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There is an upped excitement in the milonga when Mandria comes on, something dramatic in the music, even tragic. Indeed, it tells a primal tale and, consistent with the gaucho culture it portrays, a macho one, of a duel over some unspoken act on the part of a good-for-nothing man involving a woman. Sensibilities have changed, but still it pulls us into the dance. John recited his English version for Milonga Falucho's sixth anniversary at Café Argentino, followed by dancing to a live performance of the song by the guest singer, El Rey from Buenos Aires. Fresh from the premiere of Souls of Tango , Analîa Carreño and Luis Ramirez danced a virtuoso show, and Ilene Marder deejayed. Mandria (1926) Letra de Francisco Brancatti/Juan Velich Música de Juan Rodríguez   No Good (1926) Lyrics: Francisco Brancatti/Juan Velich, trans. J. Osburn Music: Juan Rodrîgue
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This classic Homero Manzi lyric was presented at La Pandemia, a virtual milonga hosted by Renée and tango DJ Ilene Marder as the Covid-19 shutdown continued into the fall, sponsored by Garage Dance Co-Operative. Carlos Quiroga hosted, and dancer Milena Plebs and bandoneon player Rodolfo Zanetti were invited artists on a night of international music, conversation, and tango trivia celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. It was a return to fresh translation after a hiatus that included the sharing of prior translations at La Pandemia and on the podcast Tango Café.  Torrente (1944) Letra de Homero Manzi Música de Manzi y Hugo Gutiérrez   Torrent (1944) Lyrics by Homero Manzi, trans. J. Osburn Music by Manzi and Hugo Gutiérrez   Solloza mi ansiedad... También mi soledad Quisiera llorar cobardemente. Angustia de jugar y de repente, Sin querer, Perder el corazón en el torrente. Se queja nuestro aye

Gitana rusa

This is a different sort of tango. Although the themes of love and loss are familiar, the Slavic style and setting are unusual and the narrator's relationship to the woman he addresses is enigmatic. The music and the lyric have a murky provenance; it may originally have been composed under the title "Tus ojos" ("Your Eyes") by Severio Sadán in the Ukraine in honor of his unseen daughter-in-law in Buenos Aires, then modified by orchestra leader Juan Sánchez Gorio, who registered it in his name and asked Horacio Sanguimetti to write the words with which we are familiar. More of this tenuous history may be read here . In the event, Renée and José Luis Lavayen taught the pre-milonga class, and live music was enjoyed from Maricio Najt (piano) and Javier Sánchez (bandoneón). Gitana rusa (1942) Letra de Horacio Sanguimetti Música de Juan Sánchez Gorio Russian Gypsy (1942) Lyrics by Horacio Sanguimetti, trans. J. Osburn Music by Juan Sánchez Gor

Que nadie sepa mi sufrir

This vals criollo or Peruvian waltz is so-called because it refers to the waltz form created by European immigrants (criollos) in the Viceroyalty of Perú, the Spanish colony which traced a serpentine route from today's Panama, through Perú, to the mouth of the Rio del Plata. That part included Buenos Aires and became its own viceroyalty in 1776. Vals evolved as an important genre in the tango repertory, and both the composer, Angél Cabral, and the lyricist, Enrique Dizeo, were from Buenos Aires. John presented his translation at Falucho Chelsea; then the Spanish lyrics were sung by Carmen Currasco as a birthday vals for several attendees. Currasco also deejayed. Que nadie sepa mi sufrir (Amor de mis amores) Vals criollo (1936) Letra de Enrique Dizeo Música de Ángel Cabral That Nobody Knows of My Suffering (Love of My Loves) Peruvian waltz (1936) Lyrics by Enrique Dizeo, trans. J. Osburn Music by Ángel Cabral No te asombres si te digo

Mano a mano

Celedonio Flores was a poet of bohemian Buenos Aires turned tango lyricist when, in 1920, Carlos Gardel read his poem "Por la pinta" in a newspaper. His letras are distinguished by the use of lunfardo, the famed Argentine street slang. Lunfardo was banned when the military took over in 1943, and "Mano a mano" in particular was barred from the radio in unsanitized form. Flores died in 1947, too late to see enforcement of the ban lifted by President Juan Domingo Perón in 1949. At the first Milonga Falucho of 2020, Renée and John shared this evocation of tango bohemia in the authentic environs of Café Argentino. Emily Cheeger was the DJ, and master violinist Machiko Ozawa provided live music along with Pablo Cafici on piano. Mano a mano (1923) Letra de Celedonio Flores Música de Carlos Gardel/José Razzano Just You and I (1923) Lyrics by Celedonio Flores, trans. J. Osburn Music by Carlos Gardel/José Razzano Rechiflado en mi tristez

El bazar de los juguetes

The last Milonga Falucho of the year celebrated the holiday season with made-on-the-spot pasta at Arte Cafe in Chelsea and live music from the Javier Sanchez Quartet (Sergio Reyes, violin; Martha Kato, piano; Andrew Rothstein, bass; and Sanchez, bandoneón). The recitation by Renée and John struck a holiday note too, followed by DJ María Valentina with the classic Caló-Podesta recording to begin the next tanda.   El bazar de los juguetes (1954) Letra de Reinaldo Yiso Música de Roberto Rufino     The Toy Store (1954) Lyrics by Reinaldo Yiso, trans J. Osburn Music by Roberto Rufino   Patrón cierre la puerta, no me mire asombrado, Le compro los juguetes que tiene en el bazar. Yo se los compro todos, no importa lo que gasto, Dinero no me falta para poder pagar. Por una sola noche yo quiero ser rey mago, Para que los purretes de todo el arrabal Mañana al despertarse aprieten en sus manos El sol de esta alegría que yo le

El adiós

Maruja Pacheco Huergo is said to have composed the melody that became El adiós to capture the mood of a curtain moving lightly in the breeze. Virgilio San Clemente's lyrics would unite the lyrical and the dramatic in one of the great tangos in the Argentine repertory. It was the perfect piece to close out the year at Milonga Falucho/Brooklyn at Café Argentina. The Tango Duo of Machiko Ozawa (violin) and Pablo Cafici (piano) celebrated the occasion with live music. El adiós (1937) Letra de Virgilio San Clemente Música de Maruja Pacheco Huergo The Farewell (1937) Lyrics by Virgilio San Clemente, trans. J. Osburn Music by Maruja Pacheco Huergo En la tarde que en sombras se moría, Buenamente nos dimos el adiós; Mi tristeza profunda no veías Y al marcharte sonreíamos los dos. Y la desolación, mirándote partir, Quebraba de emoción mi pobre voz... El sueño más feliz, moría en el adiós Y el cielo para mí se obscureció. The afte

A mí me llaman Juan Tango

This is one of those big, culturally steeped tangos that comes on in the early morning at a traditional milonga, when the crowd has thinned to the hardiest tangueros. So it couldn't have been more appropriate for Milonga Falucho's 4th Anniversary at Café Argentino. It tipped a hat to John's birthday some days earlier, a tango with "John" in the lyrics mirroring the "Renée" tangos she celebrated with previously. The night marked the "Infamous Decade" of the 1930s with costumes and a tribute to Discepolo. A number of tango luminaries showed up, and live music was performed by Emiliano Messiez (piano), Federico Diaz (guitar), and Horacio Romo, orchestra director of Sexteto Mayor (bandoneón). Viva Feiner deejayed. A mí me llaman Juan Tango (1943) Letra de Carlos Waiss Música de Tito Ribero They Call Me Tango John (1943) Lyrics by Carlos Waiss, trans. J. Osburn Music by Tito Ribero Soy un mozo pobre y bueno