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Song of The Week

Santa Fe Tango

Song of the Week Compilation November 2017-May 2018

Prepared by Fer Robles

Song of the Week: Bahia Blanca,  (Instrumental Tango, 1957)

Orchestra: Carlos Di Sarli

Composer: Carlos Di Sarli

The song "Bahía Blanca" is homage to Carlos Di Sarli's hometown, located in the southwest province of Buenos Aires. It is a great example of an elegant, sophisticated tango. He recorded Bahia Blanca in 1957.

Di Sarli is known for his smooth, clean sound and powerful arrangements.  His music has an easy, danceable rhythm while being complex enough for advanced dancers to enjoy. His music has also been described as lyrical and playful. (

Please click on the link above to hear this beautiful rendition of Di Sarli’s music. The song will play in its entirety after which you can return to browse our newsletter. 

Song of the Week: Pensalo Bien,  (Tango, 1938)

Orchestra: Juan D’Arienzo

Singer: Alberto Echague

Music: Juan Jose Visiglo

Lyrics: Luis Alberto Lopez

This happy and danceable tango has become the hymn of tangueros worldwide. Its music brings dancers to the floor and those who do not hum its melody. Juan D’Arienzo recorded the song in 1938 with  singer Alberto Echagüe. The lyrics reflect tango music’s strains of heartbreak interwoven with the sheer joy of dance.  I will be playing Malena at Rufina Taproom inaugural milonga this Sunday, Dec. 3rd. 

Music link and lyrics (in Spanish and English) follow.  

Pensalo bien,

antes de dar ese paso, 

que tal vez mañana acaso 

no puedas retroceder. 

Pensalo bien, 

yo que tanto te he querido, 

y me has echado al olvido 

tal vez por otro querer.

Think carefully, 

before taking that step, 

because perhaps tomorrow 

you may not be able to step back.

Think carefully, 

I have loved you so much

and you have thrown me to the winds 

perhaps for another love.

Think carefully

before taking this step...

because tomorrow,

you may not be able to step back.

Think carefully … 

because I have loved you so much.

And now, you have thrown it away...

perhaps for another love.

Song of the Week: Malena- Demare (Tango, 1941) 

Music by Lucio Demare Orchestra

Lyrics: Homero Manzi

Singer:Hector Alvarado

This song, a fusion of music and poetry, captures the bohemian tango scene at the start of the 1940s.   Inspired by the mythical woman of milongas and cabarets, Argentine poet Homero Manzi wrote Malena. Who is Malena? No one knows for sure.  Tango historians argue that Malena is the synthesis of Manzi’s encounters with singers and muses in the tango scene in Buenos Aires and abroad.  His poem describes the downtrodden corners where tango originated, aptly described by this line in his poem:  “Her voice, carrying the scent of back alley weeds”. Orchestra leader Lucio  Demare,  a good friend of Manzi,  musicalized the poem in one evening in which both were at one of those places .  The singer that night sang Malena to the delight of those present.  Over the years, this jewel of tango music has inspired many dancers.  The lyrics and song are below. 


Malena sings the tango as no other

Pouring out her heart in every verse.

Her voice carries the scent of back alley weeds, 

Her sorrow is the pain of the bandoneón.

Perhaps, in her distant youth, her lark’s voice

Took on the tinge of dark pathways 

Or perhaps is the love affair she never speaks of 

Unless she’s seeking refuge in drink.

Malena sings the tango with the voice of a shadow,

Malena’s sorrow is that of the bandoneón

Your song

Holds the chill of a final meeting.

Your song

Made bitter from the ashes of remembrance.

I don’t know

If your voice is the bloom of sorrow,

I only know that in the murmur of your tangos, Malena,

I sense you are better,

So much better than me.

Your eyes are dark as oblivion,

Your lips, pursed with bitterness,

Your hands, two doves feeling the cold

And in your veins, bandoneón blood.

Your tangos are lonely strays

Who pace through grimy alleys

When all doors are locked

and howl away the phantoms of each song.

Malena sings the tango with a cracked voice,

Malena’s pain is that of the bandoneón.

Song of the week: Poema ( Tango, 1935) 

Orchestra: Francisco Canaro 

Music: Eduardo Bianco

Lyrics: Adolfo Melfi

Singer: A. Maida

 Poema is perhaps the most beloved tango outside Argentina. The main reason that Argentines may not love it, as much is that it sounds European and they are right (see the poster announcing Poema in Paris). The song was written for European audiences by Argentine music expatriates in the 1930s. In 1931, Bianco and Melfi composed the song on a train trip to Berlin inspired by the sound of train over the tracks.  Listen to the constant beat of the song and imagine that you are on the train.  The lyrics tell the history of Bianco’s, a violin player in an Argentine orchestra, who shot the pianist in the same orchestra after learning that his wife was cheating on him. Maybe he escaped to Paris to avoid justice.  The last verse of the poem captures all the drama.  This is a true fact. Enjoy the music. 

