Friday, 25 April 2008

Carlos Gardel

This singer starred in a number of mostly unmemorable films, though the Paramount low-budget film-revue Big Broadcast of 1936 also had Bing Crosby, Richard Tauber, Ethel Merman and the Vienna Boys' Choir so can't have been totally without interest. But he gained enduring fame as the originator, in 1917, of the tango-canción. He recorded 514 of these and his unerring musicality and dramatic phrasing made miniature masterpieces of many of them.

I've just downloaded from iTunes one of my favourites. It is called Chorra, which I think means Thief; you can hear it here, and then if you close the file you will find the complete lyrics. These are in Argentinian Spanish with some words not in the dictionary and I am not at all sure that I have grasped the plot. I think the singer is complaining about some evil character who has stolen his wife: he describes him as like an ...agente 'e la camorra, ...malandrin y estefador and as ...profesor de cachiporra. That last word is in the dictionary and I take the phrase to mean that he is an expert with a cosh, but then my Cassell says that cachiporra is a stick with a big knob, so perhaps I am missing the point.

I would welcome any comments from speakers of Lunfardo.


Anonymous said...

In fact the song retells how he has been cheated by a girl and her parents.
All the words that are used in the song have a negative connotation. "Chorra" means thief - as you said. "Malandrin" is used to talk about somebody who cheats or makes scams. "Estafador" means scammer.
In Argentina we use the word "cachiporra" to talk about the sticks that police officers carry.
In the song we learn that, although the girl has told the singer that her father died, the truth is that he is in prison because he has taken part in fights. ("agente ´e la camorra")
Most of the words in the song are still used in everyday life by people in Buenos Aires.

I hope I have been able to help you.

Tony said...

Yes indeed, Sr Anónimo, I am most grateful. Now I understand.

Isn't it a great song, beautifully sung?

Anonymous said...

very nice hat and excellent song.

AUTOS said...

Well, the song complains about a girl or woman that conned the man

CHORRA is a female thief..she pretended to be high class,and that her father was a deceased warrior, probably an officer of the army...but he was a crook (malandrin), a con man or trickster (estafador)

about the term PROFESOR DE CACHIPORRA, I dont know exactly if it means a mugger armed with a stick, or a kind of martial arms instructor for fighting with sticks, like police batons o sticks to mug

In Andalucia, Spain,there were lowlifes with dexterity in the use of NAVAJAS or switchblades,that gave lessons

By the way, I am from Uruguay, the country in which Carlos Gardel was born

greetings from Montevideo,Uruguay

Tony said...

Dear Autos

Thank you for all this information. This was the first letter I have ever had from Uruguay!

Greetings to Montevideo from Hastings, England.


AUTOS said...

Well, I enjoyed your blog, and I expect tu return sometime

Keep the good work !!!