Tango Lyrics in Spanish and English


Like two strangers (1940)
Luis Cardei with Antonio Pisano

Adriana Varela

Juan Carlos Casas with Pedro Laurenz
Music by: Pedro Laurenz
Lyrics by: Jose Maria Contursi
Translated by: Alejandro Ridilenir

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Last update on: 1/19/08

The poetry of Jose Maria Contursi can be an acquired taste for the tango connoisseur because of the one-dimensional scope of his themes. A review of his prolific body of work indicates the use of a refined language that helped raised the average quality of the tango lyrics. This is quite an accomplishment considering that he is the son of Pascual Contursi, author of Mi noche triste (My sad night) credited with having launched the popularity of lyrics to be sung to tango music.

The recurring theme in the majority of Jose Maria Contursi is the poetic and sensitive story of Gricel, perhaps his most popular tango. There is passionate love affair, then a break up and painful regrets from having done it. The character then spends the rest of his life moping and looking for the lost love. In Como dos extraños (Like two strangers) Contursi allegedly got his inspiration from hearing a waiter at a café relating the story of how he decided to go looking for a lost love. Encouraged by his co-workers, he travels to the province of Cordoba (where all the women of Contursi tangos seem to go after their frustrated love affairs) only to find his former flame working as a clerk at a convenience store, a shadow of her former self. The shock of her sight sends the heroe back to his buddies where he then relates his experience.

Version en castellano English translation
Me acobardó la soledad
y el miedo enorme de morir lejos de ti...
¡Qué ganas tuve de llorar
sintiendo junto a mí
la burla de la realidad!
Y el corazón me suplicó
que te buscara y que le diera tu querer...
Me lo pedía el corazón
y entonces te busqué
creyéndote mi salvación...

Y ahora que estoy frente a ti
parecemos, ya ves, dos extraños...
Lección que por fin aprendí:
¡cómo cambian las cosas los años!
Angustia de saber muertas ya
la ilusión y la fe...
Perdón si me ves lagrimear...
¡Los recuerdos me han hecho mal!

Palideció la luz del sol
al escucharte fríamente conversar...
Fue tan distinto nuestro amor
y duele comprobar
que todo, todo terminó.
¡Qué gran error volverte a ver
para llevarme destrozado el corazón!
Son mil fantasmas, al volver
burlándose de mí,
las horas de ese muerto ayer...
Loneliness intimidated me
and the enormous fear of dying far from you...
Great was my desire of crying
feeling close to me
the jeer of reality!
And the heart begged me
to look for you and give it your love...
My heart was asking for it
and then I looked for you
believing you were my salvation...

And now that I am in front of you
we seem,as you can see,two strangers...
The lesson that I have finally learned:
Is how years make things change!
Anguish of knowing illusion and faith
were already dead...
I´m sorry if you see me weeping...
Memories have done me wrong!

The light of the sun turned pale
when it listened to your cold conversation...
Our love was so different
and it hurts to realize
that everything, everything ended.
What a great mistake to see you again
to take away my shattered heart!
They are thousand ghosts,
returning to mock me
the hours of that dead past...

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