Of that intoxicating poem,

nothing now remains between you and me.

Through my sad farewell

you shall feel the emotion

of all my pain.


Song of the Week: Recuerdo,  (Instrumental Tango, 1944)

Orchestra: Osvaldo Pugliese

Music: Osvaldo Pugliese


This sublime song needs no introduction. Pugliese composed the music in the early 1920s and it was recorded by many early orchestras. The version that is most commonly played in milongas is his instrumental version of 1944. Enjoy!

Song of the Week: Café Dominguez,  (Tango, 1955)

Orchestra: Angel D’Agostino 

Music: Graciano de Leone

Words by Julian Centeya

At the sound of the first “compas” of this popular song, dancers eagerly search for a partner and hit the dance floor.  D’Agostino composed the music and incorporated a poem, recited by Julian Centeya, telling the story of a café on old Corrientes Street.  This café held special memories for the old milongueros; though we are distanced in time and culture, we can feel the twinge of memories from our own version of a bygone Café Dominguez.  DJs have a challenging time to pair this song with others as it has its unique style and rather late (1955) recording period-other D’Agostino great pieces are from the 1940s.  On behalf of SFT, we wish you a joyous and peaceful holiday!  A bailar! 

Song for New Year’s Eve: A Las Tres de la Mañana, (Instrumental Vals 1946)

Orchestra: Enrique Rodriguez

Composer: Julian Robledo 

This is a song to play to usher tango into the New Year.  It was composed by an Argentine living in the U.S. in 1919 and recorded by many U.S. orchestras under the title “Three o’clock in the morning” The song was recorded as a vals by Enrique Rodriguez Orchestra in 1946. Happy Tango New Year!


Song of the Week: No Te Apures Carablanca (Tango, 1942)

Orchestra: Lucio Demare

Singer: Juan Carlos Miranda

Composer: Roberto Garza

Lyrics: Carlos Bahr

If you are feeling a bit lonesome and reflective, this song is for you.  Argentines have a love affair with horses and this is one of few tango songs that feature a horse.  Bet you didn’t know that despite the many times you have danced to it.  In this case, a lonely rider on the way home from the saloon is singing to his horse about a lost love.  He tells the horse to slow down because there is no one waiting at home for him. He always arrives early as night falls, alone with his memories and regrets. Like in tango, there no rush to the end of the song as the joy is in the journey.  Here is the music, as well as a performance of the song by one of my favorite dance couples. 


Dance by Carlitos Espinoza and Noelia Hurtado

Song of the Week: Buscandote, (Tango, 1941)

Orchestra: Osvaldo Fresedo

Singer: Ricardo Ruiz

Composer: Eduardo Scalise

At the start of the golden era of tango (1940s), orchestra directors aimed to please different dancers and styles.  Some habitués preferred the intimacy of bars, cafes and dancehalls in the neighborhoods where tango originated, and orchestras played the rhythmic and energetic music that kept them dancing through the night.  Others preferred to dance tango in more elegant ballrooms, country clubs and other such swanky venues.  Orchestras at these venues not only played tango but also other popular genres such as fox trot and swing. Fresedo was perhaps the best exemplar of the latter.  The song of the week is an example of the salon style predominant in higher social classes of Buenos Aires in the 1940s.  While it’s a very danceable tune, there is nothing especially notable about the song or lyrics. Focus on the orchestra and instruments not common in other orchestras, such as the harp.  

Song of the week: Gricel  (see photo)

Composer: Mariano Mores

Lyrics: Jose Maria Contursi

Orchestra: Anibal Troilo (1942)

Singer: Francisco Fiorentino

This song is a classic tango love story. Contursi, a poet and tango music composer, travelled to the mountains near Cordoba to improve his health. Through the advice of friends, he stayed at the home of Susana Gricel Vigano and her family, and fell in love with Gricel. Thus began a love affair that lasted decades. Though Contursi would always return to his wife and children in Buenos Aires, he communicated with his muse through the poetry of his tango lyrics- the first of which was the tango Gricel. Years passed and Contursi added a number tangos inspired by Gricel to his collection. Much later, he became a widower and was consumed by depression and alcohol. Gricel decided to travel to Buenos Aires to help Contursi recover; a few months later, in 1967, they wed.  Gricel inspired his last tangos “otra vez Gricel” or “At last Gricel” – before his death in 1972.  The tango Gricel has been played by many orchestras. This is Anibal Troilo’s version with singer Fiorentino. 

