El curdela Tango
Mis harapos Canción
Eduardo Moreno

Mis harapos - Another wrong claim of a popular song

ome time before 1920, in the same magazine that published the stanzas of “A mi madre (Con los amigos)” signed by Almafuerte —a mistaken recognition as we today know—, appeared the rhymed lines of “Mis harapos” mentioning the name of Alberto Ghiraldo as wordsmith of the lyrics.

A talented avant-garde writer and a poet that wrote about social subjects, he was also a playwright and founder, together with Enrique García Velloso and other noteworthy writers, of the Asociación de Autores Dramáticos, an institution that would reunite all the playwrights in our country. His name was shining on the billboards of the downtown theaters with the successful titles of Misia Pancha la brava, La columna de fuego and others.

An important journalist, he founded the newspaper La Antorcha with another idealist named Rodolfo González Pacheco. His poetry that contained a rebellious social content led people to think that “Mis harapos” belonged to Ghiraldo.

When the guitarist Marino García added the well-known music to it, Alberto Ghiraldo had been deported to Spain. So he never knew about it.

It was a time when the art creators, who were truly intellectuals, had no laws that protected their rights concerning their oeuvre. There was a copyright cordially dealt between producers and merchants. The absence of Ghiraldo did not make possible a personal complaint that would have denied his authorship as for the lines at issue.

Ghiraldo in his new country knew that the Society to which he would always belong had been informed of a payment of five thousand pesos accrued by the recording companies in his name and the former, quickly, declared that he had never written those lines and denied any other connection.

In 1943 when we founded the Estrellas magazine, sponsored by don Julio Gómez, one of the most important distributors of newspapers and magazines in the nation, we reached a nice friendship with the director of the Sintonía magazine, don Emilio Karstulovic. The latter, besides being an important journalist was a renowned race car driver and had won in difficult competitions in the American continent. Karstulo, as he was popularly known, had Jorge Luque Lobos as editor. The latter was an old paper man who had also written tango lyrics, like the ones with music by Pacho: “El curdela”, and some others.

Luque Lobos was a man whom you had to trust because of his age and due to his untouchable behavior. And, yes, he was the one who told us about his case at a time when anybody was able to take somebody else’s possession. And, in this case, the above mentioned magazine as publisher of popular lyrics, by filing in the record the copy that included the words of “Mis harapos”, confirmed the publisher as owner of the contents by stating that what was published had been totally paid. Useless were the efforts of the author to be recognized as such in an environment in which plundering was the usual regulation.

We came to know many pieces of evidence that demonstrated the paternity of Luque Lobos on “Mis harapos”, a song that still is in vogue today.

Cuadernos de difusión del tango, Year VI, nº 22.