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Romantic Tangos by Carlos Gardel: Golondrinas and El Dia que me Quieras (with English lyrics).

Updated on May 10, 2014

Romantic Tangos, that were often sung by Carlos Gardel

Everywhere in Buenos Aires, you will see an image of Carlos Gardel. This is a very good example of Fileteado art!
Everywhere in Buenos Aires, you will see an image of Carlos Gardel. This is a very good example of Fileteado art! | Source

Dramatic Tango

The Tango genre produced several films with famous compositions as center pieces
The Tango genre produced several films with famous compositions as center pieces | Source

My Tango series. Introduction to Part 8.

In this eighth part of my Tango series, I will include some details of two films starring Carlos Gardel, in which he sings Golondrinas and El Dia que me Quieras. Both the films and the melodies correspond to the period just prior to his death, which happened in June, 1935.

The lyrics were written by Alfredo LePera, as was the film script, and the music, of course, belongs to Gardel, at his most romantic. The compositions correspond to the Guardia Nueva period (1925 – 1935), in which the “listening” was emphasized over the “dancing”. We are fortunate in the fact that both these recordings and the films have endured through time, although naturally the quality of the visuals is not too good, as they are shoestring productions intended for a Spanish speaking public, and filmed in New York, not Hollywood, where a more advanced technology could be found at that time.

As in the other articles of this Tango series, I will refer to the music scores, and include my free translations of the lyrics. I will also write about the stories that correspond to the plots of the films, with as much detail as can be found through researching the available material.

I will also use examples of the colorful art of fileteado, the typical street painting beloved by the porteños, and which is intimately related to the Tango genre.

For a review of the previous parts of this series of articles on the Tango, Part 7 will take you back through the rest of them..

In Buenos Aires, the Tango is everywhere!

A street sign showing the famous Fileteado art, a characteristic of Buenos Aires.
A street sign showing the famous Fileteado art, a characteristic of Buenos Aires. | Source

Audio and Spanish lyrics for GOLONDRINAS.

This is the authentic recording of Golondrinas by Carlos Gardel, and accompanied by Terig Tucci and his Orchestra.

This audio material was compiled by Todotango,com.ar, and I use it with the kind permission of the Director. I freely attribute this really excellent collection. The recording is very good, I hope you will take time to listen to it and enjoy it.

It is to be noted that all of Carlos Gardel's production is now on the public domain.

Fileteado Art - BIRDS

A very attractive example of Fileateado Art, rather appropriate for the Tango! The painting is adorning a much loved ice-cream cart!
A very attractive example of Fileateado Art, rather appropriate for the Tango! The painting is adorning a much loved ice-cream cart! | Source

1.- GOLONDRINAS


This Tango was recorded in July, 1934 by Victor, in New York. Alfredo LePera, Gardel’s famous team member, wrote the lyrics, and the music was composed and sung by Carlos Gardel, with the accompaniment of Terig Tucci and his orchestra, another faithful team member.

Golondrinas was included in the film called Tango en Broadway, premiered in March, 1935, just a few months before Gardel and LePera’s deaths. The screenplay was, once again, written by Alfredo LePera.

The story of the movie is a light comedy of errors, in which everybody falls in love with the wrong person, and which has an inevitably happy ending.

Apart from Golondrinas, one of the tunes that was included is a most extraordinary one called Rubias de Nueva York (translates as New York Blondes), which is, of all things, a Foxtrot!! Quite a good tune it is, too! This shows Gardel’s incredible versatility, both as a composer and as a singer. He even seems to change the timbre of his singing voice when he interprets it, thereby adapting perfectly to what was for him, a new genre.

The music score for Golondrinas shows two parts, the verses and the refrain. Again, as was explained in Part 6 of this series, the model seems to have been the aria da capo in two parts, the first one of a more “recitative” style, while the second one is more “cantabile”. However, the differences between the two parts are not so noticeable as in the Tango Cuesta Abajo, a nearly perfect model of this characteristic. (See Part 6).

