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Tango and football

Tango and football

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Published by: api-3765757 on Oct 16, 2008
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Tango and football
Jes\u00fas Casta\u00f1\u00f3n Rodr\u00edguez
Tango and football. Soccer and tango. Two concepts to describe two kicks to fate that dilate
the eye pupils.

Two intricate legs movements to baffle and occasional enemy. Two products of
romanticism that idolizes a distant past, a reality longed from the magic of an idyllic
childhood or the always elusive moment of happiness.

Tango and football have become an identity marked with its own music, cultural
expressions and life styles. They represent the spirit that combines remembrances,
exuberant happiness and love for the strains of the language.

However, an initial analysis of the unusual relationships developed during the Century XX,
indicates that tango and football have created a diverse scene based on three pillars: tangos
based on football related themes, lyricists and musicians, and integrating cultural


Our first consideration goes to the presence of football as a theme in tango lyrics. Although
there are many tangos dedicated to sports which make references about boxing and the
bursting passion for horse racing and gambling, after a first review, we find 47 references
to football.

The football-style tango focus in two main thematic groups: the events and the social
experience tinted by passion.
1.1.- Sports events
World Cup

A wide section of this group comprises experiences during the 1978 and 1982 World Cups.
The final stage celebrated in Argentina gave place to eight compositions that are truly
ahead of the game: "Marcha oficial del Mundial '78", the hit of "Viva el Mundial", "Los
chicos del Mundial", "La Copa tiene due\u00f1o", "La Copa es de Argentina", "El equipo del
Mundial", "Argentina, te queremos ver campe\u00f3n" and "Argentina, te llevo dentro de m\u00ed".
And the final phase in Spain was the field for the "Milonga clementera", based on the
popular character created by the cartoonist Caloi.

The emotions of the players, their illusions, aspirations and feelings, have been widely
epitomized in the lyrics, as a reference to both debutantes and famous stars in the field.

The first ones reflect the reality of the little celebrity in their neighbourhood lot who fails to
become a professional (Del potrero), the social experience of a humble personage (La
mascota del barrio), the hopes placed on the children who play and dream of becoming
superstars (Pelota de cuero, D\u00e9jele, se\u00f1ora, El sue\u00f1o del pibe) and the beginner who turns
into a famous player (La realidad del pibe). Due to its emotional intensity and the way it

pictures the illusions pinned on the ball, the tango that stands out is "El sue\u00f1o del pibe", by Reinaldo Yiso, interpreted for the first time by Osvaldo Pugliese with the voice of Roberto Chanel.

In relation with professional football, there are references to clubs from Argentina and
Uruguay who maintain a traditional rivalry. That\u00b4s the case of the arguments about the
quality of the teams from Buenos Aires named River Plate and Boca Juniors, in the tanto
"Domingo a la noche", and the reflection of the climate between the Nacional and Pe\u00f1arol
teams, from Montevideo, immortalised in the tango "La promesa".

Another curiosity is the inclusion of professional football players in the tango lyrics. In one
case, to highlight the level of a player against the myth of Pele, in "Dieguito Tango". But the
preference is to frame the nostalgia and trigger the illusions of the young boys to become
superstars. The first instance is shown with the relationship of Pedernera, Monz\u00f3n and
Gollet in "Qui\u00e9n te ha visto Buenos Aires". The second one affects Benavidez, M\u00e9ndez,
Lacasia, Labruna, Boy\u00e9, Grillo, Pescia in "D\u00e9jele, se\u00f1ora"; Emilio Baldonedo, Rinaldo
Martino, Mario Boy\u00e9 and Bernab\u00e9 Ferreyra in the original version of "El sue\u00f1o del pibe",
and Mario Kempes and Diego Armando Maradona, in the peculiar adaptation of "El
Pelusa" done by the last one.

There are also players from Argentina, Uruguay and Spain who have their own individual
tangos. Amongst the Argentineans, we find the names of Bernab\u00e9 Ferreyra and Diego
Armando Maradona.

The first one, who made an extraordinary career at the River Plate team, was immortalised
by the lyrics of Laino y Dispagna and the music of Miguel Padula and Francisco Germino
in their tango "La fiera".

Diego Armando Maradona represents a truly striking case. Professional football player but
amateur singer, Diego recorded the son "Querida amiga" with Pimpinela, and has received
the Platinum Record after selling 60,000 copies of his theme "Yo soy el Diego de la gente"
in just a few days. This is a double CD that comprises several hours of uncensored
conversation between the football star and the journalists Cherquis Bialo and Daniel
Arcucci, held at Havanna (Cuba) during the completion of Diego\u00b4s autobiography, titled
"Yo soy el Diego de la gente". Always a Tango fan, Diego has been dedicated three
compositions in Italian by the "tifosi" from Naples.

