“La Cumparsita” is a classic tango written in 1916 by the Uruguayan musician Gerardo Rodriquez, and is among the most famous and recognizable tangos of all time. Originally written as a march, it was made into a tango, augmented with a section of tango from Verdi’s opera “Il trovatore”, then premiered by pianist and orchestra leader Roberto Firpo resulting in the La Cumparsita as it is currently known. The song became a hit only after lyrics were added and the song released by Argentine Pascal Contursi in 1924. The Spanish title means “the little parade” and begins “The parade of miseries…” consistent with the song’s emotional feel.

Among the most famous, classic tangos of all time

La Cumparsita was most often performed as a simple vocal or played by an orchestra initially, but has been recorded and performed by many musicians of all genres in recent years. It is a song frequently heard and danced to in clubs, broadcasts, and movies as well, including by Gene Kelly in “Anchors Aweigh”. La Cumparsita was named the the cultural and popular anthem of Uruguay in 1997. It is common tradition for the song to be played as the last dance of the evening.

One of a trilogy of tangos on Vincenzo Martinelli album

I recorded my Spanish guitar arrangement of La Cumparsita for my first self-titled Vincenzo Martinelli album released in 2002. The song sits in this album as part of a trilogy of tangos from three distinct cultures: La Cumparsita reflecting a South American flavor, Tango en Skai composed by Frenchman Roland Dyens, and Verano Porteno meaning Buenos Aries Summer, from Argentina!

I was attracted to the rhythm of tango as a young musician, and after playing this song for some time, decided to include it on my very first album. Recorded in the studios of John Roy, in Newcastle, Australia, I play a solo guitar without accompaniment for this song, and still love the strong tango rhythms, and the yearning and heartfelt emotions this song evokes. The structure of the song is in three main parts with a strong melodious first section and a more subtle rhythmic second part, then returning to the first melody for a strong ending.

A thrill to perform and dance to!

La Cumparsita is thrilling to play! It never loses its appeal, and it makes performances exciting with its exotic, danceable rhythms. Audiences really respond to this song!

I hope you enjoy listening and seeing my new video, which you can find on my website and on my YouTube channel!