Monday, 23 September 2013

'Tango is more than music. It is the window to collected memories...'

– attributed to Homero Expósito, author and poet, a few years younger than Troilo, with whom he wrote tangos. The quote seemed to follow on from the previous post. Their memories and our memories, different, but all our memories are present in our dance, where we share unspoken memories, become aware, wordlessly, of the memories of our partners. Listen to the memories of your partner as you dance.

YouTube led me to this video. 


It's another of those channels of music, and there are five clips from this session. I love watching these two! Never heard of either of them, but there's a wonderful synergy. Basic tango, a voice and a guitar, song and music without the complexity of orchestration, perhaps not so easy to dance to, but then you might anyway prefer to sit and listen – and watch. & it's like watching a dance, it doesn't feel like a carefully rehearsed performance. Beatriz Carró is wonderful, sings with real spirit, and seems to sing very freely: the guitar is a skillful accompanist, following, filling in, adding where necessary. The words and the chords may be fixed but the interpretation is improvised; as it happens the lead is a woman singing, and the follow is a guy with a guitar. Vida Mia is another very familiar tango. It's great to notice these were recorded just three weeks ago. This is contemporary music!

(PS. I think you only get this kind of relaxed freedom with a few performers. If you have a whole orquesta there has to be a director laying down the beat. Here the guitar effortlessly follows the beat of the singer's phrasing.)

The channel is El Pardo Tango, and the guitar is El Pardo Vieyra, so I presume it's his own channel.

I was particularly drawn to Pedacito de Cielo as it's such a well-known vals, one we've all danced to many times, and it occurred to me that I didn't know anything about the words, so I looked it up and found the original with a rough translation alongside. It's not a perfect translation, but it gives an idea of the sense. I've tweaked it a bit in an effort to make it more readable. & thanks to D for clarifying 'ojeros': I've left it as 'dark eyes' since 'dark circles under the eyes' doesn't really fit.

The lyrics of Pedacito de cielo ('A Little bit of Heaven') by Homero Expósito in the original Spanish and in rough English translation by Albert Combrink 

La casa tenía una reja – The house had a fence 
pintada con quejas y cantos de amor – painted with complaints and love songs. 
La noche llenaba de ojeras  - The night filled with dark eyes
la reja, la hiedra  y el viejo balcón – the fence, ivy and the old balcony 
Recuerdo que entonces reías  - I remember then laughed 
si yo te leía  mi verso mejor  - if I read you my best verse 
y ahora, capricho del tiempo, leyendo esos versos – and now, the whim of time, reading these verses 
lloramos los dos!  - Cried the two!

Los años de la infancia pasaron, pasaron –  The years of childhood passed, passed
La reja está dormida de tanto silencio  - The gate is asleep so quiet
y en aquel pedacito de cielo se quedó tu alegría y mi amor - and in that little piece of heaven rested your joy and my love.

Los años han pasado – The years have passed 
terribles, malvados, dejando esa esperanza que no ha de llegar – terrible, wicked, leaving that hope that hasn't arrived 
y recuerdo tu gesto travieso – and remember your mischievous gesture
después de aquel beso robado al azar - after that kiss, randomly stolen.

Tal vez se enfrió con la brisa – Maybe the breeze cooled 
tu cálida risa, tu límpida voz – your warm laughter, your clear voice
Tal vez escapó a tus ojeras – Perhaps it escaped your dark eyes
la reja, la hiedra, y el viejo balcón - the fence, ivy and the old balcony
Tus ojos de azúcar quemada – Your eyes, burnt sugar,
tenían distancias doradas al sol held distances gilded by the sun
Y hoy quieres hallar como entonces – And now you want to find like then 
la reja de bronce – the bronze gate 
temblando de amor! trembling with love.

Todotango gives 1942 as the date of Pedacito de Cielo. 

One thing leads to another... So I came across this. Same guitarist, with bandoneon this time, no singer, another well-known classic. 

& there's much more where that came from. Check it out.


Anonymous said...

Hello, bumped into your blog by accident so not a regular reader. I did enjoy your lines.
I know that translating anything can be a ungrateful task. But it could do with improvements...
ojeras = Dark circles under the eyes/bag under the eyes
malvados = wicked
Many thanks for your lines.
Best regards,

Tangocommuter said...

Hi D, and thanks very much for your suggestions! As I said, it's not my translation. I made a few alterations where I thought they were necessary, but ojeras defeated me. The 'dark circles' of the original meant little, and my dictionary is packed as I'm moving. Spanish is very concise here! One short word for 'dark circles under the eyes'. Anyway, many thanks for clearing that up. It's a vals I love, and it's a pleasure to have a clearer idea of the words.