Tango songs have a variety of themes, the most widespread one being love (usually lost love, unfortunately), but also friendship, the harshness of life, gambling… Tango also has another favourite theme: tango itself!

With the expansion of modern media, tango songs became more and more widely broadcast in Argentina – whether on radio, at theaters or in magazines. At this point, tango music became omnipresent and an integral part of Argentine culture and lyrics started to talk about tango from several aspects.


Tango as a dance – tango started as a music style but some songs soon made reference to the dance

Del canyengue de algun tango
en los brazos de algun gil

P. Contursi, Flor de Tango, 1917

On the beat of some tango
in the arms of some idiot
Así se baila el tango,
mezclando el aliento,
cerrando los ojos
pa’ escuchar mejor
como los violines
le cuentan a los fueyes
por que desde esa noche
Malena no cantó…

Marvil, Asi se baila el tango, 1942
Read the story about the song and the full lyrics

This is how to dance tango,
breaths mix,
eyes close
to listen more
to the violins
and the bandoneons wondering
why Malena stopped singing tonight…

Tango and seduction: of course, tango has always been associated with night life and with seduction

Y en aquellas noches de verano
que sonaba tu almita, mujer,
al oir en la esquina algun tango
chamuyarte de amor?

S. Linning, Milonguita, 1920
And in these summer nights,
what did your little soul dream about,
when hearing from around the corner
some tango sweet-talking you about love?


Tango as a person: with tango becoming such an omnipresent part of the culture, before long it became a ‘person’ one would refer to.

el tango milongon
nacido en los suburbios
malevos y turbios.

H. Exposito, ‘Yo soy el tango’, 1941

I am
the tango from the milonga,
born in the
ciminal and murky slums.


Tango, tango
vos que fuiste el amigo
confidente de su amor…

H. Pettorossi, ‘Lo han visto con otra’, 1928

Tango, tango,
you were the friend
she confided her love to…


Nati & Bruno

Tango, la mezcla milagrosa, un ensayo de Carlos Mina