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whatmusic.com presents ‘Bronca Buenos Aires’, recorded and composed in B.A. by top Argentinean bassist Jorge Lopez Ruiz in 1971. Based on the writings of Jose Tcherkaski and the ‘El Cordobazo’ uprising, ‘Bronca’ mixes funky big band and choral arrangements with spoken word and heavyweight soloists in a powerful 4-piece suite!
  • Poems written and recited by Jose Tcherkaski!
  • Features Chivo Borraro, Fernando Gelbard & Alfredo Remus.
  • New liner notes with English translation of the poems and introduction by Jorge Lopez Ruiz!
  • Also available on LP (WMLP-0082)

Check the 30 second clips from the album...

The whatmusic.com interview...


It all started in 1966. Until then the only thing the Argentineans knew about violence was what they read in the newspapers. But then in the course of one of the habitual military “coup d´etats” something changed, and the violence that had been contained for so long exploded.

That fact was imprinted forever on our history by “El Cordobazo[1]”

“La Bronca[2]” [the anger] of a society that lost their freedom and even worse, the dignity of their own lives and work is what I’ve tried – humbly – to reflect in this work.

Today, that “Bronca” [anger] is still present even though we have twenty years of democracy and freedom behind us. The importance of social dignity and work has never been taken into account; the immense debt we have towards these two things has never been paid or acknowledged.

Jorge Lopez Ruiz

The Poems

Jose Tcherkaski’s poetry, read in Spanish by the author, romantically and sensually captures the constant civil and political upheaval in which Buenos Aires and Argentina as a whole endured in the early 70s. This work is a message of love and at the same time a revolutionary cry, a true protest against social injustice and military authoritarianism. An amazing piece of art.

Fernando Gelbard

La ciudad vacia
Primer movimiento

Primero fueron los puñales
y despues vino la orilla
y toda la amargura de un
malevaje que se estaba yendo
entre un golpe de baraja
y alguna muerte casual
que uno había prometido.

Llegaron todas las broncas emigrantes
y trajeron la historia y la leyenda
Desparramaron el idioma por la calle
y de a poco se fueron adueñando del lenguaje.

Y después se fueron los boliches
el estaño se apagó como las velas

el vino empezó a tomarse con apuro
y alguien dijo amor en una esquina del centro
y se olvidaron del tango y el compadre.

Entonces, entonces
la ciudad se fue poblando de vacíos
ya nadie conversaba como antes
el ruido del mateo se quedó en Palermo
y llegó rumor de muerte para el barrio.

Ahora nadie se acuerda
pero dicen que Buenos Aires
tiene el bandoneón anclado
una guitarra milonga por Pompeya
y un hambre proletario apuñalado.

Segundo movimiento

Si pudiera les contaría historias
de fantasmas
alguna muerte que persigue
por adentro
un amor que tuve
y que no tengo
un sueño casual
una bronca diaria
estas ganas de vivir
y todos los miedos
que poseo.

Si pudiera
trataría de relatar el mundo
de tocar la piel de cada uno
de conversar despacio
y contarles este amor de párpados
que busco
de contarles si pudiera
de estas ganas.

Hay muchas cosas que no entiendo
a veces extraño a Buenos Aires
tengo soledades permanentes
padezco de la noche
y sucede que mis pocos amigos
andan con la cara larga
porque dicen
que nacieron al costado de la tierra
y a esta patria la fundaron
imigrantes de otras playas.

Amor Buenos Aires
Tercer movimiento

Entre en vos como si fuera una tarde calurosa
terminamos el crepúsculo
entre abrazos lerdos
anduvimos buscando el vino a tientas
derramamos y llegó la borrachera
pero después, después
vinieron los silencios largos
como apuñalados
o apuñalándonos.

Con la noche
juramos los secretos
y nos besamos la boca
con la saliva más nueva
desde entonces

salgo con la oscuridad
y te hago las señales

Se vino el río
fue como decir
el viento tiene aromas amarillos
el aire es de color violeta
y el martes es el tercer día de la semana
me decido y te lo cuento
no se vivir conmigo mismo

No se vivir
y no sabemos
en la garganta duele
la saliva seca
pero de a poco vamos envejeciendo
nuestras carnes
y llegamos al odio
cuando venimos del amor

y somos fracasados
transeúntes permanentes
caminantes de este miedo
el mio el de nosotros.

Bronca Buenos Aires
Cuarto movimiento

Después se vino la violencia
llegó la bronca bárbara
lentamente se fueron acostumbrando
y nadie se animó
los miedos invadieron la ciudad
hubo melancolías y nostalgias
y se fueron acostumbrando como cómplices
después vinieron otros hombres
y fuimos nosotros asaltantes del amor
alguno se animó
y tuvo la bronca
levantó la mano
y toda la bronca y la impotencia
llegó la soledad
la soledad
y se fue acabando el tiempo.


