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Y todavía te quiero

This big, dramatic tango arises from a simple, straightforward lyric merged with a driving musical composition. Few tangueros will not have danced it, especially in the Varela-Lesica version, which DJ Michael Shanahan played following the recital by John and Renée at Falucho/Chelsea in Arte Cafe.

Y todavía te quiero (1956)
Letra de Abel Aznar
Música de Luciano Leocata

And I Still Love You (1956)
Lyrics by Abel Aznar, trans. J. Osburn
Music by Luciano Lecata
Cada vez que te tengo en mis brazos,
que miro tus ojos, que escucho tu voz,
y que pienso en mi vida en pedazos
el pago de todo lo que hago por vos,
me pregunto: ¿ por qué no termino
con tanta amargura, con tanto dolor?...
Si a tu lado no tengo destino...
¿Por qué no me arranco del pecho este amor?

Every time that I have you in my arms,
that I look into your eyes, that I hear your voice,
and think of my life torn to pieces by your charms,
how much it cost me that I did for you by choice,
I ask myself, why don’t I put an end
to the cause of this pain and so much bitterness?
If as part of your life my own’s a dead-end…
what keeps me with you? why don’t I rip this love from my chest?

¿Por qué..
si mentís una vez,
se mentís otra vez
y volvés a mentir?...

And why…
if you lie to me once,
if you lie to me twice
and lie to me again?...
¿Por qué…
yo te vuelvo a barazar,
yo te vuelvo a besar
aunque me hagas sufrir?

And why…
do I come back to embrace you,
do I come back to kiss you
although you make me suffer?
Yo sé
que es tu amor una herida,
que es la cruz de mi vida,
y mi perdición…

I know
that your love is the thing that wounds me
that your love’s the cross that binds me,
and my damnation…
¿Por qué
me atormento por vos
y mi angustia por vos
es peor cada vez?...

Why do
I torment myself for you
since what I put myself through
is worse every time?...
¿Y por qué,
con el alma en pedazos,
me abrazo a tus brazos,
si no me querés?

And so why,
with a soul torn all to pieces
do I cleave still to your embraces,
if you don’t love me?
Yo no puedo vivir como vivo…
Lo sé, lo comprendo con toda razón,
si a tu lado tan sólo recibo
la amarga caricia de tu compasion…

I can live no longer as I’m living…
That I know, I know it with complete certainty,
if by your side I am only receiving
the caressing bitterness of your empathy…
Sin embargo… ¿Por qué yo no grito
que es toda mentira, mentira tu amor
y por qué de tu amor necesito,
si en él sólo encuentro matirio y dolor?

Oh but why… Why is it I don’t cry out
that it’s nothing but lies, your love’s a calumny
and why is your love what I can’t live without,
if I find nothing more in it than a martyr’s agony?
Listen to the Héctor Varela-Rodolfo Lesica recording here.

These lyrics express an unadorned feeling in a romantic situation, with minimal symbolism. The language is not gender specific, unless faintly, perhaps, in the cross image (although sung mostly by men in the classical period, Libertad Lemarque did a memorable version with Juan D’Arienzo). The rhymes are a key part of the aural experience of all of the recordings, whether or not one understands the Spanish, and I managed to mirror the pattern in the translation.
—John Osburn  


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