za Cumparsita  – composed in 1917 by Uruguayan Gerardo Matos Rodrigues is performed here by the CT Tango Ensemble in an arrangement by the ensemble’s Accordionist Stanislav Angelov. The amateur footage was taken during a live performance of the Tango Show El Beso – December 2004 at The Little Theatre – Cape Town

CT Tango Ensemble:

Stanislav Angelov – Accordion
Jacek Domagala – Violin
Albert Combrink – Piano

And Dancers:

Didi Moses & Russel Kleintjies, Jackie Borez, Therese Abrahmsen, Regine Lord, Cherona Reisenhofer-Dreyer, Nur Dreyer, Wilhelm Liebenberg, Richard Lord & John Thebus.

Produced by El Cacha Tango Company, directed by Heinrich Reisenhofer, performed with eight local dancers led by Nur Dreyer and Cherona Reisenhofer-Dreyer. The show was choreographed by Mareli Schroter with the music of the Cape Town Tango Ensemble and the Argentinean singer Juan Simon. The ladies’ costumes were personally designed and created by top South African and international couturier Jenni Button.

La Cumparsita was recorded by the CT Tango Ensemble on their album El Tango En Africa.

Rodriguez composed this Tango at the age of 17 while he was still an architecture student. He took the song to Roberto Firpo, one of the central figures in Argentine Tango, who was performing at the already historic club Confitería La Giralda . Firpo – the older and experienced master that he was – instantly realised that he held a gem in his hands, and had an eager but green young man standing in front of him. Firpo convinced Rodriguez to sell the score and copyright for the sum of only 20 pesos! A few years later, when the work was re-released and became an enormous financial success, Rodriguez started a 20 year battle to reclaim some of the fortune his music had made for others. Read the full story behind this “Little Masquerade” at the magnificent VERYTANGO site.

The Confiteria La Giralda - 1453 Avenue Corrientes, Buenos Aires 1951


While the CT Tango Ensemble perform the work as an instrumental without a singer, the original words by Rodriguez captures the bitter twist twist of the knife that is so often at the heart of the tango.

La cumparsa
de miserias sin fin
en torno de aquel ser enfermo
que pronto ha de morir
de pena.

Por eso
es que en su lecho
solloza acongojado
recordando el pasado
que lo hace padecer.

The little masquerade
of endless miseries
around that sickly being
that soon will have died
of shame.

That’s why
on his (death) bed
he sobs, grieving
remembering the past
that causes him this suffering.

"El Beso" Cast & Crew