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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 ayer...

Se queja con un tono de abandono

que recuerda con dolor

la noche del adiós...

la noche que encendimos de reproches

y el amor pasó.


My anxiety cries out…

And my loneliness will shout

and I will want to sob disheartenedly.

The suspense of a die-roll and suddenly,

love is gone,

the heart of love is squandered in a torrent.

The plaint of our yesterdays,

complaint with the affect of a love neglected

recollecting with torment

the night of our adiós

the night that ignited our reproaches

and then our love was gone.


la triste y la más gris canción de amor...


el último y fatal ayer final...

Fue mi desprecio, mi desprecio necio.

Fue tu amargura, tu amargura oscura.

Nuestro egoísmo nos lanzó al abismo

y nos vimos de repente en el torrente

más atroz.

Torrente de rencor

brutal y cruel,

que ya no ofrece salvación.



the saddest and the most overcast of songs of love…

That day…

that ultimate and final and fatal day…

It was my disdain, my inane disdain.

It was your resentment, your indignant resentment.

Our hubris threw us to the abyss

and we saw ourselves that moment in a torrent

gone berserk.

A torrent of rancor

brutal and cruel

from which we’ll never again be saved.

Se queja el corazón...

Se queja con razón

al ver lo que quedó de aquel pasado.

Perfume de rosal

rumor callado de cristal

y todo es un nidal abandonado.

Solloza el corazón...

solloza como un niño sin cariño,

sin abrigo ni ilusión.

Y vuelve del adiós

la tarde en que los dos fuimos cobardes

y el amor pasó.

My broken heart cries out…

convulses in a shout

on seeing what is left of our time.

Perfume of the rose bush

soft sound quieted by a hush

and everything is a nest abandoned.

My broken heart cries out…

It throws a tantrum like a loveless little boy

without security blanket or dreams.

Once again, the adiós

the evening on which we acted like cowards

and then our love was gone.


The familiar and powerful Troilo-Marino version is played most frequently at milongas:


Marino doesn't sing the final verse, but it can be heard in this recording by the the great Roberto Goyeneche:


"Torrente" has a number of interesting features, including internal rhymes that in some cases are directly adjacent, such as "desprecio necio" and "amargura oscura." Others, such as "repente en el torrente" are almost adjacent. Recited or sung, they produce an emotion that is both powerful and slightly playful. Reflecting these in English was just one of the challenges that made Manzi's lyric a pleasure to engage with.

John Osburn


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