A Crime

alberto castillo

I like to translate songs that have been covered by several orchestras, so that my readers can compare the often very different interpretations in music and singing. I am now presenting to you a song that has been covered by two popular orchestras, namely those of Ricardo Tanturi and Miguel Calò. I think the following story has a specifically sardonic tone and in my opinion the singing in Calò’s version, by Berón, does not represent the essence of the lyrics well. I’d recommend you to listen to the ‘tough guy of the barrio’, Alberto Castillo, first.

I guess you some of you international readers have heard this song in milongas, but perhaps you’ll get a different impression of its content, now that you can understand the lyrics. There are a few lines I am not entirely sure about, as this was a hard one to translate, but I guess most of it is pretty accurate.

1) Tanturi/Castillo  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6PNhwZ40KI
2) Calò/Berón   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24_b3F_lYGA

A Crime.

My personal tragedy, Your Honor, is a story
in which the end can serve as a starting point.
I realize that, because of the bizarre nature
of my glory, it would be hard to sound sentimental.
The life I gave her, was sheer torture
and her soul had to endure my frentic rage.
My jealousy brought about madness
and right in the middle of this hell,
I lost control over myself.

The life in her eyes disappeared when
my fingers of steel embroidered a necklace
around her nacreous throat.
She turned to kiss my hands
and she could barely scream,
when her voice faded out
without reproach, and thus,
in a gentle way, her night came to an end.
I can still see her anguish before my eyes
and that impression will not go away.

Your Honor, because of this story about such an evil
and brutal crime, even the smallest detail
must not escape your memory and
I want everyone to know she was
 a good person and that I did her harm.

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  1. ana campos

     /  May 13, 2013

    this is good idea for a website. i love it.

    senor juez – a more direct translation would be /your honor/

    the last verse id change to:
    /I want, your honor, that with this story
    of so perverse and brutal of a crime,
    That no mark should taint her memory,
    that all should know that she was fair and good and I did her harm/

    also the first stanza and last stanza which would be better preserved in translation, ie.
    /my tragedy, your honor is in this story
    /i want, your honor, that with this story

    id retain the use of the word ‘neblina’ or fog/haze because it imparts a poetic nature to the life disappearing from her eyes. it is unclear whether it illustrates that before harming her she was drifting from him.

    frenesi is more ‘frentic rage/mad exultation’ than blind rage. the first stanza is dichotomous in that it is describing their love affair (he implies her sweet soul supported his passionate exhaltations) whilst (the life he gave her, was his torture) prior to (his jealousies becoming his hell). even mid-second-stanza he and she are unaware whether spectrum of passion he is embroiled in.

    id change ‘i can still see her fear’ to ‘i can still see her anguish’

    sorry.. i quite like words. 🙂

  2. ana campos

     /  May 13, 2013

    *second and last stanza in parallel form.. oops forgot to explain

  3. Hi ana. Thanks for your feedback, I have already changed a couple of things but I am not sure how to translate the part with ‘neblina’, I couldn’t find an appropriate expression in English. I hope you can help me out with that. I think you are better at capturing the original poetry than me, and I could surely use a bit more practice, so I appreciate different points of view. Un abrazo.

  4. I also applaud your interpretation of the story. I feel that this is above all an example of unrequited love, so I think the passion here is mostly one-sided. In the future I want to add some further interpretations of lyrics as well (not just translations), like on this famous site: http://www.tangoandchaos.org/chapt_4music/22tristezas.htm .


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