It's not what it looks like!

'It’s all lies, your love is a lie
and why I need your love,
if in it I only find martyrdom and pain?'

'First you learn to suffer, 
then to love, then to leave,
and finally to walk without thinking...'

'Sad and alone, down the sidewalk
goes my heart, stricken
with the sadness of a condemned building,
feeling your frostiness'


This is not what you might think, it's not what it looks like.....These are not recovered suicide notes, they are, in fact, the lyrics of some of my favourite tango songs; the happier ones!

As I've said in previous blogs, tango is not the happy-go-lucky dance that salsa or batchata are, dances you would ordinarily identify with Latin America.  But tango, just like Argentina, is not your 'ordinary' Latin America, it thrives on distinguishing itself from the fiesta persona of it's neighbors.

Tango, and more specifically tango music, is, for lack of a better word, sad; it is an expression of loneliness, of lost love, of desperation; the desperation of all those early Italian immigrants, far away from their families (and their home-made pasta) who couldn't stop thinking of their great loves back in Europe (and their mommies); their desperation still echoes in today's nocturnal milongas.  It's no surprise the lyrics are so nostalgic and dramatic, after all who does drama better than Italians?  Just look at when they lose  in the world cup (the years that they qualify for the world cup I mean)?  They look so sad, as if the world had ended for them in that moment.....Doesn't it make you want to run out there and wipe their tears and .... help them feel better.... by any means necessary.....?  (especially if Cannavaro is crying?  No one that beautiful should ever have to cry!)

But I digress (Italy and it's people always throw me a little off course); in all fairness, tango is not strictly Italian, it is Spanish, Russian, Native, African, Jewish.... anyone who was depressed and wanted to express it took part in the creation of  what we now call tango; on the rainy street corners of Buenos Aires, where they played for the dwellers and passers-by of this magical city.

Many say that the reason they took to tango was because of the music, because something about it's lyrics touched a certain sadness that lives inside of all of us; a certain sadness that maybe keeps us in balance (the Ying to our Yang).  This is not to say that dancing tango can't be fun or enjoyable, just like a Van Gogh can seem bright and joyful even though it was painted by a one-eared man who later killed himself, it's just a different type of 'fun', one that sometimes also makes you cry.

Tango music is the perfect example of sadness lived to it's fullest, resulting in the creation of something beautiful and immortal. 


  1. Great post. Beautifully composed

    1. Thank you! I've had a good writing coach these past few months.


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