Mas allá (Beyond)


Even though I consider Osvaldo Fresedo’s music with Roberto Ray the absolute best period of his career, there are also some really nice, upbeat tracks with Ray’s immediate successor, Ricardo Ruiz. Likewise, as a DJ, the music with Ray is part of my staple, but I also enjoy throwing some Ruiz tracks at people, because even though it’s not really the best-known music, it’s a style right from the heart of the Golden Age, and what few people know is that several of these tracks have excellent, dreamy poetry. One of the best examples is Más allá, a usual tale of the sorrows of love, but with a beautiful metaphor of the afterlife and eternity. This lyric is one of the many gems written by José María Contursi, a somewhat tragic man who dedicated pretty much all of his poetry to, yes, Gricel, his unattainable lover. I will soon dedicate a post to both of them over at Tango Archive. In the meantime, enjoy this translation!

Más allá (Beyond)
Lyrics: José María Contursi
Composition: Joaquín Mauricio Mora

Han pasado tres años ya
y no sé qué será de ti.
Me parece escuchar, tan cerca de mí
tu voz bañada en llanto.
Es horrible vivir así
sepultado en la oscuridad,
de mis ojos sin luz
que no te han de ver jamás.

Three years have already gone by
and I wonder what has become of you.
I seem to hear, so close to me,
your sorrow-soaked voice.
It’s awful to live like this,
buried in the darkness
of my lightless eyes,
which shall never see you again.

Más allá donde el viento
tal vez, un amor escondió,
ha podido sus penas contar
mi corazón.
Más allá de la muerte y de Dios,
óyeme, más allá…
puede ser que me aleje de ti
la eternidad.

Beyond, where the wind
perhaps hid a love,
my heart could
pour out its sorrows.
Beyond death and God,
listen to me, in the beyond,
I hope eternity may
finally distance you from me.

Unsung part:

(Cuántas veces la soledad
mis tristezas acarició,
y queriendo olvidar
busqué en el alcohol
calmar mis inquietudes.
Pero el alma se doblegó
recordándote más y más,
y hoy me mata saber
que no te veré jamás.)

(How many times has
loneliness caressed my suffering,
and hoping to forget,
I tried drowning my
despair in alcohol.
But my soul surrendered,
yearning for you even more,
and now what torments me,
is that I will never see you again.)

Sólo compasión (Nothing but pity)

angel d'agos

I’ve always personally always seen Solo compasión, a very popular track by the Two Angels duo, as the most “exciting” song of the entire orchestra, with a lot of great rhythmical elements going on for an intense dancing experience, but at the same time also with a melodic warmth a lot of the more rhythmical tangos out there tend to lack. I have some stellar memories of dancing to this classic piece with one of my favorite tangueras, and I really felt its lyrics deserved to be more accessible to non-Spanish speakers. Unfortunately it took me over one year and a half to finally break through a kind of mental blockade that kept me from finishing this project. I hope you can appreciate the amount of work I put in these projects and mentally support me to keep making them in the future.

Short disclaimer: There’s also a common version of this tango by José García, but for my videos I usually only tend to stick to the ”best” version of a song, unless other versions are really noteworthy in one way or another.

Sólo compasión (Nothing but pity)
Lyrics: Luis Castiñeira
Composition: Benjamín Holgado Barrio

Yo sé que vivo arrinconado
vencido, triste y cambiado…
pero la culpa no es tuya,
no temas ni me huyas,
que todo lo he olvivado…
Ya ves, te miro sin encono
y ahogando un llanto… perdono.
No sé qué siento por vos,
¿será ternura or amor
o sólo compasión?

I know I am now a lonely man,
defeated, miserable and changed,
but it’s not your fault…
don’t be afraid, don’t stay away,
because… I’m over it now.
Look… I’m not bitter….
and stifling my tears… I forgive you.
I’m not sure what I feel for you,
is it tenderness or love
or nothing but pity…?

por la que nunca comprendió mi amor.
por la que busca mi perdón.
Yo que también alzo mi cruz
perdono cual Jesús, a Magdalena…
por la que nunca comprendió mi amor.
por la que un día se extravió.
Ya te dirá mi corazón
si es esto compasión
o restos de un amor.

Pity, for the woman,
who never understood my love.
Pity, for the woman,
who seeks my forgiveness.
I who also carry my own cross
forgive you, like Jesus forgave Magdalena…
Pity, for the woman,
who never understood my love.
Pity, for the woman,
who one day went astray.
But my heart will tell you…
whether this is nothing but pity
or what’s left of my love!

Unsung part:

(Yo sé muy bien por qué has venido
cruzando sombras de olvido.
Te fue golpeando la vida
y has vuelto arrepentida,
buscando lo perdido.
Para tus penas y fracasos
abierto tengo mis brazos.
¡Cómo los voy a negar!
Si no te pude olvidar
en horas de pesar.)

(I know all too well why you have come,
through the shadows of forgetfulness.
It was life that wore you down,
and you have returned repenting,
seeking what you lost.
To soothe your hurt and pain,
I open my arms.
How can I reject you…
if I couldn’t forget you
in my darkest hours.)

Cuando el corazón (When your heart…)

canaro y maida portraits.png

Update: Live version of the song (with subtitles) added below.

Who says tango always has to be sad? Sure, it is melancholic music in general, but its lyricists covered a variety of topics and some orchestras, like Canaro’s, included more ‘cheerful’ songs than others. Like I wrote last time: there’s more to tango than broken hearts and autumn rain, and this time we will look at a more ‘uplifting’ aspect of love… something I won’t spoil for you now, better just find out for yourself below. However, tango wouldn’t be tango without a slight hidden edge of melancholy, but again, I prefer you find out in this lyric yourself, or maybe disagree… comments are welcome.