The Poems in English

The empty city
First movement

First there were the daggers
and then came the outskirts
and all the bitterness of
the hard-men on the wane
between a card game
and some casual death
someone had promised.

All the immigrant angers arrived
and they brought history and legend
they spread their slang through the streets
and little by little took possession of the language.

And then the clubs disappeared
bars snuffed out like candles
people began to rush their wine
and someone said ‘love’, at a street corner in the town centre
and they forgot about tango and the old fashioned hard-men.

Then, then
the city came to be inhabited by voids
no one talked anymore like before
the sound of horse & carriage stayed in the Palermo district
and rumours came the neighbourhood was dying.

Now nobody remembers anymore
but they say the bandonéon[3]
is deeply rooted in Buenos Aires
a guitar going milonga[4] in the harsh Pompeya neighbourhood
and the stabbed hunger of the proletarians.

Second movement

If I could I would tell you stories
about ghosts
about a death haunting
deep inside
about a love I once had
and don’t have anymore
about a casual dream
about daily anger
about this hunger for life
and all the fears
I possess.

If I could
I would try to make you a tale of the world
to touch the skin of each person
to talk to you, taking my time
and to tell you about this love of eyelids
I am looking forward
to telling you, if I could,
of my desire.

There are many things I don’t understand
sometimes I miss Buenos Aires
I have permanent bouts of loneliness
I suffer from the night
and the few friends I have
go around pulling long faces
because they say
they were born disconnected from their land
and this fatherland of theirs was founded
by immigrants from other shores.

Amor Buenos Aires
Third movement

I entered you as though I were a warm afternoon
we made it through the dusk
amidst slow hugs
we groped for the wine
spilling it around and drunkenness arrived
but afterwards, afterwards
came the lengthy silences
silences as though stabbed
or stabbing us.

When the night came
we swore secrets
and kissed each other’s lips
with the newest saliva
from then on
I go out in the company of the darkness
and send you the agreed signals

“It came over us, the river”
that was like saying:
‘the wind has yellow fragrances’
‘the colour of air is violet’
or ‘Tuesday is the third day of the week’
I make up my mind to admit to you:
I don’t know how to live with myself.

I don’t know how to live
and we don’t know.
In our throat
dry saliva hurts
but little by little we age
our flesh
and we come around to hatred
though our origins are in love
and we are failures
permanent transients
walkers in this fear
of mine… of ours.

Bronca2 Buenos Aires
Fourth movement

Then came violence
the arrival of unbounded anger
slowly they got used to it
and nobody had the courage to dare
fears invaded the city
leaving a trail of melancholy and nostalgia
compliance with the fears slowly became a way of life
afterwards other men came
and love became a place beyond the law
someone had the courage
and the anger
to stand up, and with his raised fist
to bring out all the anger and the impotence
But in came loneliness
and time slowly ran out.


English translation by Norberto Gimelfarb and Charles Leach

Remastered by Pablo Lopez Ruiz, Buenos Aires 2003

Special thanks to Carlos Piriz, Fernando Gelbard,
Norberto Gimelfarb, Jorge Lopez Ruiz, Rafi Gokay
and Rocio Perez-Sutil

Translators’ Notes
[1] Beginning in the 1960s and throughout the 1970s the political struggle in both Argentina and Chile became intense. In Argentina two presidents: Frondizi (1959-1962) and Illia (1962-1966), were ousted by the military because they compromised themselves, allowing the Peronistas, (outlawed by the military), to win elections on several levels. In June 1966, the regime put in place a more direct dictatorship under general Onganía which confronted unrest and rebellion, the largest and strongest insurrection occurring in the important industrial city of Córdoba on 29 May 1969. The entire city of near one million people went on strike protesting the dictatorship; this was known as “El Cordobazo”. The cover of this album is a depiction of that struggle.
[2] Bronca is more than anger, it means a very deep anger, with powerful resentment. Something like what is meant in the phrase “Angry young man” – for example John Osbourne’s “Look back in Anger” could be translated into Spanish as “Recordando con Bronca”
[3] Bandonéon – a kind of large concertina, used for accompanying the tango
[4] Milonga – the 19th century dance that became the tango. Milonga is also a musical form allowing improvisation of both melody and lyrics, somewhat like the blues.
[5] Carajo – the Spanish word is untranslatable… much stronger than “Damn” but not overtly obscene. 200 years ago it was a specific part of the male anatomy, a meaning long lost to time. It’s a word best appreciated in its native tongue.

© 2004 whatmusic.com
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