Songs as short stories
The previous post is a text I have written a couple of months ago when I first saw the video of the performance. I had already read about the song’s story and lyrics before and I was immediately moved by it. Lyrics are indeed a very strange thing. Songs (not only tango ones) use their lyrics to tell a story in more or less 3 minutes. If you think about it, it’s one of the shortest forms of storytelling and yet, with the help of music, those lyrics can stick in your mind for years.
Moreover lyrics, and the story they tell, usually help in making the listener feel for the writer… we often empathize with them… we laugh… love… pain… get angry… express our happiness with them. One of the more impactful effects (I think) is when we somehow identify ourselves as the hero in a song. When you feel like the song could actually be written by you. Depending on the feeling expressed, this effect can be paralyzing. If it is for example a quite sad song, it can even make you cry right there.
Overcoming the language barrier
Of course, contrary to music, lyrics introduce a barrier to understanding the song. The language and the culture they come from. In order to get them really, you need to understand not only the language but also the specific cultural context they were written. The zeitgeist as my German friends would say. Nevertheless, with the power of the internet and thanks to a lot of passionate people out there, there is today a huge amount of information that can help us find out about lyrics and relevant stories.
One such interesting source I discovered lately is a YouTube channel dedicated to explaining the lyrics of tango songs. Sometimes the host (Soledad Maidana) is also inviting guests to tell the stories of their favorite songs. As I wrote in the beginning the previous post was written months ago. But a video from Soledad’s channel was what triggered me to post it last week. In one of t channel’s videos, Aoniken Quigora is explaining the lyrics of Cristal and goes on to share how they make him feel. This on its own is amazing to watch… but there is a bit (at 7:30) where he is confessing that there are tango songs that he finds so overwhelming because of their lyrics… almost paralyzing… that he rarely dances to them in a performance. Can you guess which song he mentions as such? … Yes… Mensaje! The song you heard in last week’s post!
Tonight’s Goodnight Tango
Tonight’s Goodnight Tango is of course Cristal that Aoniken is analyzing which can also be a very touching song and the question is… what about you? Are there tango songs that paralyze you? Or maybe other songs… from your own language and culture… that when you hear them… they are moving so much that you can not actually move.