 (Anibal Troilo, 194?)

If you are interested in the full history, here is a youtube video with a full account.

Song of the Week: Que te importa que te llore  “What do you care that I weep for you”-(Tango, 1942)

Orchestra: Miguel Calo

Music: Osmar Maderna and Miguel Calo

Singer: Raul Beron

This song has all the ingredients of a great tango: romance, beautiful melody, energy, drama, rhythm. The superb lyrics and music are born from the collaboration between Calo and pianist Osmar Maderna, and the voice of Raul Beron melds perfectly with the music, luring you to the dance floor.  Enjoy! 

Song of the Week: El Trece (Instrumental Tango, 1938)

Orchestra: Rodolfo Biagi

Music: Angel Villoldo

The Rodolfo Biagi and Juan D’Arienzo orchestras are the best examples of rhythmic tango music. Their music kicks up the energy on the dance floor and is usually played back to back to keep the energy high - particularly the instrumentals. Biagi and D’Arienzo sound similar because at one time they were together. Biagi was D’Arienzo’s pianist and music arranger before leaving to form his own orchestra. The song of the week is one example of Biagi’s rhythmic music that I am sure you have danced to many times. Enjoy.

Song of the Week: Oigo tu Voz (Tango, 1943)

Orchestra: Ricardo Tanturi

Singer: Enrique Campos

Music: Mario Canaro

“Oigo tu voz” or “I Hear Your Voice” is another example of a seamless combination of music, orchestra and singer. The voice of Campos is perfect for the lyrics and music.  The orchestra’s clear rhythmic beat leads the dancer to follow the phrases and pauses for a great dance.  Enjoy.  


Song of the Week: Abandono (Tango, 1937) 

Orchestra: Pedro Laurenz

Music: Pedro Maffia

Lyrics: Homero Manzi

Voice: Hector Farrell

Pedro Laurenz was a virtuoso bandoneon player. A member of early and influential tango ensembles such as Julio de Caro and Pedro Maffia, he brought a softer and more polished sound to these groups. Later, he established his own orchestra and produced a lyrical and emotional style that fits very well the late hours of any milonga when dancers are looking for more soulful music. Listen to his variations at the end of Abandono that invite endless spirals to complete the dance.  If you would like to recreate a full tanda experience, I recommend following songs:  Amurado (1940), Vieja Amiga (1938) and No me extrana (1940) and De Puro Guapo (1935) for combinations of a 12 minute immersion in the best of Laurenz.  They all end in musical spirals.  Enjoy. 


Song of the Week:  Reliquias Porteñas (Milonga, 1938)

Orchestra: Francisco Canaro

Singer: Roberto Maida

Music: Graciano De Leone

Canaro’s milongas are the most popular on the dance floor, particularly the instrumentals. This is one that you must have danced to many times. 


Song of the Week:  La Bordona (Instrumental Tango, 1958)

Orchestra: Osvaldo Pugliese

Music: Emilio Balcarcel 

Most dancers are familiar with Pugliese music in the 1940s. In the 1950s, Pugliese’s music becomes complex but magnificent. His orchestra is mature and symphonic. Tango aficionados follow Pugliese to concert halls to hear his music.  A few  songs of this period are danceable. La Bordona is one of them and experiment with a more dramatic style of dance.  


Song of the Week:  Mi Dolor  - My Sorrow (Instrumental Tango, 1957)

Orchestra: Alfredo de Angelis

Music: Carlos Marcucci (1930)

Composed by Marcucci in 1930, this song has been recorded by several other orchestras; the versions of D’Arienzo and De Angelis tend to be the favorites of DJs and dancers.   The instrumental  version by De Angelis is featured here. The D’Arienzo  version adds lyrics. Another good version is by the Hector Varela orchestra.  All were recorded in the late 1950s and thus the quality of their sound is very good, which enhances the dancing experience. Enjoy. 


Song of the Week:  Remembranza (Tango, 1943)

Orchestra: Ricardo Malerba

Music: Mario Melfi

Lyrics: Mario Battistela

Singer :  Orlando Medina

The song of this week continues our review of the so called “orquestas olvidadas” (forgotten orchestras). This time it’s Ricardo Malerba, composer and orchestra director. His orchestra is characterized for its romantic and rhythmic style. His main productions of songs were 38 songs between 1941 and 1945. This classic song- Remembranza- belongs to that period. Enjoy this week’s selection.


