Osmar Maderna – Miguel Caló, 1942

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Jamás retornarás, you’ll never come back focuses on a theme that reflects the tragedy of Buenos Aires immigrants – you guessed it, love. At the turn of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, Buenos Aires was the centre of successive immigration waves mainly composed of men trying to make a fortune for the family they had left behind. This shaped the profile of the city by creating a massive gender imbalance.

The scarcity of women might be one of the factors that contributed to making Argentine tango so special, so much about love and about putting lady dancers first.

“Jamás retornarás” is about love, but not any type of love… Jamás retornarás is perhaps tango at its best when it comes to lost love and lost hope – the story of a man who waits for his lover to come back, to no avail.

This song has been translated in collaboration by Tanguito, Argentine Tango Academy in London and María Cecilia Perna, Spanish teacher and milonguera in Buenos Aires.

We hope you enjoy this translation. If you have any comments, don’t hesitate to drop either of us a line.

Nathalie, Tanguito & María Cecilia Perna ([email protected])

The music

“Jamás retornarás” and “Qué te importa que te llore”, both recorded with the voice of Raúl Berón are two exquisite songs born from the collaboration between Miguel Caló and the pianist Osmar Maderna.

Caló, who throughout his career supported young unknown musicians, discovered and trained the singer Raúl Berón in the art and style of his orchestra. One can say that he had an eye (or an ear!) for unusual talent. Soon after recording of ‘Al Compás del corazón’, radio broadcasting officials who didn’t like Berón asked Caló to dismiss him, but the record was such a success that they later apologised and congratulated Caló for his flair.


The lyrics

Cuando dijo adiós, quise llorar…
Luego sin su amor, quise gritar…
Todos los ensueños que albergó mi corazón
(toda mi ilusión),
cayeron a pedazos.
Pronto volveré, dijo al partir.
Loco la esperé… ¡Pobre de mí!
Y hoy, que tanto tiempo ha transcurrido sin volver,
siento que he perdido su querer.

“Jamás retornarás…”
lo dice el alma mía,
y en esta soledad
te nombro noche y día.
¿Por qué, por qué te fuiste de mi lado
y tan cruel has destrozado
mi corazón?
“Jamás retornarás…”
lo dice el alma mía
y, aunque muriendo está,
te espera sin cesar.

Cuánto le imploré: vuelve, mi amor…
Cuánto la besé, ¡con qué fervor!

Algo me decía que jamás iba a volver,
que el anochecer
en mi alma se anidaba.
“Pronto volveré”, dijo al partir.
Mucho la esperé… ¡Pobre de mí!
Y hoy, que al fin comprendo
la penosa y cruel verdad,
siento que la vida se me va.

When she said goodbye, I felt like crying…
Without her love, I felt like screaming…
All the fantasies my heart harboured
(all my illusions),
fell to pieces.
When she left, she said “I’ll soon be back”.
I was crazy enough to wait… Poor me!
And today, after so much time has passed and she hasn’t returned,
I feel I’ve lost her love.

“You’ll never come back…”
that’s what my soul says,
and in this loneliness
I call your name night and day.
Why, why did you leave my side
and why be so cruel and break
my heart?
“You’ll never come back…”
that’s what my soul says,
my dying soul,
which can’t stop waiting for you.

How much did I beg her: come back, my love…
How much did I kiss her, with so much fervour!
Something was telling me she would never come back,
and that dusk, in my soul would dwell.
When she left, she said “I’ll soon be back”.
I waited so long… Poor me!
And today that at last, I understand
the terrible and cruel truth,
I feel that life is leaving me.