Friday, March 9, 2018

Verdemar Versions :: Tango DJ Lamentations

Okay, so lamentations is really the wrong word, because I'm not lamenting about anything...but observations...thoughts and ponderings and thinkage...whatever...bubbling primordial soup type stuff...

(it just dawned on me that Verdemar is pretty much lamentations, so maybe I should have titled this post "Verdemar Lamentations"...I'm digressing and blabbering...sorry...

Anyway, I just thought I would share a little of the inner workings/goings-on of DJ'ing...curating a music collection and playlists for milongas...this was something I got side-tracked on this morning...I can't even remember now what triggered me to delve into this...oh well...I'm glad I did...

As a once-in-a-while DJ here in Austin, I spend a little time here and there in my spare time while I'm resting tweaking my music library, which is now sitting at about 300 albums, 3,000 songs. A big part of being a Tango DJ is doing the investigatory work into the various recordings of a single song - to determine which recording is the best audio quality, which is the best orchestra and arranging, the best singer, the best year/version, and last but not least and probably most important - the most danceable.

Most tango songs were recorded by several orchestras, sometimes several versions over the years with the same orchestra but different singers, sometimes with the same singer.

Take Verdemar as an example. Carlos DiSarli composed it in 1943, with lyrics by José María Contursi. There were ten or eleven recordings done, with six by Di Sarli. It's one of my all-time favorite tango songs.

I don't care for the 1943 version sung by Roberto Rufino, whose voice is a little nasal-y sounding. The version I've loved and played the most over the years is the 1955 Oscar Serpa version - 3 minutes, 3 seconds. However, I just discovered a 1954 Serpa version that's a tad slower at 3:12, and seems more sad and forlorn. Which it should be. Based on the subject matter.

Here's the newly discovered 1954 Di Sarli/Serpa version - the audio quality is kinda glitchy - but it's available on TangoTunes. Very clean, and stretched out to 3:16.

Here's the 1955 version (that used to be my favorite) - Di Sarli/Serpa:

Here's the 1943 Di Sarli/Rufino version:

Here's a 1943 version recorded by Miguel Caló with Raúl Iriarte - the arranging here is a little to upbeat and happy for the lyrics - to me anyway:
Note that there's also a 1966 Caló /Rufino version...fwiw...

Reading the lyrics/translation, I also just became aware that they've dropped the last verse in every version.

Here is Alberto Paz' (may he rest in peace) translation from PlanetTango:

Verdemar... Verdemar...
Se llenaron de silencio tus pupilas.
Te perdí, Verdemar.
Tus manos amarillas, tus labios sin color
y el frío de la noche sobre tu corazón.
Faltas tú, ya no estás,
se apagaron tus pupilas, Verdemar.

Te encontré sin pensarlo y alegré mis días,
olvidando la angustia de las horas mías.
Pero luego la vida se ensañó contigo
y en tus labios mis besos se morían de frío.
Y ahora... ¿qué rumbo tomaré?
Caminos sin aurora me pierden otra vez.

Volverás, Verdemar...
Es el alma que presiente tu retorno.
Llegarás, llegarás...
Por un camino blanco tu espíritu vendrá
Buscando mi cansancio y aquí me encontrarás.
Faltas tú... Ya no estás...
Se apagaron tus pupilas, Verdemar.
Verdemar... Verdemar...
Your eyes filled with silence...
I lost you, Verdemar.
Your yellow hands... your lips without color
And the cold of the night in your heart.
You are missing... you are no longer here...
Your eyes have extinguished, Verdemar.

I met you without thinking it, and I cheered my days
forgetting the anguish of my hours.
But soon life was merciless with you
and in your lips my kisses died of cold.
And now... what course will I take?
Roads without dawn get me lost again.

You will return, Verdemar...
It’s the soul that has a premonition about your return.
You will arrive, you will arrive...
Through a white road your spirit will come
Looking for my fatigue and here you will find me.
You are missing... you are no longer here...
Your eyes have extinguished, Verdemar.

Here is Derrick del Pilar's translation, from Poesía de gotán: The Poetry of the Tango:

lyrics by José María Contursi
music by Carlos Di Sarli

your eyes filled with silence.
I lost you, Seagreen.
Your yellowed hands, your colorless lips
and the cold of the night upon your heart.
You are missing, you aren’t here anymore,
your pupils have gone out, Seagreen.

I found you without a thought and I brightened my days,
forgetting the anguish of my hours.
But then life became enraged with you,
and upon your lips my kisses died of cold.
And now…what road shall I take?
Dawnless paths lose me once again.

So that's it. That's all I have to say about that. For now.

Have a good weekend y'all...

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