Song of the Week:  Recuerdo (Instrumental Tango, 1926)

Orchestra: Julio De Caro

Music: Osvaldo Pugliese

It’s time to introduce Julio de Caro in our reviews of tango music. In a previous song of the week, I introduced this great song (Recuerdo), composed by Osvaldo Pugliese and recorded in 1944. Julio De Caro pre-dated Pugliese with the first recording of Recuerdo in 1926. You can hear both versions here and decide which one you like better.  De Caro recorded this song with his sextet whereas Pugliese did it with a full orchestra. Also, by contrasting the two you can see the strong influence that De Caro had on Pugliese’s later success.  Many tango experts consider De Caro the pioneer of instrumental tango, in the same way that Gardel was for vocal tango. This period (late 1920s) is referred to as the decaraena stage of tango, when tango began moving from gritty backstreet bars to more upscale venues.  Members of De Caro’s sextet continued this evolution with their own orchestras, as is the case with Pedro Laurenz.

De Caro version of Recuerdo: De Caro Recuerdo.m4a

Pugliese version of Recuerdo: Pugliese Recuerdo.mp3

Song of the Week:  Oblivion (Instrumental New Tango, 1982)

Orchestra: Astor Piazzolla

Music: Astor Piazzolla

Last week, we reviewed Julio de Caro, a pioneer who profoundly changed tango music in the late 1920s. In the 1940s, Osvaldo Pugliese was a major influence on tango music composition and interpretation. To complete this review of inflexion points in tango evolution we introduce Astor Piazzolla.  As a great bandoneonist, composer and arranger for other traditional orchestras, Piazzolla introduces classical music, jazz and opera to revolutionize tango music in the early 1960s with the creation of his Quinteto Nuevo Tango. This period is the start of the so-called Tango Nuevo.  Oblivion is perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments, written for a symphony orchestra. Although perhaps not danceable in milongas, it is a hauntingly beautiful and majestic tango piece. 


Song of the Week:  Un Lamento (Tango, 1929, 1944, 1952)

Orchestra:  Carlos Di Sarli

Music: Graciano De Leone

This week we will trace the evolution of the Carlos Di Sarli orchestra over several decades. Di Sarli formed his first orchestra in 1927 with a small sextet of musicians and a rhythmic and harmonic style. His early recording of the song “Un Lamento” exemplifies this style. His second orchestra, formed in 1938 with a larger group of 10-12 musicians played a more flowing style typical of other orchestras in the 1940s. With the formation of yet another orchestra in 1951, his style changed to a more dramatic and symphonic music style. In all periods, Di Sarli maintained a clear and elegant sound with a marked compas in which all instruments play at all times. It is this clarity in the music and richness of the orchestral instrumentation that makes Di Sarli’s music such a pleasure to dance to. As you listen to the different versions of the same song, note the constant style and variations in tempo over time. 

Song of the Week:  Flores del Alma “Soul Flowers” (Vals, 1942)

Orchestra:  Alfredo De Angelis

Singers: Carlos Dante and Julio Martel

Music: Juan Larenza

Lyrics: Alfredo Lucero and Lito Bayardo

This beloved vals features two voices that take turns to describe lost love, regrets and memories of loved ones who we will never see again - their souls have turned into flowers. The vals is great to dance to and the lyrics are sad and lovely, incorporating the emotions of longing brought up by the music.

For a full version of the lyrics go to the following page:

The music:

Song of the Week: Solamente Ella (Tango, 1944) 

Orchestra:  Francisco Lomuto

Singer:  Alberto Rivera

Music: Lucio Demare

Lyrics: Homero Manzi

Francisco Lomuto was a prolific orchestra leader, composer and contributor to tango music. His contribution spans from 1923 when he formed his first orchestra (a sextet) to 1950.  In that period, he recorded close 1000 songs.  Thus, Lomuto is a must for tango music collectors. The song featured this week is an example of his smooth and soft sound to tango music. The music was written by another famous orchestra composer we have featured here, Lucio Demare and the lyrics are by Argentine poet- Homero Manzi. The final product is a brilliant tango composition. 


