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Pinta orillera

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Pinta orillera (Marginal Look) is the title of a tango written by David Farina Ortiz. The music was composed by Antonio María Arcieri.




Antonio María Arcieri

Year of composition:


Lyrics writer(s):

David Farina Ortiz

The poet presents the image of a guapo, a distinctive character of the suburbs of the old Buenos Aires, one of the figures that time, with its inexorable changes, has left only as a memory.


At the moment, there are no recordings for this song stored in the TangoWiki. If you have sources, add a new recording.


Spanish: Pinta orillera

Flaco, trigueño... mirada fiera,
daga cayendo del pantalón.
Dice su vieja pinta orillera
¡Cancha!... Soy guapo de corazón.
¡Arrabalero!... Flor del suburbio,
yerbita criolla del barrio sur,
cuando un amigo le juega turbio
pela su fierro, corre el albur.
Guapo, buen mozo del arrabal.
Tigre pa’l canto, luz pa’ bailar.
Dice la gente al verlo pasar
con una criolla que es un rosal:
“Falla el coraje contra el amor,
ahí va Tranquera, rey del facón.
’Cha! quién pudiera cueriarlo al sol
como esa prenda lo basurió”.
En los candombes de las barriadas
o en la trastienda del almacén,
ganó sus lauros a puñaladas
y algunas veces mató también.
Y ensimismado en su propia gloria,
gaucho moderno, sin chiripá,
es un recuerdo y es una historia
del Buenos Aires que ya se va.

English: Marginal Look

Thin, dark skinned... fierce look,
a dagger falling out of his pants.
His classic marginal look says:
Make room!... I’m a guapo[1] at heart.
Arrabalero [2]!... Best[3] among those from the suburbs,
creole weed from the southernmost neighbourhood.
When a friend plays it foul against him,
he draws his knife and it’s all left to chance.

Guapo, good looking fellow from the arrabal[4].
A tiger for singing, a light for dancing.
People say as they see him go by
with a creole woman as pretty as roses:
’Courage fails against love,
there goes Tranquera, king of the knife.[5]
Darn! If only one could skin him in the sun
as did the woman he loved and hurt him...’

In the neighbourhood’s candombes[6]
or in the store’s back room,
he got his victories at knifepoint
and some times he also killed.
And engrossed in his own glory,
modern gaucho[7], without chiripá[8],
he’s now a memory and a story
of the Buenos Aires that’s going away.


  1. Guapo: brave individual, bold and resolute. Tough man, often a braggart and a bully.
  2. Arrabalero: from the arrabal.
  3. Flor: literally means ’flower’, but it’s also used to express that something is excellent, the best of its kind.
  4. Arrabal: low-income, working class neighborhood on the outskirts of the city.
  5. Facón: long gaucho knife.
  6. Candombe: kind of music and dance of African origin, developed in Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.
  7. Gaucho: a particular kind of countryman-horseman characteristic of the plains and adjacent areas of Argentina and other Southamerican countries.
  8. Chiripá: poncho held in place by a belt, worn on top of the gaucho’s trousers, in order to protect him from the cold and possible injuries.

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