Tango is a sad thought that can be sung

Tango Voices, a new songbook with CD came out recently and this may interest most of the readers of this Tango agenda, since they are the ones this production is meant for. They now may even pick up a guitar and learn to sing the tangos they always listened to.

" A kalte nakht, a nepldike, finster umetum,
Shteyt a yingele fartroyert un kukt zikh arum.
Fun regn shtitst om nor a vant,
a koshikl halt er in hant, ...".

the first lines of 'Papirosn', the yiddish 'Papirusa', (Papirusa, cigarette paper, lunfardo for cigarette) sung by Zully Godlfarb. One of the rare non-'castillano' texts in the book may illustrate the broadness of the research and the story of the writer, Donald Cohen.

The best introduction of the book to the readers of this website, may be these lines in the book:

"This book is about tango, more specifically it is about tango canción or tango song: that is to say, about tangos and the people who wrote them, played them and sang them. It was written primarily for those who know little about tango, and for those who may know much about the dance, but little about the music or songs to which it is performed.
The text provides interesting background material about each song, and those who composed and performed them, as well as helpfull notes about tango itself. For those who love to dance tango, a great majority of the recordings are ideal, while the lyrics, musical notations and recordings together provide an excellent vehicle for those wishing to sing these beautiful compositions.
In this work we have attempted to present a compehensive and varied selection of classic Argentine tangos and, in addition, to illustrate the influence of tango on world music by providing a sampling of memorable tangos from around the world."

So far the writers' introduction of the book.

I think the writer, and the publisher who'd come wih the idea for this book, were succesfull in their attempt. The text is easy to read, and full of interesting history around these songs and their singers. There's lot of things to learn from it, and I think it must indeed be appealing for the people it's meant for. Dancers of tango often have no clue what the lyrics are about, not speaking the language, let alone the dialect lunfardo. Great is, that all these tangos on the CD are very danceable. One can play the CD and sing along with the text in the book, read its translation (into english, as the book is in english) and then even dance to it, with a lot more knowledge about these famous tangos than all the years before. One could pick up the guitar, like Carlos Gardel, and look at the drawings of the chords or follow the notes on the sheet music.

The distributor adds:
Twenty-six songs illustrate the growth and diversity of tango from its Argentine roots to its dissemination throughout Europe and into the Middle East and beyond. These songs are represented both in print - with melody lines, chord boxes and lyrics in their original language and in English - and through classic recordings by the original artists on the accompanying CD.

There's one omission in this book: the names of the dancers at the photos illustrating the book, most of them famous, aren't mentioned anywhere (except those of the couple on the cover). Maybe the publisher thought: you probably know all of them already, why mentioning their names again?

About the cover: why a photograph of dancers there? Allthough it's a photo of our friends Jorge and Aurora, this book is about songs. Well, maybe it is to appeal to the right audience: those who dance tango but now little about the songs.


Rob Nuijten
editor of the online Tango Agenda for the Netherlands

Songs from the soul of Buenos Aires & beyond
a collection of celebrated Tango's from around the world

book + CD


La Cumparsita
El Choclo
Mi Buenos Aires Querido
Papirosn (a yiddish tango)
A Media Luz
Le Plus Beau Tango Du Monde
Vuelvo Al Sur
El Bazar De Los Juguetes
Yira, Yira
Sombras Nada Mas
Senores, Yo Soy Del Centro
Se Salvo El Pibe
Mi Noche Triste
Yo No Se Que Me Han Hecho Tus Ojos
Viejo Coche
Acompanada Y Sola
Oh, Donna Clara
Ana El Owerke
Hon Ghen (Jalousie)

Published on

Mixed Songbook



Paperback(large):41,20 Euro
Hardcover: 49,40 Euro
(prices of 17-11-2007)

Price of delivery:
Check for 'European Union'
it may just be without delivery charge.