Roberto Selles

Madame Ivonne and the origin of its name

o talk about the birth of “Madame Ivonne” would mean disappointing more than one tango fan. But even if we have to run that risk, we are going to do it.

In the early 1960s, Eduardo Pereyra, the composer of its music, told Ernesto Segovia (León Benarós’s pen name), for the Tanguera magazine, that such girl Ivonne was not the protagonist of the romantic story thought by Enrique Cadícamo, but the woman who run a boarding house in Montevideo.

«The tango “Madame Ivonne”, Chon Pereyra used to say, is inspired in the Rhapsody Nº 2 by Liszt (...) when I composed “Madame Ivonne” I used the first bar of the rhapsody. Thereafter, I put it aside and I did my own thing, something which has to do with that beginning. Firstly I wrote the music, to which later Enrique Cadícamo added lyrics. People think that a woman must inevitably be in songs like this. There is no such thing. In fact, yes, there was a woman but not in the sense that everybody thinks. The woman in the tango was not an old flame of mine but, simply, the one who collected the money I paid for my stay in the boarding house in Montevideo».

Immediately, Pereyra clears out: «I lived in a boarding house, on Ciudadela Street in the 1400 block. The owner was a French lady named Louise, and the administrator, also a French woman, was named, precisely, Ivonne (...) An unfortunate finger infection stopped me from doing my work. Ivonne was alarmed. As it was her duty, she asked me to pay the rent.

«Within me, I wished to pay homage to this good lady Ivonne, who had behaved so well with me and had been so patient to wait for my pay which never was coming true».

The homage, of course, was the tango “Madame Ivonne”, to which Cadícamo adapted lines in Buenos Aires.

The story in the lyrics is another thing. However, Pereyra used to think: «The Madame Ivonne of the tango was not, of course, that other humble Ivonne of Montevideo, who run the French boarding house on Ciudadela Street... But tango and poetry finally won». And, please, dear reader, we are sorry if we have disappointed you.

Algunas grabaciones de “Madame Ivonne

Carlos Gardel con Orquesta Francisco Canaro (1933)
Carlos Gardel con guitarras de Barbieri, Pettorossi, Riverol y Vivas (1933)
Orquesta Edgardo Donato, canta: Alberto Gómez (1935)
Trío Ciriaco Ortiz, instrumental
Orquesta Ricardo Tanturi, canta: Alberto Castillo (1942)
Rodolfo Lesica con Orquesta Alberto Di Paulo (1960)
Cuarteto Troilo-Grela, instrumental, (1962)
Julio Sosa con Orquesta Leopoldo Federico (1962)
Hugo Del Carril con Orquesta Armando Pontier (1964)
Dúo Ciriaco Ortiz - Ubaldo De Lio (1965)
Roberto Goyeneche con Orquesta Armando Pontier (1966)
Edmundo Rivero con guitarras (1973)
Susana Rinaldi con orquesta
Fabián Rey, con Orquesta Fabián Rey
Félix Aldao, con orquesta acompañante
Alfredo Zitarrosa con guitarras (1981)
Alberto Podestá con Trío Ernesto Rossi (1982)
Edmundo Muni Rivero con Orquesta Carlos Figari
Orquesta José Libertella, canta: Edgar Rubino
Orquesta Nacional de Música Argentina «Juan De Dios Filiberto», canta: Alejandro Lerner (1995)
Luis Cardei con bandoneón De Antonio Pisano (1995)
Liliana Barrios con conjunto acompañante Carlos Buono (1995)
Dúo Hugo Romero - Raúl Peña, instrumental, (1996)
Trío Los Morochos, canta: Norberto Viñas (1996)
Lalo Martel con guitarras de César Lucero (1996)
Adriana Varela con conjunto acompañante (1998)
Trío Orlando Trujillo, canta: Enrique Paredes (1998)
Darío Landi con su guitarra (2002)
Osvaldo Miró con las guitarras de Hugo Rivas (2002)