Celedonio Flores was a prolific tango lyricist of the 1920’s. Along with Pascual Contursi, he contributed to the creation of a repertoire of tango canción and to opened the way to the renovation of tango. He is the author of “Mano a mano” and many other classics which were recorded by Carlos Gardel.
Celedonio Esteban Flores was born in Buenos Aires in 1896. He grew up in the center of the city near Lavalle and Tucuman; when he was 14 years-old his family moved to the neighborhood of Villa Crespo. This is where, in the style of Evaristo Carriego, he began writing poetry about ordinary facts of life in the neighborhood and the city.
As a young man and admirer of poets such as Rúben Dario and Amado Nervo, Celedonio never dreamed of becoming a writer himself. In his youth he explored many paths, studying business and then the arts and music (violin). He also competed as a lightweight boxer at the national level before he found his path.
His breakthrough came in 1920 when the newspaper Ultima hora opened a poetry contest. In a moment of wild optimism, Celedonio Flores wrote “Por la Pinta”, hoping perhaps he could win 5 pesos and have his poem published in the newspaper. This is how he attracted the attention of Carlos Gardel who turned his poem into a tango and recorded it in 1921 as “Margot”.
This unexpected success was followed shortly by another one as “Mano a mano“ became one of the greatest hits of Carlos Gardel in 1923.
Other well-known titles by El negro Cele include “Corrientes” y “Esmeralda”, “La mariposa”, “El bulín de la calle Ayacucho”, “Viejo smoking”, “Por qué canto así”, “Malevito”, “Canchero”, “Pan”, “Muchacho” and “La musa mistonga”. Many of those poems were musicalized and recorded by Carlos Gardel and other prominent artists including Pedro Maffia, Edgado Donato, Ignacio Corsini, Edmundo Rivero and Julio Sosa.
Celedonio Flores published two compilations entitled “Chapaleando barro” and “Cuando pasa el organito”. His poetry is characterized by the sentimentalism of the 1920’s and a clever and abundant use of lunfardo.
When the prohibition was instituted by the military dictatorship of 1943, the work of Celedonio Flores could no longer be broadcasted, recorded, printed or performed in public. Though he proposed new lyrics for “Mano a mano“, the new version was hardly ever used or recorded and he was deeply affected economically. 
When censureship ended 10 years later, his songs were once again recorded and performed by various artists; they remain to this day among the great classics of the tango repertoire.
However, Celedonio Flores died in 1947 at age 51, six years before the prohibition was lifted. π
 Rossler, Osvaldo. Celedonio Flores. La historia del tango: Los poetas (I). Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1981. Print.
 Barsky, Julián. El tango y las instituciones: De olvidos, censuras y reivindicaciones. Buenos Aires: Teseo, 2016. Online ⇑