Roberto Selles

La mariposa - The tango “La mariposa” and its recordings

xcept for some honorable exceptions, generally Pedro Maffia did not succeed in having lyrics written by his collaborators with a level according to the quality of his melodies. The great Celedonio Flores did not produce for the highly talented bandoneonist, precisely, his best texts at all in the cases of “La mariposa” and “Sentencia”; but he did it with the unfortunately forgotten “Malevito” that Carlos Gardel committed to record.

La mariposa” was an instrumental tango and as such the orchestra of Francisco Canaro premiered it at the Royal Pigall cabaret, in 1921. Later, Maffia had the idea of adding lyrics to it and so he turned to Flores, who had already produced two little jewels for the porteño songbook, such as “Margot” and “Mano a mano”.

The result was quite different. Celedonio had to work on a melody already composed and consequently, the lines were limited almost only to fill that melody. There we do not read lunfardo expressions, except for the inclusion of pebeta and piba; the rest is correct Spanish. But a Spanish full of commonplaces, with phrases that are incapable of being touching.

Let us see:

No es que esté arrepentido
de haberte querido tanto,
lo que me apena es tu olvido
y tu traición
me sume en amargo llanto(...).

Después de libar, traidora,
en el rosal de mi amor,
te marchas engañadora,
para buscar
el encanto de otra flor.

It is not that I am sorry
For having loved you so much,
But your oblivion makes me sad
And your betrayal so deep is
That sinks me into bitter weeping(...)

And after sucking, you traitress,
In the rosewood of my love nest,
You left me, cunning deceiver,
For the charm of other flower.

Maybe the nearest thing here to the lyricist we found in his two previous classics is the phrase that says:

Aquella tarde que te vi
tu estampa me gustó,
pebeta de arrabal,
y sin saber por qué, yo te seguí
y el corazón te di
y fue tan solo por mi mal.

The afternoon I saw you
I liked your figure,
Gal from the outskirts,
And not knowing why, I followed you
And I gave you my heart
but it was only to do me wrong.

Gardel recorded it in 1923, accompanied by José Ricardo and Guillermo Barbieri, and he did it again in 1930, with Barbieri, José María Aguilar and Angel Domingo Riverol, and on December 5 in the same year, with the orchestra of Canaro.

There were, besides, a great number of recordings, such as those of Alberto Gómez, Angel Vargas, Aníbal Troilo with Edmundo Rivero, Virginia Luque and, among others, the excellent instrumental version that in 1965, in an arrangement by Julián Plaza, Osvaldo Pugliese committed to record.

Recordings of "La mariposa":

Solo de guitarra de Mario Pardo, instrumental (década del '20).
Carlos Gardel, guitarras de Barbieri y Ricardo (1923).
Orquesta Francisco Canaro, instrumental (09/12/27).
Orquesta Pedro Maffia, Roberto Maida (1930).
Carlos Gardel, guitarras de Aguilar, Barbieri y Riverol (30/09/30).
Orquesta Francisco Canaro, Carlos Gardel (02/12/30).
Orquesta Francisco Canaro, Carlos Gardel (05/12/30).
Orquesta Juan D'Arienzo, instrumental (23/03/38).
José Berón con guitarras (1959).
Orquesta Tito Ribero, Hugo Del Carril (04/01/40).
Orquesta Osvaldo Fresedo, instrumental (23/08/45).
Orquesta Pedro Maffia —Maffia-Gómez—, Alberto Gómez (02/09/46).
Orquesta Joaquín Mora, Andrés Falgas (1947).
Ángel Vargas con su orquesta dirigida por Eduardo Del Piano (07/02/49).
Orquesta Aníbal Troilo, Edmundo Rivero (22/07/49).
Orquesta Argentino Galván, Horacio Deval (1953).
Orquesta Mario Demarco, Edmundo Rivero (1962).
Orquesta José Libertella, Miguel Montero (11/11/63).
Alberto Marino con las guitarras de José Canet (1964).
Orquesta Osvaldo Pugliese, instrumental (01/04/66).
Orquesta Juan D'Arienzo, Osvaldo Ramos (28/11/67).
Orquesta José Basso, Juan Carlos Godoy (1968).
Orquesta Baffa-Berlingieri, Roberto Rufino (08/04/69).
Orquesta Alfredo De Angelis, instrumental (18/08/72).
Hugo Díaz (armónica) y su conjunto, instrumental (1974).
Trio Federico-Berlingieri-Cabarcos, instrumental (1975).
Orquesta Atilio Stampone, Hugo Marcel (1977).
Orquesta Leopoldo Federico, Carlos Gari (1979).
Orquesta Osvaldo Requena, Virginia Luque (década del '70).
Raúl Lavie, Con orquesta dirigida por Walter Ríos (década del '80).
Orquesta Cristóbal Ramos, Carlos Cristal (1981).
Orquesta Osvaldo Pugliese, instrumental (26/11/86).
Orquesta Osvaldo Berlingieri, instrumental (1985).
Horacio Molina (década el '90).
Orquesta Color Tango, instrumental (década el '90).
Orquesta Osvaldo Berlingieri, Beatriz Suárez Paz (1993).
Trio Cattaneo-Chambouleyron-Viggiano, Brian Chambouleyron (01/02/97).
Orquesta Jorge Dragone, Juan Carlos Godoy (1998).