Making sense of the lyrics...
This month we’ve been talking about Juan Carlos Cobián, the dapper pianist/composer nicknamed ‘The Tango Aristocrat.’ Cobián’s melodies and harmonies were lush – he was one of the creators of the tango romanza style – and with his movie-star image he was the perfect for the 1920’s. Tango was at the height of its glamour, transformed from lower-class music into the latest trend for the upper crust in Buenos Aires and Paris.
In addition to being a beautiful composition and one of tango’s big hits, ‘La casita de mis viejos’ has the curious distinction of being biographical in content. The lyricist Enrique Cadicamo was Cobián’s writing partner – the two of them created hit after hit, writing tangos like ‘Los mareados,’ ‘Nostalgias,’ and ‘Nieblas del Riachuelo.’ Cadícamo was also Cobián’s confidant, and one day the ‘Aristocrat’ confessed that after leaving his home in Bahía Blanca at age 18 he had not been back to visit for twenty years.
This story inspired ‘La casita de mis viejos,’ whose protagonist travels far and wide seeking fame and fortune (much like Cobián, who moved to New York twice). The final line of the chorus is the kicker: it seems the narrator’s appearance has changed so much that the family servant (also old at this point) doesn’t recognize him until he hears his voice.
La casita de mis viejos
Music: Juan Carlos Cobián
Lyrics: Enrique Cadícamo