La ultima curda

“La ultima curda” is one of the last great poems of the golden age of tango. It was written in 1956 by Catúlo Castillo to the music of Anibal Troilo. It tells the story of a deeply disillusioned man, talking to a bandoneon about the futility of life and the profound emotions he feels at the sound of a tango.

Curda is a lunfardo term which means “drunkenness” or “inebriation”; thus La ultima curda would translate as “the last  inebriation”. It is the third of a series of tangos which presents the bandoneon as a living character and friend of the lonely man in the style of “Che bandoneon” by Homero Manzi. It also resonates with the work of Enrique Discepolo as it takes tango poetry to the deepest level and ultimate apogee of existentialism.

¡Ya s’e, no me dig’as! ¡Tienes razon! La vida es una herida absurda, y todo es tan fugaz que es una curda, ¡Nada mas! Mi confesión.

I know, no need to say! You are right! Life is an absurd wound, and everything is so ephemeral that it’s as good as getting drunk to even bother telling my story (talking to the bandoneon).

In his memoirs, Roberto Rivero remembers a beautiful summer evening when they were rehearsing “La ultima curda” in Troilo’s apartment on Parana street, near Avenida Corrientes and the cabaret Chanteclerc. They were making the last arrangements when they noticed a crowd was amassed in the street, interrupting the late night traffic, so they went out on the balcony and performed “La ultima curda” for the first time in public. It was such a magical night it felt a bit strange to sing “life is an absurd wound”, said Rivero in “Una luz de almacen”. 

“La ultima curda” was recorded for the first time in 1956 by Anibal Troilo with Edmundo Rivero for the label TK. It became a classic of Troilo’s repertoire; he recorded another version with Goyeneche in 1963, followed by an in instrumental version in 1969. Both Roberto Goyeneche and Edmundo Rivero kept the song in their repertoire as well and recorded it many times over.

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[1] Del Priore, Oscar, and Irene Amachástegui. Cien tangos fundamentales. Buenos Aires: Aguilar, 1998. Print.

[2] Adet, Manuel. La ultima curda. El Litoral. Online.  http://www.ellitoral.com/index.php/diarios/2013/03/09/escenariosysociedad/SOCI-03.html

[2] Riveo, Edmundo. Una luz de almacen. Buenos Aire: Emecé editores, 1982. Print.

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