Tango Lyrics in Spanish and English


My sad night (1917)

Music by: Samuel Castriota
Lyrics by: Pascual Contursi
Translated by: Alberto Paz
See English lyrics for singing
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Last Updated: 8/23/00

The birth of the sentimental Tango

The turn of the century found the city of Buenos Aires in a profound metamorphosis resulting from the massive wave of immigrants that had swollen the population of the great city. Tango music provided a background to the solitude of the mostly male inhabitants of the port district. These were the patrons at the many brothels that sold love by the hour.
By 1917, the majority of the blood flowing through the veins of the porteños was foreign. For these new Argentinos, the music of the compadritos, the Tango of the outskirts, was no longer palatable. They longed for sentimental songs that would connect them with a faraway past.
With Mi Noche Triste, Pascual Contursi, the bard of the arrabal, hit a nerve. Its melodramatic verses expressed feelings that drove people to tears. Tango would never be happy, gay and playful again. The Tango with a story line had arrived. It was the birth of the sentimental Tango. Nostalgic, melodramatic, sad, the new lyrics and the music that was created for them, became a reflection of a city and its people. Contursi had managed to draw a comic strip telling the story of a pimp dumped by his percanta, but he did it in a melancholic setting that any dejected lover could identify with.
Pascual Contursi wrote Mi Noche Triste in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1915. It was common at the time to write lyrics for existing music. The music of Mi Noche Triste belongs to a Tango named Lita written by Samuel Castriota. Carlos Gardel first sang this Tango among friends in Uruguay. Then, putting at risk his artistic career, he performed it for the first time on stage at the Teatro Esmeralda (today itís named Maipo) in 1917.

Los Angeles artist Pepe Crow submitted lyrics written by him for an upcoming movie on the life of Carlos Gardel. Rather than a translation, the lyrics are meant to be sung to the music of Mi noche triste, in English.

Version en castellano

English version

Singing version

Percanta que me amuraste
en lo mejor de mi vida
dejandome el alma herida
y splin en el corazon,
sabiendo que te queria,
que vos eras mi alegria
y mi sueño abrasador...
Para mi ya no hay consuelo
y por eso me encurdelo
pa' olvidarme de tu amor.

Cuando voy a mi cotorro
lo veo desarreglado,
todo triste, abandonado,
me dan ganas de llorar,
y me paso largo rato
campaneando tu retrato
pa' poderme consolar.

De noche cuando me acuesto
no puedo cerrar la puerta
porque dejandola abierta
me hago ilusion que volves.
Siempre traigo bizcochitos
pa' tomar con matecito
como cuando estabas vos...
Y si vieras la catrera
como se pone cabrera
cuando no nos ve a los dos.

Ya no hay en el bulin
aquellos lindos frasquitos
adornados con moñitos
todos de un mismo color,
y el espejo esta empañado,
si parece que ha llorado
por la ausencia de tu amor.

La guitarra en el ropero
todavia esta colgada;
nadie en ella canta nada
ni hace sus cuerdas vibrar...
Y la lampara del cuarto
tambien tu ausencia ha sentido
porque su luz no ha querido
mi noche triste alumbrar.

Woman, you dumped me
at the prime of my life
leaving my soul wounded
and dullness in my heart,
knowing that I loved you,
that you were my joy
and my burning dream...
There is no solace for me,
that is why Iím getting drunk
to forget about you love.

When I return to my room
I find it all messed up,
very sad, abandoned,
I feel like crying,
and I spend long hours
staring at your portrait
to find solace.

At night when I go to bed
I can't close the door
because leaving it open
I make believe that you're back.
I always bring cookies
to accompany the mate
like if you were still here.
And if could see the bed
how upsets it gets
when it does not see us both.

There are no longer in the room
those pretty little bottles
decorated with ribbons,
all of the same color,
and the mirror looks foggy,
it seems that it has cried
for the absence of your love.

The guitar in the closet
is still hanging
nobody ever sings anything
or makes its strings vibrate...
And the lamp in the room
also has felt your absence
because its light has not wanted
to light up my sorrowful night.

The moment I did surrender
my heart to you, I remember
with love and kisses so tender,
you promised you never lied,
knowing that my heart was lonely
and your promises were only,
an excuse to get my love...
and since then my life is broken
and I find myself just walking
never knowing where to go.

In the room where we were lovers,
on the floor pillows and covers,
sweet "momentos" of our passion,
memories which make me cry.
On the table there's your picture
that reminds me of our future
which has now become a lie...

Half awake I hear your footsteps,
I always leave my door open
assuming your heart is broken
and you'll come back to my side...
I keep buying from the corner
every cake you used to order,
pie and "mate" to enjoy...
I can feel our bed complainig
it misses you every morning
'cause she used to watch our joy.

I dont' see over your dresser
that feminine touch of beauty,
parfume bottles tied with ribbons,
only a woman can display
and the mirror... faithful witness,
of your beauty and my sickness
is missing you night and day.

I remember in the evenings
all the poems and your singing.
The guitar now's in the closet,
no one else will sing or play...
even the light on the ceiling
seems to be losing its power,
every moment... every hour...
it's a torture... I must say...


Arrabal: slums in the outskirts of the city.

Percanta: how the ruffian called his lover

Porteños: those from the port; name given to those born in the capital city of Buenos Aires.

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