Head of a horse

There are thousands of tangos and there are countless good songs. Where and how does one start when discussing music?

Lets start with a well know favourite:

So what do you think of the dancing? Its not bad, its got sexual tension, flirtation and seductiveness that makes tango such a sexy dance.

This is a popular song with Hollywood, you’ll see it in The Scent of a Woman and probably some other films as well. The song is called Por una Cabeza and was originally composed in 1935 by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera.

Por una cabeza is one of my favourites. I don’t know any Spanish but when I heard the song on my Mp3 player the other day, something reached out and I wanted to know more about the song.

Here are some lyrics: http://www.planet-tango.com/lyrics/porunaca.htm

and also on wikisource.

In a nutshell, the protagonist is comparing love to gambling at the horses and although looking like a sure win all the way to the end, he  just loses out – by a head. Like gambling, he insists that he won’t do it again, but the temptation is too strong and in the end, he is still torn whether to gamble once again.

If you haven’t read the lyrics, then I strongly encourage you to do so. They are beautifully translated by Alberto on Planet Tango.

So, now after having read the lyrics, what do you think of the dancing in the video clip?

Is this song a sexy song? Can you visualise the sexual tension and seduction through the lyrics?

I can’t. But everyone feels tango differently. What do you feel when you hear that song?

To me, there is a sense of sorrow and loss. Everyone gambles on something. We all know the feeling when our gamble didn’t pay off. That if only feeling.

So what about the sexual tension and seduction etc? How does that end up in your dance? Its not in mine but then I’m no milonguero. If someone can find a video of a milonguero dancing and portraying the same sexual tension found in Hollywood movies I’d like to see it.


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3 Responses to “Head of a horse”

  1. jantango Says:

    Only Hollywood would use “Por Una Cabeza” for dancing. It’s never used in the milongas. No one dances to Gardel.

    Performers on stage can dramatize the sexual tension found in movies, but you will never see it in a milonguero’s dancing. He doesn’t need to show it–he transmits it to his partner.

    • yabotil Says:

      Its interesting that no one dances to Gardel, would you mind telling me why? I agree that I haven’t heard Por Una Cabeza in a milonga and I don’t think I’ve ever heard the DJ introduce a tanda of Gardel before. Why is that?

  2. jantango Says:

    He recorded with guitars rather than orchestra; they don’t have a rhythm for dancing. He is a revered singer, and no porteno would dance to his singing.

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