Song of the Week: Pescadores de Perlas – Pearl Fishers (Instrumental Tango, 1968)

Orchestra:  Florindo Sassone

Music: George Bizet

I played this song at our recent mixed music milonga at Dance Station and received a number of inquiries about its origin. The music is the aria of Bizet’s Les Pecheurs de Perles adapted for tango by Sassone - a contemporary of Di Sarli. Another popular aria in tango is Bizet’s Carmen. For a good review of crossover classical music played at milongas check this site:


Song of the Week:  Felicia (Instrumental Tango, 1932)

Orchestra: Adolfo Carabelli

Music: Enrique Saborido

Like Francisco Lomuto, an orchestra profiled here, Adolfo Carabelli made a large contribution to tango music in the early 1930s. His contribution was very short lived however as most of his recordings are from 1931-35. His orchestra featured a number of talented musicians who in turn formed their own orchestras such as Elviro Vadaro, Luis Petrucelli, Mario Marcucci and Ciriaco Ortiz. Trained in classical music in Italy and an accomplished pianist, Carabelli excels as a conductor and arranger. This song has been recorded by other orchestras but Carabelli’s version seems to be more appreciated by tango dancers. 

Song of the Week:  Ella es Asi  (Milonga, 1938)

Orchestra: Edgardo Donato

Singer: Horacio Lagos

Music: Luis Martino

Lyrics: Manuel Carretero

A true classic milonga played by many DJs along with other great Donato milongas.  Donato’s rhythmic and playful rendition of Ella es Asi (That is How She Is) brings full dance energy to the floor.

Song of the Week:  Siete Palabras  (Instrumental Tango, 1945)

Orchestra:  Carlos Di Sarli

Music: Juan Maglio (1930)

In 1930, Juan Maglio re-wrote a 1912 tango popular in the brothels of Buenos Aires  and recorded this song in 1930 under a new, less salacious, title of siete palabras (seven words). Some say the new title refers to the seven words of Jesus before dying. Regardless of the interpretation, Di Sarli provides a classic rendition of this old song. He recorded it in 1945 and 1952; the music reproduced here is the 1952 version. 

Song of the Week:  Desde el Alma  (Instrumental Vals, 1979)

CD: Bailando Tango – dancing tango – Osvaldo Pugliese – EMI (520433)

Orchestra:  Osvaldo Pugliese

Music: Rosita Melo 

Lyrics: Homero Manzi

Uruguayan born, Rosita Melo composed Desde el Alma when she was a teenager  sometime between 1911-17. Later in 1948, Argentine poet Homero Manzi re-wrote the lyrics for the vals and those are the ones that are known to most tango music listeners. 

Despite his great contribution to tango music, Pugliese recorded few valses. The few he recorded were magnificent.  His beautiful instrumental  rendition of this classic vals is perhaps the most frequently played.  “Desde el Alma” is the epitome of a classic Viennese vals and commonly used in birthday celebrations and weddings. 

July 2018

Song of the Week:  Ojos Negros   (Instrumental Tango)

CD: Sus Ultimos Instrumentales – Anibal Troilo – BMG Argentina (63719), 1998

Orchestra:  Anibal Troilo

Music: Vicente Greco

This beautiful tango is inspired by the classic Russian song Ochy Chomye. Unlike many other Argentine tango composers, Vicente Greco did not study music and was a self-taught musician and orchestra leader in the early 1920s. He composed a number of tango classics that we dance to today such as Racing Club, Don Juan, La Viruta, El Flete and Rodriguez Pena. His song Ojos Negros is one of his most accomplished compositions as well as one of his last, as he died at only 36 years of age in 1924.  This rendition by Anibal Troilo is part of his last instrumental recordings from 1965-1970.  Other recordings of Ojos Negros worth noting are those of Pugliese, Di Sarli and De Caro. 

Song of the Week:  La Melodia del Adios   (Instrumental Tango, 1938)

CD: Francisco Canaro y su Orquesta Tipica, La Melodia del Adios, El Bandoneon, EBCD 90

Orchestra:  Francisco Canaro 

Music: Fioravanti Di Cico & Carmelo 

Tangos of the old guard have simple melodies and strong orchestration which allows dancers to easily follow the beat. This song by Canaro is a good example of such a simple rhythm. The quality of the recording is unusual but it makes this song a classic in many milongas. There many vocal versions but the instrumental version is preferred. Enjoy and dance!

