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Black tango

Black tango, black tango,
you left without a warning,
the "gringos" started to change* 1
your way of dancing'
 
Black tango, black tango,
the master left by sea,
came the end of candombes* 2
in Monserrat neighbourhood.
 
Later on they started to come out
in costumed groups of carnival
but the ritual was disappearing
with the death of Baltasar.* 3
 
"Mandingas", "Congos", and "Minas"* 4
repeat in their rythm,
the sounds of their ancestors
"borocotó, borocotó, chas, chas. (repeats)
 
Borocotó, borocotó, borocotó,
borocotó, borocotó, borocotó, chas, chas. (repeats)
 
Tango negro, tango negro,
the situation turned bad,
there are no more despotic "gauchos"*5
or Manuelita who is also gone. 6
 
Black tango, black tango,
the drums no longer sound
the sovereigns are in mourning
nobody will acclaim them no more.*7
 
(repeat from "Later on they started ...)
 
Original lyrics

Tango negro

Click to see the original lyrics (Spanish)

Comments
Valeriu RautValeriu Raut
   Thu, 14/03/2013 - 20:47
5

It is an excellent English translation.

roster 31roster 31
   Thu, 14/03/2013 - 22:18

Thank you Vale for pressing the button.

Vale, do you remember what was the song in which you made a comment about "La Chinita"? I made a comment myself and I would like to know whether it was of any use.
Thank you

negritonegrito    Sat, 04/03/2017 - 06:50

Hi, very good translation but please make note that the term Gringo here as used in Argentina and Uruguay often is actually not a term precisely used for North Americans as it is in some other Spanish speaking countries. The term here is referring to the European immigrants who settled in Argentina and Uruguay in the 20th and 19th century. I think if you think of the context of the song it makes sense, as it was them who appropriated the Candombe and emphasized more European musical patterns/dance styles to create the tango both dance and music. So these immigrants whether Italian or German hey were called gringos, with the exception of immigrants from Spain, to separate them from the colonial population.

"En la Argentina y en el Uruguay, la palabra "gringo" se utiliza sobre todo para hacer referencia a los inmigrantes europeos que llegaron a esos países durante el siglo XIX y XX, y también para referirse a la gente del campo. En tanto, el vocablo más usual para referirse a alguna persona de nacionalidad estadounidense se utiliza el término "yanqui"."

Referring to Anglo-Saxons/North Americans doesn't really make sense at all as they have no influence on the formation of tango.

Valeriu RautValeriu Raut
   Thu, 14/03/2013 - 22:18

The song is: Peret - Castigadora
Your comment was of no use for me.
(That chinita means also a lovely name)

roster 31roster 31
   Thu, 14/03/2013 - 22:36

Similar to "mi negra". Escucha el estribillo de la habanera "Cuando salí de la Habana":
Ay chinita que sí,
Ay que dame tu amooor
Ay que vente conmigo, chinita
A donde vivo yo. (tarán tan tan, tarán tan tan ...)

..
But there was someting else,in my comments, wasn't it?

Yaaaa...! It was about "el santo" meaning "the saint day" not "holy"

Valeriu RautValeriu Raut
   Fri, 15/03/2013 - 06:07

Yes Rosa, your comment about 'el santo' is right and of value.

roster 31roster 31
   Fri, 15/03/2013 - 11:17

Thank you, Vale, for looking into it and giving me credit. Now everything seems to be in order:
That day, day of prayer and celebration, he is going to ask the Virgin (your virgin, La Chinita), to punish her.

evfokasevfokas    Tue, 17/03/2015 - 19:24

Thank you Rosa, my suggestions:
barrio de Monserrat > Monserrat neighbourhood
desappearing > disappearing
gauchos mazorqueros > the Mazorca gauchos (La Mazorca was a militia formed by Juan Manuel de Rosas)

Some notes:
Manuelita : Manuelita Rosas, la Reina de la Plata, was the daughter of Juan Manuel de Rosas
Congos : people from Congo I believe whereas Mandingas were from Nigeria, the drums are bongos and congas

roster 31roster 31
   Wed, 18/03/2015 - 17:07

Hello, Evan!
You re going back on time: I didn't remembered this translation. I made some changes.

Thank you for your excellent evaluation.

evfokasevfokas    Wed, 18/03/2015 - 20:05

You're welcome Rosa, I've listened carefully to the song and they pronounce final Ss, also the line would be y Manuelitas que ya no están, so I think they say Manuelita

roster 31roster 31
   Thu, 19/03/2015 - 02:05

Could be, altough I don't see the relation of Manuelita with the gauchos mazorqueros to put them in the same verses, or the importance of Manuelita in the end of the candombes. Well... the originality of songs!
Thank you for your interest.

You may be right. I have been reading and I found out that, for some time, she was a political activist.