Music: Francisco Canaro – Lyrics: Luis César Amadori (1931)

Madreselva| Tango song by Canaro spacer_small

Set in Buenos Aires “arrabal” (neighbourhood), this song tells the tale of a young woman, who tells the -unhappy- story of her first love.

The music

 

The lyrics

Madreselva
Vieja pared del arrabal,
tu sombra fue mi compañera.
De mi niñez sin esplendor
la amiga fue tu madreselva.
Cuando temblando mi amor primero
con esperanzas besaba mi alma,
yo junto a vos, pura y feliz,
cantaba así mi primera confesión.
Honeysuckle
Shabby old wall from the neighbourhood,
I grew up in your shade.
Your honeysuckle was the real friend
Of my modest childhood.
When I fell in love for the very first time
My soul overflowing with trembling hopes,
I stood by your side, pure and happy,
Confessing it all and singing at the same time.
 
Madreselvas en flor que me vieron nacer
y en la vieja pared sorprendieron mi amor,
tu humilde caricia es como el cariño
primero y querido que siento por él.
Madreselvas en flor que trepándose van
es tu abrazo tenaz y dulzón como aquel,
si todos los años tus flores renacen,
hacé que no muera mi primer amor…
Honeysuckle blossoms that witnessed my birth
And that, by the old wall discovered my love,
Your humble caress is like the everlasting affection
That for first time I feel for him.
Honeysuckle blossoms climbing towards the sun
Your sweet embrace is as strong as his,
You make your flowers come into bloom every year,
Surely you can also keep my first love from dying.
 
Pasaron los años y mis desengaños
yo vengo a contarte, mi vieja pared…
Years passed and I come to tell you of my heartbreaks, my dearest wall…
 
Así aprendí que hay que fingir
para vivir decentemente;
que amor y fe mentiras son
y del dolor se ríe la gente…
Hoy que la vida me ha castigado
y me ha enseñado su credo amargo,
vieja pared, con emoción
me acerco a vos y te digo como ayer.
Too soon I learned the need to pretend
to live a decent life;
I learned that love and faith are mere lies
and that one’s sorrow only makes other people laugh…
Now that life has punished me
And taught me its bitter creed,
Filled with emotion, I come to you my dear wall
To tell you all, same as yesterday.
 
Madreselvas en flor que me vieron nacer
y en la vieja pared sorprendieron mi amor,
tu humilde caricia es como el cariño
primero y querido que nunca olvidé.
Madreselvas en flor que trepándose van,
es tu abrazo tenaz y dulzón como aquel…
Si todos los años tus flores renacen,
¿por qué ya no vuelve mi primer amor?
Honeysuckle blossoms that witnessed my birth
And that, by the old wall discovered my love,
Your humble caress is like the everlasting affection
That for first time I feel for him.
Honeysuckle blossoms climbing towards the sun
Your sweet embrace is as strong as his,
You make your flowers come into bloom every year,
So why doesn’t my first love come back too?

 

Madreselva has been translated by Tanguito, Argentine Tango Academy in London. If you have any comment or have other interpretations of the lyrics, please feel free to share your opinion, we’d love to hear what you think. :)

Nathalie, Tanguito