The rest of the elements that make the Tango so recognizable, are all there. We can observe the short scales that include repeating notes, and that change position along the keyboard, but not in a very noticeable way, on the contrary, the notes seem to be quite grouped together. There is a very light use of chromatics, mainly in the refrain, and a few really large intervals, also in the refrain. The black notes are used very sparingly, and the feel of the tune is not overly dramatic, probably due to the type of film it was intended for.

The insistent pulse of the Tango is there as usual, but relatively muted, as corresponds to the Tango-cancion. One the most significant aspects is the role of the violins and of the piano, as they weave their way in and out of the singing voice. The piano can be clearly identified in the passages that echo the main tune, as it is played between the verses and the refrain. All in all, a good example of Gardel’s musicality.


My very free translation of the lyrics.


Note: Criollita is used in an affectionate way, to describe a native of a certain place. (Translates as creole)


Verse 1.

Swallows of only one Summer,

With constant longings for faraway skies

Creole souls, wandering travelers,

Unstoppable…

Swallows with febrile wings,

Wayfarers wild with emotion….

The wild orbit of your heart

Always dreams of other trails…

Refrain.

Criollita from my village,

Little girl from my neighborhood,

One day the swallow’s flight

Will stop;

There’ll be no clouds in her eyes

Reflecting dim faraway places,

And in your loving arms

She’ll build her nest.

Her yearnings for far horizons

Will be stilled by your lips

With the sweet fragrance

Of your persistent love…

Criollita from my village,

Little girl from my neighborhood,

With folded wings,

I must also return.

Verse 2.

On your routes that cross the sea,

A blue wake of songs will flower

And with the spell of new sceneries

Your bright rigging will loudly sound.

With your harmonies so sweetly sowed,

Distant lands saw you pass by;

Other moons followed your tracks,

Your sole destiny is to fly evermore.


I have included both the audio from Todotango.com.ar, and a video which shows Carlos Gardel actually singing this Tango. As usual, his face registers multiple emotions, as does his voice when interpreting the words. A stellar performance!.


CARLOS GARDEL singing GOLONDRINAS

The adorning rose will dress in its best colors...

A red rose for romantic love.
A red rose for romantic love. | Source

Audio and Spanish Lyrics for EL DIA QUE ME QUIERAS

Also from Todotango.com.ar, I am including the recording sung by Carlos Gardel, and accompanied by Terig Tucci and his orchestra, of the Tango-cancion El Dia Que Me Quieras.

Again I attribute this collection, which I am using by kind permision from the Director.

I hope you will take the time to listen to it, and enjoy!

And the spring will chuckle...

The water sings with happiness...
The water sings with happiness... | Source

2.- EL DIA QUE ME QUIERAS


This beautiful melody was recorded in New York by Victor, in March 1935. Carlos Gardel is both the composer and the interpreter, using lyrics by Alfredo LePera, and accompanied by the orchestra of Terig Tucci.

It was the centerpiece of the film by the same name, starring Carlos Gardel and Rosita Moreno. The screen play was again written by A. LePera, and the director this time was an American, John Reinhardt. The filming was done in Long Island, New York, and was premiered in 1936 in the Cine Teatro Broadway, in Buenos Aires, which must have been a very poignant showing, as by then both Carlos Gardel and Alfredo LePera were dead.

The story is about a young man, the son of a well-to-do person, who sings in secret against his father’s wishes. He falls in love with an actress and finally marries her, abandoning his family background. They are very poor, and his wife gives birth to a baby daughter. Then she falls ill and dies. The hero is heartbroken, but continues singing because of his daughter, finally including her in his act, so as to make some more money. The film ends happily for the daughter, but not for the main character, who still pines for his lost love, Margarita.

Apart from El Dia que me Quieras, the film includes Sus Ojos se cerraron, which refers to the death of Margarita. Another well known Tango is Guitarra, Guitarra mia, and last, but not least, the world famous Tango, Volver, also corresponds to this film. (See Part 5).

The music scores for El Dia que me Quieras shows a slight variation from other compositions by Gardel. It begins with an introductory melody that is not repeated again. Instead, the main tune then appears, and that is repeated until the end. Part of the lyrics of this main tune, are beautifully recited, with much feeling, and finally the song ends by singing not only the main melody, but repeating a part of the lyrics as well.

