Tango Argentino > La Cumparsita: tango's most famous tune

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by DanceMentor, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I suppose one of the most famous tango tunes of all time is La Cumparsita (I'm not sure the meaning of La Cumparsita...it seems to have different interpretations...anybody?)

    I believe I have danced to this tango more than any other song.
    (not just tango songs, but all songs)
    I love this tune.

    (From Todotango)
  2. will35

    will35 New Member

    I think they have the entire history of that song on todotango. Firpo claims to have composed part of it. The first part was by a student in Montevideo. His friends brought it to Firpo to arrange to a tango. A comparsa is a little carnival march, I believe.
  3. will35

    will35 New Member

    I don't know who wrote the lyric. Piazzola thought it was the ugliest thing he had ever heard. Don't know why. It's very infectious. It's got a neat little synchopation in almost every measure. How many people do you suppose have recorded that song? Thousands, surely.
  4. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Do you have a favorite version for La Cumparsita? I had and old CD from Sony and the group was called Cinco Latino I believe. I performed to that track many times.
  5. will35

    will35 New Member

    I have some versions I don't like. I don't particularly like D'Arienzo's. He took out what was interesting about the song. It is like dancing to a metronome. I don't really dislike his music, but that version is not for me.
  6. Lucrezia

    Lucrezia New Member

    My favourite version of the Cumparsita is the one of Orquesta Tipica Victor with Elvino Vardaro playing the guitar... I think it's from 1926.

    It's rhythmic, it's funny, it makes you cry and laugh... :wink:
  7. will35

    will35 New Member

    I just heard that Victor version. It's good. Why is Vardaro on guitar and who is on violin? Do you like Pizarro, Bachicha, Genaro? I don't normally listen to much of that stuff, but I love it. I'd like to find some things for my Victrola, but I guess I'll have to take a trip south. I used to have a friend who had everything. Have you ever noticed how spooky some of those old things are? I was listening to some DeCaro with Laurenz and I noticed that all the Laurenz compositions had at least one little section that was just as spooky as hell. He kept that sound for a long time. You can hear it creep into his stuff with Podesta. What about Rosita Quiroga? Spooky lady. I like her Puente Alsina, a song sort of about ghosts anyway.
  8. Lucrezia

    Lucrezia New Member

    Oops, why did I writw guitar? I meant violin. I must have been absent minded. Vardaro is playing the vilolin, of course.....

    Spooky, what do you mean by spooky? Well, very often the violins are crying in a quite human way. ;-)
    Ando of course, womans voices may be more spooky in a way as they are much higher. A lot of the old female tango singers sound a little funny. I prefer male voices in tango.
  9. will35

    will35 New Member

    I love women singers in Tango. You can't really dislike Rosita Quiroga, Tita Galatro or Mercedes Simone?
    Listen to Mala Junta by DeCaro, and after the whistling and so forth, it gets really scary. I don't know if that is one he recorded twice, but I am referring to the old one with Maffia and Laurenz. You can hear it in Laurenz' Arrabal, too. I think it is just as much the bandoneon as the violin. It is something in particular with the modulations of the compositions of Laurenz. Pizarro also has the spooky sound sometimes.
  10. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member

    I stumbled across this fabulous link about La Cumparsita's history (not the one Will35 is talking about).

    It boasts not only a history of the song, but also a translation of the lyrics (same as DM's above) for those of us poor souls who don't (yet) speak Spanish! :) A one-stop-La Cumparsita shop, so to speak.
  11. piimapoika

    piimapoika Member

    I've just come across this old thread.

    My favourite version is by Hugo Diaz. I mean the guy who plays the mouth organ, not the white bearded guy who plays the bandoneon, though I love him as well. The CD is "Hugo Diaz in Buenos Aires". I got it from Japan, and it was eye-wateringly expensive.

    Another good mouth organ version is by Luis Saltos (La Armonica del Tango).

    Plaintive, verging on miserable - Ciriaco Ortiz (Conversando con el Fueye).

    Upbeat, old-fashioned - Los Muchachos de Antes (Silua Portena).

    Upbeat, modern - Tango x 2 (Perfumes de Tango).

    La Cumparsita transplants well to Europe:

    Best German version: Alfred Hause. This is on the EP "Brilliant Tangos": much better than the one on the Japanese "Twin Best" compilation CD. This version made a huge impression on my 15 year old self in 1962; the most exotic thing imaginable. The sexy sultry picture on the sleeve helped as well.

    Best Dutch version: Malando (The Natural Collection). You might also like his grandson Danny Malando's version on his DVD "Tanz mit Mir".

    Best Finnish version: Arja Saijonmaa (La Cumparsita)(1994). I love her lush rich operatic voice. For a real sound of the 50's, Olavi Virta and the Metro Girls (1953), reissued on "Kansainvälist tangot".

    Best British version: Chris Hopkins (At the Louvre), played on the Wersi electronic organ (not the Wurlitzer) in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Thrilling version, gets the blood pounding.


    The Tango Group plays La Cumparsita as a waltz on "Amor por el Tango" (2002).

    There is reputed to be a mambo version, but I have never heard it.
  12. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I'll have to look around for the Hugo Diaz version. That's a hard album to get ahold of, and one of my favorite songs was on it, I think (El Lloron) so I am sure I would like his version of LC as I tend to like his tango arrangements.

    LC is not a song I generally like, but I do like the Los Tubatangos version (more of a Canyengue/milonga beat) and find the Orquesta Tipica version tolerable also.

    For me, this song is so cliched from ballroom I tend to avoid it most of the time.
  13. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Ok- that Hugo Diaz version is awesome. The other harmonica guy doesn't even come close.
  14. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Tango Siempre do a very jazzy syncopated version with a bit of sax through in..nice but challenging to dance to.

    There are some othe latin brass recordings where the tempo has a Cuban feel.
    about 100 versions on itunes last time I looked.

    Mood Area 52 do a nice version.
  15. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I prefere the Tubatango version, too, though I find Canyengue a bit boring. But Cumparsita is a Canyengue piece anyhow and should be played and danced in this old fashioned manner.
  16. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    La Cumparsita compilation CD

    To commemorate the 90th anniversary of La Cumparsita in 2007, a CD of some 20+ versions was compiled. I have seen it at music stores in BsAs.

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