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“Sobre el pucho” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica with Héctor Mauré, 1941.

José González Castillo

Poet and lyricist
(25 January 1885 – 22 October 1937)

Lyrics for tango were born around 1914, based on those ones conceived by Pascual Contursi that year and the following years (“De vuelta al bulín”, “Ivette”, “Flor de fango”, “Mi noche triste (Lita)”), and they were growing strong very slowly. So much so that in Carlos Gardel’s repertoire tangos were, until the next decade, a rare bird. There was not even a notion of how to sing a tango, a standard that Gardel was gradually establishing after 1922. That was, precisely, the year José González Castillo truly disembarked in the genre with the lyrics of “Sobre el pucho”, after Sebastián Piana’s music, which was introduced at the talent contest organized by Tango cigarettes.

José Gobello (Crónica general del tango, Editorial Fraterna) stated about this work that, with it «some novelties broke into tango that the tango literary work of Homero Manzi would later turn into true constants. By the way, Pompeya («Un callejón en Pompeya/y un farolito plateando el fango…»); later, the description of the neighborhood and, soon, the enumeration as a descriptive procedure».

But in those lyrics there is something else, metaphor, that springs up in the memory that the malevo devotes to his lost love «…tu inconstancia loca/me arrebató de tu boca/como pucho que se tira/ cuando ya/ni sabor ni aroma da». It is clear that González Castillo was a forerunner, and also that other later lyricists were who deepened those trends. Continue reading.

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Marcelo Solis

I was born in Argentina. Through my family and the community that saw my upbringing, I have been intimately involved with Tango all my life, and have been an Argentine Tango dancer, choreographer and instructor for over 30 years. I profoundly love Tango dancing, music, and culture, particularly that of the Golden Era. I am a milonguero.

Comments (2)

  • Inspired article Marcelo! Bravo! The cultural depth of Tango is what carries our feet and hearts.

    Tango’s Lullaby
    When the music ripples through
    And the lyrics wax yearning
    It is Tango’s lullaby that awakens anew
    the body’s knowledge turning
    the scissor step of legs
    embrace of arms
    music coaxes and begs
    the alchemy of tango love charms

    ~ Marianne Nishifué

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