Luis Alposta

Farewell to Héctor Negro

oday we are saying goodbye to Héctor Negro, always a poet; the one with the cap and the backpack; the sparrow; the author of memorable tangos. The supportive man. The one who in “Un mundo nuevo” (A new world) told us:

Dame el brazo bien fuerte y caminemos,
que otro mundo distinto
hoy tengo para darte.

(Let me hold your arm firmly and let’s walk because today I have a different world to give you)

Negro has been the poet of hope. The one who wrote: «Yo me saco la mufa con mate amargo / y me lavo las muecas con luz de sol».
(I free myself from a bad mood with bitter mate and I wash my grimaces with moonlight)

The one who liked to bet on life, «apostar por la vida»:

En este viaje
De llegada y despedida,
De crepúsculos y auroras
De esperanzas no cumplidas.
En este juego
De la eterna recorrida,
Por el llanto y por la risa
Por la pena presentida.
En esta suerte
De pulseada con la muerte,
Apuesto por la vida.

(In this journey of arrival and farewell, of twilights and dawns, of hopes not fulfilled. In this game of eternal tour through weeping and laughter because of the foreseen sorrow. In this sort of arm-wrestling with Death I bet on Life)

His has been a voice in which poetry and the people are blended, a voice of collective conscience that brought for us an oeuvre thought and written to be sung by everybody.

It is the strongest evidence that language is life. And the art par excellence that uses language is poetry. And poetry is what we find throughout his oeuvre.

In his condition of fundamental porteño, Héctor Negro wisely emphasized the issues of the city which he loved so much.

A man of loyalties to ideas and people; anyone who had been in touch with him knows very well about his bonhomie and generosity.

I am not going to expand on the importance of his oeuvre, on his essays about song, on his journalistic work, on the awards he received, on the founding of the “El pan duro” literary group, on the founding of the Círculo de Poesía Lunfarda, on the Buenos Aires, tango y lo demás magazine, on his commitment with cultural spreading and teaching, nor to recall the titles of his tangos. But I do invite you to read him again and listen to him.

We are bidding farewell to the poet and friend, but somebody said that «poets begin to live when they die». Then, dear Negro, you’ll go on being among us.

Excerpted from his book “Mosaicos porteños”.

Director’s note: Héctor Negro was a great friend of Todo Tango and mine. Every time we met at the Academia Nacional del Tango he used to greet me affectionately and made me comments about how useful our portal was for him and that he frequently used its material in his classes. His words were the greatest satisfaction we may get. It turned out incredible that such a poet would praise our work with so much humility. Today when he is gone, the inexorable fate trepans a new hole in our tango hearts. Ricardo García Blaya