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Every tanguero knows the moment in a milonga when the mood shifts from urban to rural, city to country, the street to the soil, when a chacarera comes on and those who can dance joyously to the classic folkloric genre. Falucho/Chelsea marked Hispanic Heritage Month in New York with this bow to that wider heritage. Añoranzas is the official cultural anthem of Santiago de Estero, the oldest colonial city in Argentina and the capital of the province where chacarera originated. The composer-lyricist Julio Argentino Jeréz was significant in keeping folkloric culture alive in Buenos Aires, where he was also a notable tango singer. At Falucho, Silvana Brizuela and Jorge Rojas taught a chacarera class and danced the song live after the recitation. Carlos Quiroga DJed, Francisco Pancho Navarro and Javier Sanchez provided live music.

Añoranzas (1945)
Chacarera doble
Música y letra
de Julio Argentino Jeréz

The Things I Miss (1945)
Chacarera doble
Music and lyrics
by Julio Argentino Jeréz, trans. J. Osburn
Cuando salí de Santiago,
todo el camino lloré.
Lloré sin saber por qué;
pero si les aseguro:
que mi corazón es duro,
pero aquel día afloje.

When I left Santiago for sure,
my eyes shed tears the whole way.
For what I wept I couldn’t say;
but one thing the tears can’t obscure
is my heart will always endure,
though it nearly cracked upon that day.
Dejé aquel suelo querido
y el rancho donde nací,
donde tan feliz viví,
alegremente cantando.
En cambio vivo llorando,
igualito que el crespín.

I left that precious soil behind me
and the ranch where ma gave me birth,
where my days were full of mirth
and my songs were happy and free.
But I cry today inconsolably,
a cuckoo lamenting its dearth.
Los años ni las distancias
jamás pudieron lograr,
de mi memoria apartar;
ni hacer que te eche al olvido:
¡ay mi Santiago querido,
yo añoro tu quebracha!

Neither the years nor the open spaces
will ever be able to find
that I’ve put you out of my mind;
no matter the distance or how long ago,
O my belovéd Santiago,
I miss the sweetness of your pines…
Mañana, cuando me muera,
si alguien se apiada de mí,
llevenmé donde nací,
si quieren darme la gloria
y toquen a mi memoria
la doble que canto aquí.

Tomorrow, when death ends my story,
if by some good soul I’m to be pitied,
to the place I was born I’ll be carried,
if they want to grant me the glory
and dance and play to my memory
the chacarera I sing to you now.
En mis horas de tristeza,
siempre me pongo a pensar:
¿como pueden olvidar,
algunos de mis paisanos
rancho, padre, madre, hermanos
con tanta facilidad?

In the long days of my sadness,
I find I set myself to thinking:
how can they be forgetting,
those folk who are my brothers,
farmers, ranchers, fathers and mothers,
with so little regretting?
Santiagueño no ha de ser
el que obre de esa manera.
Despreciar la chacarera,
por otra danza importada:
eso es verla mancillada
a nuestra raza campera.

To be from Santiago’s never
to have to act in a city manner.
To disrespect the chacarera
to dance to some imported strain:
just the sight of it would leave a stain
on our proud old country banner.

La otra noche a mis almohadas,
mojadas las encontré.
Mas ignoro si soñé,
o es que despierto lloraba;
y en lontananza miraba
el rancho aquel que dejé.

T’other night I rolled over in my sleep
and I found my pillows soaked.
Was it in a dream I moped,
or did I just awaken crying
while from a lonely distance spying
the dear old ranch the dream evoked?
Tal vez en el camposanto,
no haya un lugar para mí.
Paisanos, voy pedir,
que cuando llegue el momento,
tirenmé en el campo abierto,
pero sí, donde nací.

Perhaps in consecrated ground
there will be no sacred space for me.
Country folk, hear my plea,
that when the moment comes around,
you’ll lay my body with the sky all round,
where I was born, the country.
Añoranzas lyrics © Editorial Musical Tierra Linda,
WB Music Corp. OBO Editoral Musical Tierra Linda.

Watch Los Manseros Santiagueños perform Añoranzas below (the translated lyrics begin after a recited prologue).

As music and dance, chacarera is an upbeat counterpoint to tango when done at a milonga, but these lyrics, at least, touch on similar themes. Homesickness, loss, class distinction, nostalgia, and death are evoked. To be sure, the rhymes are punchier, the lines brisker in effect, the affect more communal than personal. I’ve kept the rhyme scheme, or the feel of it where I couldn’t, and taken small liberties to do so. Like many tangueros, I haven’t given chacarera the attention it’s due as a visiting cousin. It was a pleasure to meet you, Añoranzas.
—John Osburn


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