Making Sense of The Lyrics…
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.
Music: Carlos Di Sarli
Lyrics: José María Contursi