The "Tango de Maradona", originally written in the Neapolitan dialect to highlight the
happiness brought by Maradona to the people. The "Maradona Tango" reflects the
favourable change experimented by El Pelusa while his stay in Naples.

Out of the Spanish players, the more noticeable is Jos\u00e9 Samitier, a player of the F. C.
Barcelona team, and technical secretary to the Real Madrid, with an extraordinary ability
for social connections that allowed him to participate in the Pe\u00f1a Pepe, a literary circle
held in the Caf\u00e9 Baviera at the Alcal\u00e1 Street, where he exchanged his viewpoints with
personalities as the physician Gregorio Mara\u00f1\u00f3n, the bullfighter Juan Belmonte and the
writer Jos\u00e9 Mar\u00eda de Coss\u00edo.

For the record, it\u00b4s important to highlight his friendship with Carlos Gardel, started during the European tour made by the Zorzal in 1923. El Zorzal, a vehement admirer of his horse Lun\u00e1tica and member of the Racing Club of Avellaneda, attended the final of the Copa del Rey of 1928 in Santander, between the Real Sociedad de San Sebasti\u00e1n and the F. C.

Barcelona. At the game of May 21, the players Platko, Castillo, Perera and Samitier got
injured and, after meeting them, Gardel livened up their evening and planned them a tour
in Argentina and Uruguay, which allowed the blue and red team to play against River
Plate, Boca Juniors, some players from Rosario, and the Nacional and Pe\u00f1arol teams of

At the end of the tour, Gardel dedicated the tango "Sami" to his friend, with lyrics by Lito
Mas and music by Nicol\u00e1s Verona.

Among the Uruguayan players, there is one who has a tango specifically dedicated to him. We are talking about the emblematic Jos\u00e9 Francisco Sas\u00eda, not only an international player with the national team, but also a player with Defensor, Pe\u00f1arol, Nacional and Racing from Uruguay as well as Boca Juniors y Rosario Central from Argentina. This composition, with lyrics by Jaime Roos, was titled "Al Pepe Sas\u00eda", and emphasises his courage, bravery and craftiness.

1.2.- The social experience tinted with passion

The other point to highlight is the social experience of football. A passionate experience that fits in every single level of individual life, memories from childhood and daily life at the R\u00edo de la Plata.

The nostalgia for the past is summarized in "\u00bfSabes, Buenos Aires?" and "Tiempo de

The daily life of Uruguay is reflected in "La promesa". But in Argentina, lifestyle has
different variables: the neighbourhood and its activities (in "Calles de Buenos Aires", "Del
barrio", "Para poder volver", "A H\u00e9ctor Tarela", "Villa Crespo de mi ayer", "Vuelvo al
barrio", "Qui\u00e9n te ha visto", "Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires", "Al amigo so\u00f1ador" y "Pared\u00f3n
y despu\u00e9s"); football as subject of conversation ("Domingo a la noche", "Desde el caf\u00e9" and
"Carloncho"), as source of values ("La canci\u00f3n del deporte") and also as defining element
of times related with television, adolescence and violence ("Tirate un lance", "Canci\u00f3n de
mi adolescencia" and "Por qu\u00e9").

While football is an essential part of social life and gatherings, it reaches a special emotion
in the experience of uncontrollable passions of the fans as reflected in "Lo que nunca
deschav\u00e9", "Amarroto" and "Desde el tabl\u00f3n". This glance is expanded by the existence of
the sick child in "La n\u00famero cinco", and the condemnation of the man who makes his
wife\u00b4s life miserable with his excesses ("Amigotes"), and the painting of the middle aged
heartthrob who has replace his life by football games, as in "De la canilla".


A second section in the tango scene is dedicated to the people who gave voice, music and artistic expression to the football passion. Different orchestras and soloists have triggered the feelings of the audience by capturing the cloud of magical emotions of football.

Amongst these lyricists and musicians, we can mention Pepe Aguirre, Osvaldo Avena, A.
Aznar, Juan Sebasti\u00e1n Bella, Hilda Bevacqua, Miguel Bonano, Antonio Botta, Miguel
Buccino, Enrique Campos "Inocencio Troncone", Juan Cao, Mario Clavel, Gustavo
Cosentino, Sa\u00fal Cosentino, Orestes Cuffaro, Martin Darre, Degrossi, Dispagna, Omar
Facelli, Hebert Fayet, Enrique Ferrari, Horacio Ferrer, J. Fontana, Manuel Reyes Garc\u00eda

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