Fruta amarga Tango
Golondrinas Tango
Mano cruel Tango
Lydia Orsi

Springtime in our lives and in tango

na orgía de luz!...
El cantor de selváticos poemas
anuncia en sus pregones orquestales
¡el reventar glorioso de las yemas!

(Evaristo Carriego)

Pagan spring in art
In the period of Renaissance painting (fifteenth century) Sandro Botticelli portrayed, in his famous painting Primavera (Allegory of Spring), the pagan myth of the need of an unhappy event so that life, blossoming and happiness may come back...

The origins might have been in the Roman festivities. In the Feast of Flora or Floraria, the nymph Chloris as she talked her lips breathed spring roses. In May, Zephir, the god of winds, was deeply attracted by Chloris and raped her. Regretting his attitude, he transformed her into Flora, the goddess of flowers and gave her a garden so that spring would reign eternally.

In the painting two aspects can be evidenced: the erotic chase after Chloris and her transformation into Flora spreading flowers. The clothes of both women will float in opposite direction. Flowers and fruits are symbolic. Orange trees represent the Medicis’ garden. Venus, goddess of love in the center; above her: Cupid throwing his love arrows at the three Graces. Surrounded by violets, wild berries, roses (love flowers), and forget-me-nots, hyacinths, irises, houseleeks, pinks, anemones shall be spread...

Flowers will represent homage, joy for the beginning, revival, surrender, happiness... because of that they will be a synonym of everlasting spring.

Spring in Stravinsky
When Igor Stravinsky composed his “Rite of Spring”, in 1910, he imagined the sacrifice of a young woman dancing until she dies by bringing pagan rituals and popular melodies from Russian folk music. The death of the maid would guarantee the return of spring based on the cults of fertility, death, and return to earth in transfiguration.

Spring in tango
Astor Piazzolla composed in the 60s his Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, and premiered them with his quintet: bandoneon, piano, violin, electric guitar and double bass.

“Primavera porteña” (1970), likewise Stravinsky, starts with strength; bandoneon accompanied by percussion, later the piano and the other instruments will enter at the time prior to the drama in an “in crescendo” that will soften when accompanying the rite. Finally, in the triumphant return, strident dissonances will celebrate the

No, we cannot leave unmentioned, before presenting the lyrics, the exceptional Francisco De Caro’s tango with a suggestive title: “Flores negras” (Black Flowers)(1927), inclusion of the romanza to the tango beat. In this case it is not the lyrics but the unique music by Francisco full of chords and sweetness which stands out.

Spring in tango lyrics

Fruta amarga” (1944)

Eras la luz del sol y la canción feliz
y la llovizna gris en mi ventana.
Eras remanso fiel y duende soñador
y jazminero en flor y eras mañana,
suave murmullo, viento de loma
cálido arrullo de la paloma...

Naranjo en flor” (1944): “Primero hay que saber sufrir,/después amar, después partir/y al fin andar sin pensamiento...” (First you have to know how it is suffering, later love and much later what is forsaking and lastly become thougthless) the poet Homero Expósito will tell us in his tango, maybe summarizing the pagan rite above mentioned: the eternal perfume of the orange flower (Medicis’ garden) always revives after suffering.

It is a need of Nature to make beautiful what has to be reproduced, Man uses language to turn into metaphors what he has experienced. The literary tango thought, following the collective imagination, transforms, on occasions, the presence of flowers not only into metaphors but also into symbols.

Some authors choose species of their environment to lyrically identify themselves with them.

Clavel del aire” (1929): This flower clings to other branches like she took hold of a generous heart that allowed her to live and also gave her a life of love... but later withdrawal and tragedy appeared.

Y mi ramazón
Secándose iba,
cuando ella una tarde
mi sombra buscó...
Un ave cantó en mi ramazón
y el árbol sin flores
tuvo su flor.

Como el clavel del
aire así era ella
Igual que una flor
Prendida a mi corazón
¡Oh cuanto lloré
cuando me dejó!

Mano cruel” (1929): A young, simple life, plain love, a bud, a spring offering until somebody, furtively, made it an object of sensual pleasure depriving it of its foretold joyful destiny. The description only required simple comparative metaphors.

Mintió aquel hombre que riquezas te ofreció,
con mano cruel ajó tu gracia y tu virtud.
Fuiste la rosa de fragante juventud
que hurtó al pasar el caballero que pasó.

Quedémonos aquí” (1956)

Amor, la vida se nos va,
quedémonos aquí, ya es hora de llegar
¡amor, quedémonos aquí!
¿Por qué sin compasión rodar?
Amor, la flor se ha vuelto a abrir
y hay gusto a soledad, quedémonos aquí.
Nuestro cansancio es un poema sin final
que aquí podemos terminar

Abre tu vida sin ventanas
¡Mira que lindo que está el río!
Se despierta la mañana y tengo ganas
de ofrecerte un ramillete de rocío.
¡Basta de noches y de olvidos!
¡Basta de alcohol sin esperanzas!
Deja todo lo que ha sido
desangrarse en ese ayer sin fe.

Like in the pagan rite, a tragic ending for a fortunate beginning “Quedémonos aquí” (Let’s stay here) is today. “La flor se ha vuelto a abrir” (The flower has blossomed again) is an invitation to spring, to end the poem that started with oblivion, nights, drinking. It is an invitation to life, to an awakening to colors, to the truth of feelings, an opening to the harmony of a future in full. Life, a flower, love, a bouquet of dew drops and a poem summarize spring.

Golondrinas” (1934)

Criollita de mi pueblo,
pebeta de mi barrio,
la golondrina un día
su vuelo detendrá.
No habrá nube en sus ojos
de vagas lejanías,
y en tus brazos amantes
su nido construirá.
Su anhelo de distancias
se aquietará en tu boca,
con la dulce fragancia
de tu viejo querer.
Criollita de mi pueblo,
pebeta de mi barrio,
con las alas plegadas
también yo he de volver.

The character is that wandering swallow “with fever on her wings” that was looking for “faraway skies”, “other paths” but that now will stay in her, in her arms to build a future. It is an offering of spring. It is a hopeful offering to share life. Like in the pagan rite, tragedy, in this case, oblivion and absence, turned into the happiness of meeting.