“La cumparsita” 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.
The title translates as “the little parade“, and the first version was a tune with no lyrics. Later, Pascual Contursi wrote words to make the most popular version of the song. The lyrics begin: “The little parade of endless miseries…“