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Pregonera (1945)

Flower Girl [1]
lyrics by José Rótulo
music by Alfredo De Angelis

Blonde and ivory princess, she was queen
of my idealistic youthful dreams:
the one who peddled flowers
on an April day,
I remember her on the streets of Paris.
A red rose for you sir,
as red as the longings of love,
white roses and carnations,
white and bright as dreams
the princess goes on calling down the street.

A caress and a carnation
for your lapel, for your love.
The carnation is made of dreams,
my heart of scarlet red.
And the afternoon began to die,
and I’m followed by her cry:
A little caress and a carnation,
the carnation was the only thing left.

Blonde and ivory princess where’d you go?
Where’s your subtle laughter, I’d like to know?
With your flowers’ wilted blooms
my dreams die too.
And I hear the faint echo of your voice.
It is like an endless whisper
that goes on stirring my unease,
it’s the crazy fantasy
that I’m dreaming all over again—
once again I’m happy with your song.

Orquesta Alfredo De Angelis, singers Julio Martel & Carlos Dante (1945)

Orquesta Juan D’Arienzo, singer Armando Laborde (1945)

Orquesta Francisco Canaro, singers Guillermo Rico & Alberto Arenas (1945)

Libertad Lamarque (1945)

Orquesta Osvaldo Pugliese, singers Jorge Maciel & Alfredo Belusi (1961)

Orquesta Juan D’Arienzo, singers Armando Laborde & Osvaldo Ramos (1969)

[1] The word pregón originally referred to a medieval-style oral proclamation delivered in the central square or plaza (“Oyez, oyez, oyez!” “Hear ye, hear ye, by order of His Majesty the King…” &cetera), and the pregonero was the town crier who delivered them. 
By the early 20th century in Buenos Aires, the word had come to refer to the street peddlers who hawked their wares throughout the neighborhoods with loud cries. Since the pregonera in this song is a pretty girl selling flowers, I’ve decided to call her a “flower girl,” like Eliza Doolittle.

(Spanish original after the jump)

Pregonera

Princesita rubia de marfil
dueña de mi sueño juvenil,
la que pregonando flores
un día de abril,
recuerdo por las calles de París.
Una rosa roja para usted,
roja como el ansia de querer,
rosas y claveles blancos,
blancos de ilusión
y sigue la princesa su pregón.

Un cariño y un clavel
para el ojal, para el querer.
El clavel es de ilusión,
mi corazón rojo punzó.
Y la tarde fue muriendo,
y el pregón me va siguiendo:
Un cariñito y un clavel,
sólo el clavel, lo que quedó.

Princesita rubia de marfil,
¿dónde fue tu risa tan sutil?
Junto con tus flores muertas
muere mi ilusión.
Y escucho el eco tenue de tu voz.
Es como un susurro sin cesar,
que va despertando mi ansiedad,
es mi fantasía loca
que vuelve a soñar—
de nuevo soy feliz con tu cantar.

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.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Pregonera (1945)

  1. Lovely song and nice translation. I wonder which Alfredo De Angelis is your favourite?

    Posted by Practica El Beso | 02.26.2015, 1:18 PM
    • Hi Isabella,
      Lovely to hear from you, and thank you for your compliment! The De Angelis version I posted here, with Martel & Dante, is my favorite. I don’t find the later one (’64, I think, Godoy & Mancini?) as appealing.
      Un abrazo,
      Derrick

      Posted by Derrick Del Pilar | 02.26.2015, 1:31 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, from http://www.tangotunes.com/ and others can be found on iTunes (transfer quality varies widely). Many CDs are available through online retailers such as Michael Lavocah's superb http://milonga.co.uk/.

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