Music: José García – Lyrics: Julio Jorge Nelson

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Nocturno de tango, Nocturne of tango was composed by José Garcia with lyrics from J.J. Nelson. Like all nocturnes, Nocturno de tango is a musical composition that is inspired by the night. The song draws an implicit contrast between day time, dedicated to all things ‘normal’, and night time, when tango reigns and the milonguero within us takes life.

Night time is what is celebrated in this nocturne, as is the place tango plays in Buenos Aires night life: tango was and is still danced in Buenos Aires, from late evening (when the sun goes away, and the moon appears in all its glory, as the lyrics of the song go) until early morning (just in time for coffee and media luna, the local croissants).

Although very short, the lyrics capture beautifully the melancholy and romantic essence of tango and assert its origins in Buenos Aires poor neighbourhoods. However modest at its beginnings, tango and its truthful stories of a people travelled beyond time and borders (in the song, tango whistling is referred to as ‘the local spokesman of our song’). We, who today listen to Nocturno de tango in London are a testament of tango’s timelessness.

The song was performed by Orquesta de Jose Garcia y Los Zorros Grises with the incredible Alfredo Bermudez on vocals.

Nocturno de tango 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

The music

The lyrics

Cuando el sol se va
y la luna su fulgor asoma
dos sombras a su conjuro se dibujan.
Ella y él, nocturno de nuestro suburbio

When the sun goes away,
and the moon appears in all its glory,
two shadows appear to be drawn under its spell.
she and he, the nocturne of our suburbs.
Silbidos de tangos
pregoneros porteños de nuestra canción.

Nocturno de tango,
mezcla de risa y dolor,
chapaleando fango.
Y en esa esquina un amor.

Nocturno de tango.
Triste compadre, lloró.
Musiquita de los pobres.
Congojas de un bandoneón.

The whistling of tangos,
the local spokesmen of our song.

Nocturne of tango,
mix of laughter and pain
splashing in the dirt.
And in this corner; love.

Nocturne of tango.
The sad tears of a friend.
The little song of the poor.
The distress of a bandoneon.