Music: Edgardo Donato – Lyrics: Carlos Lenzi (1924)
|It’s the 1920’s. They might be young or not. They have met at a milonga or not. He might be charming, she might be pretty or not. One sure is certain, if they want to see one another again, in a more ‘intimate’ setting, they’ll probably go to his bachelor flat in downtown Buenos Aires.|
A media luz describes these bachelor flats used for fun and the fussy sex of the period. In these flats, everything was carefully thought of to create a suitable atmosphere: todo a media luz (“everything in dimmed light”).
The song describes with a lot of humour the measures taken to protect the privacy of these apartments – “there’s no concierge and no neighbour”, the rugs “muffle sounds” and even the cat keeps quiet: “a cat made of porcelain so that it doesn’t mew at love.”
These small apartments were decorated with the flourished style of the period. Everything seems to have been bought at the Maple furniture shop, which was very famous at the time and stocked everything from furniture to rugs to decorations, even porcelain cats – the 1930′s porteño version of Ikea!
Don’t be surprised by the last paragraph: until the beginning of the 1930’s, cocaine, morphine and opium had a legal medical usage. Being sold as preparations in pharmacies, these drugs were commonly found in medicine cabinets at home.
A media Luz has been translated by Tanguito, Argentine Tango Academy in London. If you feel 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.
Corrientes 3, 4, 8,
segundo piso, ascensor.
No hay porteros ni vecinos.
Adentro, cocktail y amor.
Pisito que puso Maple:
piano, estera y velador,
un telefón que contesta,
una victrola que llora
viejos tangos de mi flor
y un gato de porcelana
pa’ que no maulle al amor.
Y todo a media luz,
Juncal 12, 24
3, 4, 8 Corrientes Avenue,
2nd floor with elevator.
There’s no concierge and no neighbour.
Inside, cocktail and love.
The little apartment furnished by Maple:
a piano, a mat, a bedside table,
a phone that answers,
a phonograph that weeps
old tangos from my youth,
and a porcelain cat
which doesn’t mew at love.
And everything in dimmed light,
12, 24 Juncal avenue,