Song of the Week:  Union Civica    (Instrumental Tango, 1938)

Orchestra:  Juan D’Arienzo 

Music: Domingo Santa Cruz, arrangement by A. Belevaqua

CD: Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Tipica con Rodolfo Biagi (1936-1938) RCA Victor (1980)

This is an example of tango music and politics. The song is an homage to the political party Union Civica, the first organized political party in Argentina founded in 1890. The Union Civica later splintered into many other political groups of which Union Civica Radical was perhaps the most influential and long lasting. I am sure that we all have enjoyed this melodic music many times but never associated it with a political movement. The next time you hear this song on the dance floor, visualize thousands of political marchers in the street of Buenos Aires dancing to their hymn.  The version here joins two giant orchestra leaders- Juan D’Arienzo and Rodolfo Biagi on the piano. 


Song of the Week:  Mi Vieja Linda (Milonga, 1941)

Orchestra: Emilio Pellejero

Lyrics and Music: Ernesto Cespedes

Singer: Enalmar de Maria

CD: El Tango de los 40s, Sondor 8200-2

The song of the week is the lovely milonga- Mi Vieja Linda- a rare recording by Emilio Pellejero. This may be the only well known recording of this Uruguayan orchestra and thus presents a challenge for djs to combine with other milongas for a full tanda. Like all good milongas, it’s lively and invites dancers to the floor. 


Song of the Week:  Mariposita (Instrumental Tango, 1941)

Orchestra: Osvaldo Fresedo

Lyrics and Music: Anselmo Aieta



Mariposita- little butterfly- is the happy lament (another example of tango contradictions!) of the lover who goes from dance to dance seeking the woman whom he met and danced with just once. As a butterfly, she flits from milonga to milonga. This instrumental version, played by the Fresedo orchestra, seems to be the one most often played at milongas. 


Song of the Week:  Don Juan (Instrumental Tango, 1950)

Orchestra: Carlos Di Sarli 1950

Music:  Ernesto Ponzio (1898)

CD: Orquesta Carlos Di Sarli – A La Gran Muñeca (1950-1953)

This song, composed in 1898 still sounds fresh when played in milongas. Tango students associate this music with tango class instruction as many tango instructors use it. So use this song to practice your tango steps. 


Song of the Week: El Portenito (Tango, 1937)

Orchestra: Juan D’Arienzo

Music and Lyrics: Angel Villoldo (1903)

To continue our focus on music from the early period of tango, this week we feature El Portenito. Music composer and singer Angel Villoldo is one of the pioneers of Argentine tango development. He adapted other music from Spain (cuples, tanguillos) and Cuba (habaneras) into Argentine music such as the well known “El Choclo”.

El Portenito is an example of the rhythmic and entertaining music played in popular dances and shows in Buenos Aires at the time.  This instrumental rendition by D’Arienzo captures the rhythmic energy very well. 

Song of the Week:  En la Huella Del Dolor –In the Path of Sorrow  (Tango, 1934)

CD: Orquesta Tipica Osvaldo Fresedo Tigre Viejo (1934-1937) available in Itunes

Orchestra: Osvaldo Fresedo

Singer: Roberto Ray

Music and Lyrics: Guillermo Del Ciancio

Earlier recordings by Osvaldo Fresedo are rhythmic and emphasize the beat- his later music is more sophisticated and romantic.  En la huella del dolor is a great example of the earlier period with the soft voice of Roberto Ray.  The lyrics speak of a search for hope in a life full of suffering and pain; the music is haunting. 

Listen to the music and also watch its ethereal interpretation by old milonguero Tete Rusconi on the youtube video. The lights of this old video make the dancers appear as they are constantly rotating on the dance floor. 


Youtube Video:

Song of the Week:  Cuartito Azul- Blue Room (Tango, 1939)

Orchestra:  Francisco Canaro

Singer: Francisco Amor

Music and Lyrics: Mariano Mores

Lyrics: Mario Batistella

Mariano Mores is an important composer and contributor to Argentine tango. In this  week’s song, Mores pays homage to the modest room where he lived in his youth full of dreams and ambition to become a tango figure; see photo. 


Song of the Week:  Nostalgias (Tango, 1935)

Orchestra:  Miguel Calo (1936)

Singer: Alberto Morel

Music: Juan Luis Cobian

Lyrics: Enrique Cadicamo

It is 1936 in Buenos Aires, with the clouds of World War II just starting to form. Juan Luis Cobian is eighteen years old and already immersed in tango music as a pianist composing music for movies and in the bar scene, and he is trying to forget a passionate romance. The music and lyrics by Cadicamo – see lyrics here- perfectly describe Cobian on the piano waiting for his muse . If there was an Argentine version of Casablanca, this would have been the musical background with Cobian as Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart). In fact, Nostalgias was part of the soundtrack for the movie “Tango” by Carlos Saura- second version below.  There have been many versions of Nostalgia- Calo’s version featured here was one of the first to be recorded. 


