Arlene's London Tango Pages

Ask Arlene…About Tango Lyrics

Hi Arlene

A lot of people who dance tango in UK don’t understand the lyrics. Do you think that they are missing out on an important tango element?


Dear Totty,

I don’t understand the lyrics of Tango apart from a few words here and there.  In spite of that, I still feel the music deeply.  I don’t know how that is, but I will never forget the first time I heard Tango music those many years ago and how the music spoke to me.  It still does.  I think it would be wonderful to fully understand the lyrics.  I have been serenaded while dancing and I must say that it has only been the Argentines that have sung with such feeling.  Can you imagine how much better you could be dancing if you could really understand what it is you are dancing to?

I have asked my friend Deby in Buenos Aires for her take on your question and she has thoughtfully provided an answer to your question.

Hi Totty,

Deby here from Buenos Aires.  Totty, it is not only people in the UK, it is people everywhere.  The lyrics of tango are written in Lunfardo not Spanish which makes them even more difficult to understand.  Do I think people miss out when they do not understand the lyrics?  Yes.  The lyrics of tango are about the life in Buenos Aires and it is where the passion of tango comes from.  When you understand the lyrics, really understand them, then the music speaks to you and moves you in a way you never thought was possible.  It is a feeling of sadness, passion, and joy, that you and your partner both share and transmit to each other.

Deby Novitz

©Deby Novitz 2009 TangoSpam all rights reserved.  No parts of this may be reproduced without permission of the author