Roberto Selles

El caburé - Story of the tango “El Caburé”

t the contest for theater plays that the Teatro Nacional organized in 1909, the play El Caburé written by Roberto Lino Cayol with music by Arturo De Bassi was awarded the second prize. The first award was for José González Castillo’s La serenata, whose music had been composed by José Carrilero.

El Caburé was premiered —according to Jacobo de Diego— at the same theater, on December 30, 1910. And here is where the confusion among the historians springs up: Was or wasn’t the tango piece “El Caburé” sung at that play? Some say it was; others say it wasn’t.

In fact, during the first season the tango piece had not been composed yet.

The actor and director Juan José Podestá presented it on the Apolo stage, again according to De Diego, but the title tango did not turn up.

In the early 1911 the abovementioned musician composed the tango tune with the same title, but he did not premiere it at a theater play.

Luis Ordaz emphatically says: «In an interview made by Arsenio Mármol, a long time ago, Arturo De Bassi said that he had written that tango due to the success achieved by the little play and that he independently premiered it and it turned out a boom at the carnival balls of 1911». This information is strengthened by the dedication made by De Bassi when he published his composition: «A mi amigo Roberto L. Cayol».

De Diego, furthermore, says that the tango was included at the theater play during a later season and he thinks that José Muñiz sang it. «It is worth mentioning —he says— that Muñiz was member of the Vittone-Pomar company. The performance was probably made at the Nacional».

Muñiz —or whoever was—, sang then the lyrics of an author whose name De Bassi did not remember, but that Cayol signed as author of the play in which it was included:

A mí me llaman Caburé,
porque soy
un tipo que me hago temer
donde voy.

Later, another text whose lyricist is unknown appeared: "Me llaman el Caburé,/ creamé".

Finally, in 1945, Carlos Waiss wrote a third lyric so that Hugo Del Carril would manage to sing it in the film La cabalgata del circo:

Me llaman el Caburé,
porque soy
el milonguero más mentao
donde voy.

Below there is the definition of the word caburé, according to the Lexicon dictionary of lunfardo, popular, jargon and foreign words and locutions written by the Chief of Police (R) Adolfo Enrique Rodríguez, published in Todo Tango.

«CABURÉ: A wooing individual, a gallant flirter, a seducer successful with ladies, irresistible, brave. A small bird of prey whose feathers are regarded as possessing special powers when used as a charm».

Recordings of “El Caburé

Cuarteto Juan Maglio Pacho, instrumental (1913)
Rondalla del Gaucho Relámpago, instrumental (1915)
Orquesta Roberto Firpo, instrumental (25/08/27)
Orquesta Adolfo Carabelli, instrumental (28/10/32)
Orquesta Juan D'Arienzo, instrumental (22/09/37)
Orquesta Carlos Di Sarli, instrumental (01/08/46)
Orquesta Carlos Di Sarli, instrumental (1951)
Orquesta Ricardo Pedevilla, instrumental (1951)
Orquesta Lorenzo Barbero, instrumental (15/03/54)
Orquesta Francisco Rotundo, instrumental (01/08/56)
Hugo Del Carril con guitarras (31/03/64)
Orquesta Héctor Varela, instrumental (24/10/66)
Orquesta Miguel Villasboas, instrumental
Orquesta Juan Sánchez Gorio, instrumental (1977)
Conjunto Rafael Rossi «De La Guardia Vieja», instrumental (21/06/77)
Camerata Punta Del Este, instrumental (1979)
Orquesta Típica Corrientes (Angosta), instrumental (1980)
Cuarteto Oscar Bozzarelli, instrumental (1982)
Trío Cattaneo-Chambouleyron-Viggiano, cantan Soledad Villamil y Brian Chambouleyron (1998).