Cuando el corazón (When your heart…)
Lyrics: Carmelo Santiago
Composition: Francisco Canaro

Una estrella que cayó del firmamento,
hecha carne por milagro de la vida.
¡En momentos en que mi alma estaba herida!
con sus luces mi destino iluminó.
Hoy no siento ya el dolor de mis heridas,
todo es alegría, un canto al amor.

A star fell from heaven
and miraculously became a woman.
Just when my soul was in torment,
her shining light lit my path.
Now, I no longer feel the hurt of my wounds,
everything is joy, an ode to love.

Cuando el corazón…
cuando el corazón nos habla de un amor,
revive la fe, florece la ilusión.
Cuando el corazón recuerda a una mujer
la vida es gozar y el vivir querer.
Cuando el corazón palpita con ardor,
todo es vida y luz, en todo hay emoción;
canto a la esperanza, fe en el porvenir;
amar a una mujer eso es vivir.

When your heart…
when your heart speaks of love,
your faith is restored, your hope revived.
When your heart remembers a woman,
life is a delight and to live is to love.
When your heart beats with fervour,
life is full of light, everything evokes emotion,
a song of hope, faith in the future,
loving a woman, now that’s real living!

Unsung part:
(Cascabeles de cristal hay en tu risa

y caricia en el calor de tu mirada,
en tu boca de coral está engarzada
de un beso de ternura angelical.
Una estrella que cayó del firmamento,
inspiró mi verso, con su titilar.)

(Your laugh rings out like crystal bells,
and the warmth of your look caresses me,
your mouth of coral is embellished
by a kiss of angelic tenderness.
A star fell from heaven
and inspired my poem with its twinkling.)

Dos ojos tristes (Two sad eyes)

tmp_1253-Luis Rubistein.JPG-1348152787

For this new and upcoming series of translations with subtitled videos, I am honoured to be assisted in my translation and editing work by a team of friends from the UK and Argentina. My special thanks goes to Terry Meinrath, the best ”literary” editor I could possibly wish for.

I love this song because it really immerses you into its story, by combining the sadness and nostalgic melancholy of long-lost love with a somewhat lighter, sweet nostalgia that is so typical of Buenos Aires’ magical streets and corners, and of some other tango songs as well. It’s an excellent recording by Pugliese who put this lighter, somehow uplifting tone in some of his earlier songs. The music, together with the evocative lyrics, truly transport me to a silent alley in a rainy, cold winter afternoon in Buenos Aires, to one of its old, former glory-ridden corners with many similar histories of intense love and sad farewells. Sound a little gloomy, right? Don’t worry: our next song will be a bit more cheerful. There is more to life than broken hearts and autumn rain.

Dos ojos tristes (Two sad eyes)
Lyrics: Luis Rubistein
Composition: Oscar de la Fuente

Te vi en la vieja esquina, junto al buzón
como dejando una queja,
y tras la lluvia fina, corazón
llorar tu pena vieja.

You were standing on the old corner, next to the postbox,
as if you were trying to leave a lament in there,
and in the drizzle, my heart,
you cried over your old sorrow.

Hay una angustia
y un recuerdo de tiempo atrás,
dos trenzas negras
y unos ojos que no están más.
Dos ojos que eran tristes
como un adiós,
y que no vuelven jamás.

There is enduring regret
and a memory from a distant past,
two black braids
and two eyes, no longer there,
two eyes that were sad,
sad as in a farewell
and that would never return.

Nunca pensó que tras de sus besos
llegara el olvido y matara su embeleso.
Llegó el otoño con su carga de hastío
y el desamor llenó mi alma de frío,
frío sin fin de mi dolor…
Penas, de haber dejado en un beso
su inútil regreso… y el otoño la llevó.

Who would have thought that after her sweet kisses
callousness could come and sour her affection…
Autumn arrived with its burden of weariness
and her indifference filled my soul with cold,
the endless cold of my suffering…
Sorrow, of having left in a kiss the vain hope of
of her return… but autumn took her away.

Si yo te contara (If I were to tell you)

Photo: Jorge Omar


Lomuto sounds relatively cheerful for a tango orchestra, especially with the distinctly optimistic voice of Jorge Omar. There is also a slightly more melancholic, yet energetic Canaro version of this song, which includes the first part between the brackets below. Both versions are interesting. The text itself is not cheerful at all.

Si yo te contara

(Vos decís, que yo siempre ando amargao,
que no sé ya sonreír,
que ya nada me divierte,
que tengo una preocupación
amarga, tonta y sin razón.
Y decís, que te apena verme así
porque siempre me reí
de las cosas de la vida.
Hermano de mis noches de bohemia
yo te quiero confesar mi gran verdad.)

(You tell me that I am always so bitter,
that I never smile anymore,
that I am unable to have fun,
that I am always so worried,
with such bitter, stupid and pointless worry.
And, you say that it saddens you to see me like this,
because I was always laughing away life’s problems.
Brother of my bohemian nights,
I want to confess my great secret. (literally: truth))

Si yo te contara
todo el daño que me han hecho,
si vos supieras
toda, toda la verdad…
Esta verdad que me hace mal,
esta verdad que es mi dolor.
Si yo te contara
sufrirías como yo.

If I were to tell you
how much they hurt me,
if you only knew
the whole truth…
This truth that harms me,
this truth, my sorrow.
If I were to tell you,
you would suffer like me.

YouTube link (Lomuto-Omar)

Youtube link (Canaro-Maida)