Tango Singalong

Making Sense of The Lyrics…


Verdemar - Another Tango About Gricel?


This month while we celebrate the birthday of Carlos Di Sarli, one of the most popular orchestra leaders in the history of tango, I’m taking a look back at his compositions. His most famous piece is ‘Bahia Blanca,’ an instrumental named after the city where Di Sarli was born. What about Di Sarli’s collaborations with lyricists? One of the more interesting songs is ‘Verdemar,’ which he wrote with José María Contursi, one of tango’s top lyricists and the main character in a life-imitates-art drama.

José María Contursi is the lyricist most famous for his tango ‘Gricel,’ (music by Mariano Mores) and the true story on which it was based.  Contursi fell in love with a woman named Gricel, though he was already married and had a family. Much later in life, after the deaths of his wife and Gricel’s husband, he and Gricel were married. It was said (supposedly by Contursi himself) that for almost 30 years he wrote tango after tango inspired by Gricel.

Is ‘Verdemar’ one of them? Thematically it could be. Written in 1943, a year after ‘Gricel,’ this lyric describes a familiar cycle: finding love, losing it and then hoping for its return. These lyrics are straightforward:

You'll come back, Verdemar
My soul can sense your return.

In the context of Contursi’s personal life, these lyrics take on extra meaning. If it’s true that he wrote tango after tango for Gricel, then this is probably one of them.

Di Sarli composed lush, romantic music for ‘Verdemar,’ his only collaboration with José María Contursi, one of tango’s greatest lyricists. This month, as we explore Di Sarli’s profile, this lesser-known lyric can open the door for a future exploration into José María Contursi’s lyrics. 


Tango 1943
Music: Carlos Di Sarli
Lyrics: José María Contursi

Verdemar ... Verdemar ...
Your eyes filled with silence. I lost you, Verdemar.
Your yellowed hands, your pale lips.
And the cold of the night over your heart.
You're missing, you're gone, Your eyes are shut, Verdemar.

I found you on a whim and you lit up my life. 
I forgot my hours of anguish.
But then life was cruel to you
And my kisses froze on your lips.
And now ... what course will I take?
I'm lost on the road where the sun doesn't rise.


You'll come back, Verdemar
My soul can sense your return.
You'll arrive, you'll arrive ...
Your spirit will travel on a white road
Searching for my tired self,
and here you'll find me.
You're missing, you're gone,
Your eyes are shut, Verdemar.

Verdemar... Verdemar...
Se llenaron de silencio tus pupilas.
Te perdí, Verdemar.
Tus manos amarillas, tus labios sin color
y el frío de la noche sobre tu corazón.
Faltas tú, ya no estás,
se apagaron tus pupilas, Verdemar.

Te encontré sin pensarlo y alegré mis días,
olvidando la angustia de las horas mías.
Pero luego la vida se ensañó contigo
y en tus labios mis besos se morían de frío.
Y ahora... ¿qué rumbo tomaré?
Caminos sin aurora me pierden otra vez.

Volverás, Verdemar...
Es el alma que presiente tu retorno.
Llegarás, llegarás...
Por un camino blanco tu espíritu vendrá
Buscando mi cansancio y aquí me encontrarás.
Faltas tú... Ya no estás...
Se apagaron tus pupilas, Verdemar.