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Fuimos

This is a thoughtful and reflective tango that, despite the hopelessness it expresses, sounds almost caressing at times. Renée and John's spoken word performance was bookended by the dynamic live piano duo of Emiliano Messiez and Pablo Estigarribia.

Fuimos (1945)
Letra de Homero Manzi
Musica de José Dames

We Were (1945)
Lyrics by Homero Manzi, trans. J. Osburn
Music by José Dames

Fui como una lluvia de cenizas y fatigas
en las horas resignadas de tu vida…
gota de vinagre derramada,
fatalmente derramada, sobre todas tus heridas.
Fuiste por mi culpa
golondrina entre la nieve,
rosa marchitada por la nube que no llueve.

I was a falling rain of ashes and fatigue
in all the most accepting hours of all your life…
the littlest droplet of vinegar spilt,
dropped as if by the gall of fate into all the gashes of your wounds.
By my fault you became
a swallow froze and buffeted by wintry snows,
under a cloudy sky without rain, a withered rose.

Fuimos la esperanza que no llega,
que no alcanza
que no puede vislumbrar la tarde mansa.
Fuimos el viajero que no implora,
que no reza, que no llora,
que se echó a morir.

We were the hope of things to be that can’t be,
that keep out of reach,
that can’t catch a sight of an evening of peace.
We were the traveler who doesn’t beg or plead,
who doesn’t pray, who doesn’t cry,
and who has laid down to die.

¡Vete!
¿No comprendes que te estás matando?
¿No comprendes que te estoy llamando?
¡Vete!
No me beses que te estoy llorando
y quisiera no llorarte más…

Go now!
Can you not see that it’s you you are killing?
Can you not see that it’s you I am calling?
Go now!
Do not kiss me, it’s for you I am crying
and would that I’d cry for you no more…

¿No ves?
Es mejor que mi dolor
quede tirado con tu amor,
librado de mi amor final.
¡Vete!
¿No comprendes que te estoy salvando?
¿No comprendes que te estoy amando?
¡No me sigas, ni me llames, ni me beses
ni me llores, ni me quieras más!

D’you see?
It is better that I should throw
away your love alongside my sorrow,
from it set free, the last love I’ll know.
Go now!
Don’t you understand that I am saving you?
Don’t you understand that I am loving you?
Don’t follow me, or call to me, or send me kisses,
nor cry for me, nor love me anymore!
Fuimos la esperanza que no llega,
que no alcanza
que no puede vislumbrar su tarde mansa.
Fuimos el viajero que no implora,
que no reza, que no llora,
que se echó a morir.
We were the hope of things to be that can’t be,
that keep out of reach,
that can’t catch a sight of an evening of peace.
We were the traveler who doesn’t beg or plead,
who doesn’t pray, who doesn’t cry,
and who has laid down to die.

Listen to the contemporary singer Mariel Martinéz interpret Fuimos here: 

 Notes
Manzi is one of, if not the greatest tango lyricist, his technique so effortless as to seem nonexistent. The flow of language puts the rhymes where they are; imagery sprouts like shoots from a branch; no more is said than has to be said, despite the formal demands of meter and length. Where feasible, line length and opening stresses have been respected (Go now! does that for ¡Vete! in a way Go! would not). The rhymes, too, sometimes by means of vowel sounds within words (reach and peace) or placement earlier in the line (ashes and gashes). If the naturalness of the original is to be conveyed at all, it is through such marks of respect.
—John Osburn

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