It hasn’t been quite 20 years since we last danced tango, but it definitely feels like it. “Volver”, written in 1934 by Alfredo Le Pera with the music by Carlos Gardel is probably a good inspirational point to prepare our return. In tune with most of Le Pera’s tangos, Volver nostalgically describes the return to the lost city of our childhood, to the place of the first love, the good memories. Interestingly, and in contrast with “Mi Buenos Aires Querido” by the same lyricist and musician, those memories as well include moments of pain and sadness, and instead of a cheerful welcoming, the narrator predicts indifference and prefigurates a new failure. One returns heavier in years, with a white hair and full of sorrows but returns nevertheless, ready to face his fears when he finally confronts with his past. But a window of hopes opens in the last verses and I hope will encourage our reconnection with the Tango, here in Sheffield.
The topic of return has been a constant among tango lyrics, and besides Mi Buenos Aires Querido (1934), we may think of Anclao en Paris (1931) or Cuesta abajo (1934) with different reflexions on that trip back to our past. But it is definitely Volver the one that became one of the most popular tangos of all time, with different interpretations and styles that range from Gardel himself singing it in the movie El dia que me quieras from 1935 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9r6AAyEsis) , by opera singer Placido Domingo, romantic pop by Julio Iglesias, Flamenco by Martirio or Argentinean Rock by Andres Calamaro. The most viewed version, however, belongs to Estrella Morente in 2006 as the sound track for the Movie Volver by Almodovar, with Penelope Cruz acting it through playback (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PJiNOJsK8E) Check them out!
I leave you with one of the verses
Que es un soplo la vida
Que veinte años, no es nada
Que febril la mirada
Errante en las sombras
Te busca y te nombra
To feel… that life is a puff of wind,
that twenty years is nothing,
that the feverish look,
wandering in the shadow,
looks for you and names you. (I am sure it implicitly refers to the lessons in Tango in the Peaks)
Carlos Gardel – Volver – Tango – YouTube