First version: Miguel Calo’s version

Second version: Movie Soundtrack


I want to drown my heart with wine  

to extinguish a crazy love  

that more than love, is pain…  

And that's what I'm here for,  

to erase those old kisses  

with other lips' kisses.  

If her love was short lived,  

why is this cruel preoccupation  

always living in me?  

I want to drink for both of us  

to forget this obsession,  

but I remember her even more. 

The nostalgia  

for her laughter,  

for feeling her fire-like breath  

next to my lips…  

The anguish  

of being abandoned  

and of thinking that soon another will  

whisper tender words to her…  


I don't want the humiliation  

of begging, crying,  

of telling her I can't live without her.  

From my sad solitude  

I will see the falling of the lifeless roses  

of my youth. 

Moan, bandoneon, your sad tango  

maybe you also are in pain  

for a broken love…  

Cry my silly, lonely and  

sad soul tonight,  

dark, starless night.  

If drinks bring relief,  

here I am with my sorrow  

to drown it at once.  

I want to drown my heart with wine  

to then make a toast  

to my defeated love.

Song of the Week:  Tu Palida Voz (Tango, 1943)

Orchestras:  Francisco Canaro (1943); Carlos Di Sarli (1953)

Singers: Carlos Roldan; Mario Pomar

Music: Charlo

Lyrics: Homero Manzi

The song of the week is a lovely classic period (40s) vals.  The music is by Charlo – a famous singer from the early 1930s -the lyrics by Homero Manzi- a renowned Argentine poet.  This week, we hear two versions. First, one by Canaro in 1943 in which wind instruments are used to soften the music. Second, the excellent version by Carlo Di Sarli with Mario Pomar as a singer recorded in 1953.  


Canaro Version:

Di Sarli Version: 

Song of the Week:  Adios Arrabal  (Tango, 1941)

Orchestra:  Angel D’Agostino

Singer: Angel Vargas

Music: Juan Bauer

Lyrics: Carlos Lenzi

Adios Arrabal (Good Bye Arrabal) is a melancholic call for the good old times of tango – since it was recorded in the golden age of tango (1941), it must refer to the times when tango was very much a local, neighborhood phenomenon, typically in modest or poor outlying neighborhoods, the “arrabal.”  The 1940s took tango out of the arrabales and popularized it through recordings of many orchestras, in movies and all types of dance events in Buenos Aires. Thus, D’Agostino and Vargas lament a bygone period of tango with this soft, romantic melody. 

Song of the Week:  La Rumbita Candombe  (candombe, 1943)

Orchestra:  Francisco Canaro

Singer: Carlos Roldan

Music: Novarro, Fortunato and Luar

Lyrics: Mario Batistela

This song is an example of the contribution of Cuban rhythms to tango. The song urges tango dancers in the 1940s to learn how to dance Rumba. The lyrics also point to the origins of the song’s author -the  Arrabal (described in last week’s song of the week).  Canaro’s version is the stylized Argentine’s version of rumba and usually played in milongas. Check the youtube link for a  rumba style of this song  played by a group called “The Hawaiian Serenaders” and danced by two Italian tango dancers. 

Music by Canaro: 


Song of the Week:  De Puro Guapo  (Tango, 1940)

Orchestra:  Pedro Laurenz

Singer: Juan Carlos Casas

Music: Pedro Laurenz

Lyrics: Manuel Meaños

A classic Laurenz tango, De Puro Guapo has musicality, rhythm and Laurenz’s bandoneon marking the tempo.  Once you start dancing after the first phrase, the mood and energy Laurenz creates is perfect all the way through.  He composed this tango in 1937 and recorded it in 1940.  This is Laurenz at his best. 

Song of the Week:  Sin Rumbo  (Vals, 1938)

Orchestra:  Orquesta Tipica Victor

Singer: Angel Vargas

Music and Lyrics: Eugenio Carrere & Hermes Peressini

A must dance vals in any milonga. Sin Rumbo Fijo (Without A North) is a classic vals that combines the rhythm, syncopation and smooth sound of the Tipica Victor Orchestra which invites turn after turn in the dance. 

Song of the Week:  Gallo Ciego (Blind Rooster) (Instrumental Tango, 1959)

Orchestra:  Osvaldo Pugliese

Music: Agustin Bardi

Let loose your inner diva by dancing to this magnificent Pugliese tango. No one knows for sure the composer’s inspiration for the song. The most popular version is that it refers to the tradition of cockfights in Argentina (and other countries). The music seems to describe how the dynamics of the fight parallel the dramatic movements of the tango dancers.


