“La cumparsita” (from “comparsa” carnival) is a tango written in 1916 by the Uruguayan musician Gerardo Matos Rodríguez, with lyrics by Pascual Contursi and Enrique Pedro Maroni. It is among the most famous and recognizable tangos of all time. Roberto Firpo, director and pianist of the orchestra that premiered the song, added parts of his tangos “La gaucha Manuela” and “Curda completa” to Matos’ carnival march (“La cumparsita”), resulting in “La cumparsita” as it is currently known. “La cumparsita” was first played in public in the old Café La Giralda in Montevideo. The Tango Museum of Montevideo stands currently on that historic spot.
The title translates as “the little parade”, and the first version was a tune with no lyrics. Later, Matos Rodríguez produced a version with lyrics that begin: “The parade of endless miseries marches around that sick being who will soon die of grief.” However, the most popular version of the song is accompanied by lyrics by Pascual Contursi and is also known as “Si supieras”.
Below we have clip of Julio Iglesias singing and a clip of tango dance with La CUmpasita.
Julio Iglesias – LIVE – La cumparsita – Francia 1997
Sensual tango – La Cumparsita