El choclo   Leave a comment

The ear of corn (1903)
LYRICS by: Juan Carlos Marambio Catan (1930) and Enrique Santos Discepolo (1946
MUSIC by: Angel Villoldo
TRANSLATION by: Alberto Paz
Last updated on: 3/27/12
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Sing along with ELBA VERON with SEXTETO MAYOR


On November 3, 1905, the upper class clientele of the exclusive Restaurante Americano gathered as ususal listen to pianist Jose Luis Roncallo and his classical orchestra play. A few days earlier, Angel Villoldo had shown to Roncallo the melody of a Tango he had just composed. It was by far the best Villoldo had written but Roncallo fretted at the idea of playing a Tango for the “creme-de-la creme” of Buenos Aires society dining at the Restaurante Americano.
Yet, the sound of the unnamed tune was so compelling that Roncallo decided to sneak it by disguised as a “danza criolla”, a Creole dance. And so, he did on that balmy evening of November 3, 1905. The name had been decided by Villoldo, who named it El choclo, the ear of corn, because “I loved it from the very first note, and for me the ear of corn is the tastiest ingredient of the ‘puchero’, a meat and vegetables stew …” The “puchero” reference reflected Villoldo’s hope that the success of the Tango would bring food to his table. To earn a living was commonly referred to as earning the “puchero.”
An appropriate name for an undercover Tango being premiere at a restaurant.Juan Carlos Marambio Catan wrote the 1930 lyrics at the request of Villoldo’s sister and heir Irene Villoldo de Corona.Enrique Santos Disceopolo wrote a new set of lyrics in 1946 at the request of Libertad Lamarque who wished to sing the tango in the movie Gran Casino directed by Luis Buñuel. In order to do so, Discepolo had to reach a laborious agreement with Marambio Catan.In his version, Discepolo makes excellent use of lunfardo lexicon.Bailongo: lunfardo for a place where people dance, i.e. a milonga
Bacan: lunfardo for a wealthy man or one who pretends to be wealthy. A man who keeps a woman. A pimp who owns a woman. A concubine of a prostitute.
Cana: lunfardo for the police, a policeman or the jail.
Canyengue: lunfardo word with several meanings. It refers to somebody or something from the slums, i.e. low class. It also describes a gathering where people from the slums dance. Finally, it is a rhytmic effect created by Leopoldo Thompson by hitting the string of the contrabass with the hand or the arch of the bow.
Carancanfunfa: in the lingo of the compadritos, the dance of tango with interruptions (cortes) and also those who dance it that way in a very skillful manner.
Gavion: lunfardo for a libertine man who seduces women. A Don Juan that charms the women. A seducer, a mocker.
Grelas: lunfardo for woman.
Mishiadura: lunfardo for poverty.
Mina: lunfardo for woman.
Paicas: a lunfardo word for girl.
Pebeta: lunfardo for young woman or girl.
Reo: lunfardo for hobo, unemployed, given to partying and reticent to work. Typical of people of lower class status. Also, it is used as humble, poor.
Shusheta: lunfardo for a person who takes excessive care of his posture and attire. Also it is used to describe a police informant, a person who accuses in secret, a snitch. A fop, a dandy.
Con este tango que es burlon y compadrito
se ato dos alas la ambicion de mi suburbio;
con este tango nacio el tango y como un grito
salio del sordido barrial buscando el cielo;
conjuro extraño de un amor hecho cadencia
que abrio caminos sin mas luz que la esperanza,
mezcla de rabia de dolor, de fe, de ausencia
llorando en la inocencia de un ritmo jugueton.

Por tu milagro de notas agoreras,
nacieron sin pensarlo, las paicas y las grelas,
luna en los charcos, canyengue en las caderas,
y un ansia fiera en la manera de querer…
Al evocarte, tango querido,
siento que tiemblan las baldosas de un bailongo
y oigo el rezongo de mi pasado…
Hoy que no tengo mas a mi madre,
siento que llega en punta’e pie para besarme
cuando tu canto nace al son de un bandoneon…

Carancanfunfa se hizo al mar con tu bandera
y en un ‘perno” mezclo a Paris con Puente Alsina.
Fuiste compadre del gavion y de la mina
y hasta comadre del bacan y la pebeta.
Por vos shusheta, cana, reo y mishiadura
se hicieron voces al nacer con tu destino…
Misa de faldas, querosen, tajo y cuchillo,
que ardio en los conventillos y ardio en mi corazon!

With this tango, mocking and show off,
tied two wings the ambition of my slum;
with this tango tango was born and like a shout
left the sordid bog looking for heaven;
strange spell of a love turned cadence
that opened paths with no more light than hope,
mixture of rage, pain, faith, absence
crying in the inocence of playful rhythm.

From the miracle of your ominous notes,
were born without a thought, the paicas and the grelas,
moon on the puddles, canyengue on the hips,
and a fiery desire in the way to love…
Evoking you, tango beloved…..
I feel the shaking of the tiles of a bailongo
and I hear the grumbling of my past…
Now that I don’t have my mother anymore,
I feel her coming in tiptoes to kiss me
when your chant is born to the sound of a bandoneon.

Carancanfunfa crossed the sea with your flag
and in a Pernod mixed Paris and Puente Alsina.
You were buddy of the gavion and the mina
and even crony of the bacan and the pebeta.
Because of you, shusheta, cana, reo and mishiadura
became voices that were born with your destiny…
Mass of skirts, kerosen, slash and knife,
that burned in the tenements and it burned in my heart!

Vieja milonga que en mi horas de tristeza,
traes a mi mente tu recuerdo cariñoso
y, encadenandome a tus notas dulcemente,
siento que el alma se me encoje poco a poco;
recuerdo triste de un pasado que en mi vida
dejo una pagina de sangre escrita a mano
y que se he llevado como cruz de mi martirio
aunque mi carga infame me llene de dolor.

Hoy que los años han blanqueado ya mis sienes,
que en mi pecho solo anida la tristeza
como una luz que ilumina en el sendero
llegan tus notas de melodica belleza.
Tango querido, viejo tango que me embargas
con la cadencia de tu musica sentida
quiero morir bajo el arrullo de tus quejas,
cantando mi querellas, llorando mi dolor
recuerdo aquella epoca, tan linda que se fue.

Old milonga that on my hours of sadness
brings to my mind an affectionate reminiscence
and chaining me to your notes sweetly,
I feel my soul shrinking little by little.
sad memory of a past that in my life
I leave a page of handwritten blood
and that I have carried my cross of martyrdom as
but my burden infamous fill me with pain.

Now that the years have whitened and my temples,
that nest in my chest just sadness
as a light that illuminates the path
your notes arrive melodic beauty.
Tango dear, old tango that overwhelms me
with the rhythm of your music felt
I want to die under the cooing of your moaning,
singing my complaints, crying my pain
I remember that time, so nice that has gone.

Copyright (c) Planet Tango 1998-2012 All Rights Reserved


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