Song of the Week: Milonga Criolla (Milonga 1936)

Orchestra:  Francisco Canaro

Singer: Roberto Maida

Music: Alberto Soifer

Lyrics: Manuel Romero

A slow but rhythmic milonga by Francisco Canaro.  This song is excellent for practicing traspie- taking two steps with the same foot while the other foot is locked behind, often done in double time or as syncopated steps. 


Song of the Week:  Un Crimen  (Tango 1942)

Orchestra:  Miguel Calo

Singer: Raul Beron

Music and Lyrics: Luis Rubenstein

Un crimen is another tango drama. Based on a real event in which a lover kills her partner in a jealous rage, Luis Rubenstein created the perfect music for drama queens and kings to dance to.   If you are interested in the lyrics to find out what really happened - click here.

Song of the Week:  Gran Hotel Victoria  (Tango sometime between 1906 -1932)

Orchestras:  D’Arienzo and Francisco Canaro

Music and Lyrics: Disputed authorship 

The first interpretation of this song appeared at a celebration for the reopening of the Grand Hotel Victoria in the city of Cordoba, Argentina in 1906, ostensibly composed by Feliciano Latasa, a Spaniard who emigrated to Argentina and formed a tango orchestra. In 1932, a sheet music copy of this song was published by Mr. Luis Negron- his only music contribution. In the following years other orchestra leaders who played this song attributed it to either Latasa or Negron. In the 1970s, a song with the same music and similar lyrics was a top hit by Japanese singer Mari Amachi-the song was attributed to two Japanese composers–check the link below to hear this version. Thus, the origin of Hotel Victoria is murky but people love to dance to it. We are including Canaro’s  version of this song of the week. 


Japanese version: "Mizuiro no Koi" ("Water-Colored Love", literally) was released in 1971, in the debut single of Amachi Mari.

Song of the Week: French Tangos (1936-1939)

Orchestra:  Rafael Canaro

There was a strong connection between Buenos Aires and Paris in the 1930s. Paris was a hotbed for local and Argentine expat orchestras. As a result, tango music travelled well both ways. One example was the Canaro family. Whereas Francisco established his career in Buenos Aires, his younger brother Rafael chose Paris as his base.  Rafael adapted the Argentine rhythm for European dancers by softening the style and using local singers. He also popularized tangos composed by Europeans. The first two songs below are well-known Argentinean tangos adapted for Europe- try to recall their titles. The last one is a European tango that was popular in both Europe and Buenos Aires. 

Rien que nos deux (1937) singer Raul Sanders

Music: Mario Canaro

Singer: Raul Sanders

La Melodie de notre adieu

Singer: Raul Sanders


Vous Qu’Avez vous fait de mon amour

Singer: Tino Rossi

Music: Tibor Barczi

Song of the Week:  Caricias  (Caresses) (Tango 1937)

Orchestras:  Francisco Lomuto and Angel D’Agostino

Singer: Jorge Omar and Angel Vargas

Music: Juan Marti

Lyrics: Alfredo Bigeschi

This is a dramatic and romantic tango that brings up melancholic emotions.  Familiarity with the lyrics allows the dancer to better interpret the melody and phrasing.  The classical renditions of this song are by the D’Agostino and Lomuto orchestras, included here. 


Lomuto version

D’Agostino version

Caricias  (Caresses) (Tango 1937)

Lyrics: Alfredo Bigeschi


The solitude

that enfolds my heart

kindles in my soul

the fire of your distant love.

In the mists of your forgetting

journey my illusions,

screaming your name in vain.

But you’re not there

and in my cruel desolation

the memory of what once was

is just a ghost—

I can feel your shadow

and my love calls out your name

begging you for yesterday’s caresses.

You won’t come…

and still I wait for you, my love.

I want to forget you and I can’t forget

because you’re my whole dream.

You won’t come

and I’m still waiting for you, my love,

with the faith of someone who loves like me.

And, pining for yesterday’s caresses,

my good heart yearns for you.

Song of the Week: No Esta (Tango 1942)

Orchestra:  Carlos Di Sarli

Singer: Alberto Podesta

Music and Lyrics:  Jose Bohr

She is not there, why? Alberto Podesta sings to this question without a clear answer. A great tune to dance to late in the evening. 

Song of the Week: Navidad (Instrumental Tango 1931)

Orchestra:  Francisco Canaro

Music :  Fioravanti Di Cicco

The title says it all - Merry Christmas!

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