puts the moves on a girl,
and the violins cry out,
painting the soul of old Argentina. [3]

Buenos Aires, like any lover
the more distant you are, the more I must love you—
my whole life I will repeat:
“I’ll die before I forget you.”

Fiorentino does not sing the italicized verse in Troilo’s version; Florio does in Di Sarli’s.

Orquesta Aníbal Troilo, singer Francisco Fiorentino

Orquesta Francisco Lomuto (instrumental)

Trio Ciriaco Ortiz (instrumental)

Orquesta Carlos Di Sarli, singer Roberto Florio

[1] In the original, the word “tango,” as it often is in its lyrics, is put into vesre reversed-syllable slang: gotán.
[2] Fuelle (also sometimes spelled fueye, which is homophonous in Argentina), or “bellows,” is a slang term for the bandoneón.
[3] The original reads “the criollo soul.” Click through to glossary for more on this word.

(Spanish original after the jump)

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, la Reina del Plata,
Buenos Aires mi tierra querida,
escuchá mi canción—
que con ella va mi vida:

En mis horas de fiebre y orgía,
harto ya de placer y locura,
en ti pienso, patria mía,
para calmar mi amargura.

Noches porteñas, bajo tu manto
dichas y llanto muy juntos van.
Risas y besos, farra corrida—
todo se olvida con el champán.

Y a la salida de la milonga
llora una nena pidiendo pan—
por algo es que en el gotán
siempre solloza una pena.

Y al compás rezongón de los fuelles
un bacán a la mina la embrolla,
y el llorar del violín va
pintando el alma criolla.

Buenos Aires, cual a una querida
si estás lejos, mejor hay que amarte,
y decir toda la vida
“antes morir que olvidarte.”

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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