The rhythm is very slow, explicitly so, as it is indicated on the music score. The introduction starts with a clear arpeggio, that rises and then drops down the keyboard by the use of short scales and some repeating notes. Next comes the arpeggio again, but this time it comes down slightly and then goes back up. After a couple of notes more, it swings into the main tune, which is very lyrical. There is quite a lot of use of the black notes, but the harsh chromatics of other Tangos are practically non existent. The melody is very simple, some short segments that change position on the keyboard and that include just a few nearby notes, interspersed with some wider intervals. The tune is rather plaintive, and very melodious, as befits a Tango-canción. The composition ends with the final repeat of the main melody, sung with passion. This is the Tango-canción at its best!


My very free translation of the lyrics.


Introduction.


The soft murmur of your sigh

Caresses my dreams.

How life laughs

When your black eyes look at me.

And my shelter

Is your light laughter

That’s like a song;

It soothes my wounds,

All is erased by it.

Verse


The day that you love me,

The adorning rose

Will dress up

In its best colors.

The bells ringing in the wind

Will say you're mine,

And the exuberant fountains

Will tell of your love.

The night that you love me,

From the blue skies above,

The jealous stars,

Will watch us drift by.

And a pale ray of light

Will nestle in your hair,

Inquisitive glow-worm that will see

That you’re my consolation.

Spoken.

The day that you love me,

There’ll be nothing but harmony,

The dawn will be shining

And the brook will chuckle.

The breeze will softly bring

The murmur of a melody

And the fountains will give us

Their crystal song.

The day that you love me,

the birds will sing sweetly,

Life will flower,

There’ll be no pain.

Sung.

The night that you love me,

From the blue skies above,

The jealous stars,

Will watch us drift by.

And a pale ray of light

Will nestle in your hair,

Inquisitive glow-worm that will see

That you’re my consolation.


Carlos Gardel Still Lives On!

He is very much alive in the heart of the people, the world over.
He is very much alive in the heart of the people, the world over. | Source

Closing Remarks

Once again, this has been an enjoyable journey for me! I have delighted in the poetry of the lyrics, and felt very involved in achieving a relatively good translation into English - a rather difficult task.

I have also spent several hours listening to the recordings, while trying to find the best to use, and the same with the videos.

It is also possible to find a video of the scene in the second film, where Gardel sings El Dia que Me Quierasto his love, Margarita, but I did not use it because he doesn’t really face the camera, so I thought the audio would be enough.

This should be the last in my planned series about the Tango as a genre, which also includes specific chosen Tangos, at least for the moment. I still have some more to write, but I hope to organize something about Gardel and his voice, and also show one of the important innovators in the new Tango, and that needs some thinking about.

I hope you have enjoyed this series! I will be back!

© 2012 joanveronica (Joan Robertson)

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    • charlesxavier04 profile image

      charlesxavier04 4 years ago from London

      LOVED the poetry at the end:

      The jealous stars,

      Will watch us drift by

      - beautiful!

      Voted awesome!

    • joanveronica profile image
      Author

      Joan Veronica Robertson 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Hi charlesxavier, thank you for your comment, I agree, the poetry is beautiful! That is what motivated me to try my hand at translating! I'm bilingual and therefore can see the beauty in the original, but English speakers do miss a lot in this, I think. Thanks again and there are more like this in the other articles of this series. Enjoy!

    • profile image

      Susana 4 years ago

      You know I am a big fan of your work Joan! Loved it!

    • joanveronica profile image
      Author

      Joan Veronica Robertson 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Ok, thanks for the visit and the comment!

    • profile image

      Andrea 4 years ago

      Hi Joan, I really loved this article. It is poetry! I am a tango dancer, and this is a beautiful song to dance. My greetings and thank you for sharing your articles with me.

      Best Regards, your old student, Andrea.

    • joanveronica profile image
      Author

      Joan Veronica Robertson 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      So glad you liked the article and thank you for your comment!

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