Emblematic Argentine Tangos

(Photo by Yellow Sky Photography)

La Cumparsita is one of the oldest and most famous tangos. It was written in 1916 by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez as a Uruguayan carnival march and then turned into a tango by Roberto Firpo who included pieces of some of his own tangos and of Verdi´s Ill trovatore. Pascual Contursí and Enrique Pedro Maroni added lyrics later.

Caminito is an emblematic tango of Buenos Aires because it was inspired by the famous location in La Boca that artist Quinquela Martin painted. Juan de Dios Filiberto, who composed the tango in 1926, was friends with the artist and the street took the tango’s name.

Cambalache was written in 1934 by Enrique Santos Discépolo for the film El alma del bandoneon  (The accordion´s soul). It was a criticism to the political upheaval and corruption of the time and was banned during the first military dictatorships.

Mi Buenos Aires Querido is the most commonly associated tango with Gardel. He composed it in 1934 and Alfredo Le Pera gave it its nostalgic lyrics.

Por Una Cabeza is another Gardel/Le Pera anthem from 1935 and is about a compulsive racetrack gambler. It compares the compulsion of gambling on horses with women. The world of the racetracks is very characteristic of Buenos Aires and this tango, as well as other Gardel tangos, is valued for representing it.

Naranjo en Flor is a tango from 1944 written by the Exposito brothers, Virgilio and Homero. The tango talks about the woes of love in the poetic language that Homero Expósito became renowned for.

Sur was composed by the celebrated Anibal Troilo in 1948 with lyrics by none other than Homero Manzi. The tango tells of lost love and through it the changes of the neighborhood or “barrio”, one of tango’s most recurrent themes that is directly linked to the city’s transformations and migratory patterns.

Adios Nonino is one of Astor Piazzolla’s most famous pieces and was recorded in 1959 in memory of his father, a few days after his death.