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Mano brava

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Mano brava (Bold Hand) is the title of a tango milonga written by Enríque Cadícamo. The music was composed by Manuel Buzón.




Manuel Buzón

Year of composition:


Lyrics writer(s):

Enrique Cadícamo

During the gathering of a group of men at the local tavern, a singer begins to sing a song remembering ‘Bold Hand’, a man who was once part of the group, but who left without ever returning, and urging the ungrateful friend to come back.


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


Spanish: Mano brava

Templó la viola el payador del barrio
y ante la rueda de aquel bodegón,
viejos recuerdos fue desenrollando
y esta milonga cantó:
Te pusimos por varón y por guapear
“el Mano Brava”
y hoy ese apodo
te vengo a reclamar
porque nunca más has vuelto al barrio aquel.
Che, Mano Brava...
Soy tu “padrino” que te viene a hablar,
soy el ayer...
La marca ‘e fuego te ha quedao del barrio
y aunque no quieras siempre escucharás
la voz lejana de los comisarios
que te preguntan: ¿Por dónde has andao?
Sé que has “bancao” por Francia y Nueva York
con naipes bien “peinaos”.
Sé que tenés p’al póker por demás
los dedos afilaos...
Quién más, quién menos, todos cabizbajos
permanecieron por la evocación,
y continuando la Canción del Bajo
se oyó de nuevo al cantor:
Aquí está esperándote tu bodegón
pa’ echarte en cara
con cuentas claras
tu ingrato proceder.
Qué esperás pa’ regresar y pa’ abrazar,
che, Mano Brava,
la muchachada que te supo dar
nombre y cartel…

English: Bold Hand

The neighbourhood’s payador tempered his guitar
and before the group of the tavern,
unrolling old memories
he sang this milonga:

For being male and swaggering
we named you ‘Bold Hand’
and today it’s that nickname
that I’ve come to claim
because you never went back to that neighbourhood.
Hey, Bold Hand…
It’s your ‘godfather’[1] who’s come to talk to you,
I’m Yesterday…

You’ve been branded by the neighbourhood
and even though you don’t want it, you’ll always hear
the distant voice of the commissioners
asking: Where have you been?
I know you’ve gambled around France and New York
with ‘well-combed’[2] cards.
I know that for poker
your fingers are more than sharp…

Some more, some a bit less, they all remained
with their heads lowered by the memories,
and continuing the Song of the Bajo[3]
the singer was heard once more:

Here’s you tavern, waiting for you,
to throw in your face
the clear account
of your ungrateful behaviour.
What are you waiting for to come back and embrace,
hey, Bold Hand,
the gang that once gave you
name and reputation…


  1. Meaning protector or simply someone who helps another person.
  2. The ‘combing’ refers to the action of simulating to shuffle the cards with the intention of cheating; or merely cheating.
  3. Epithet for the milonga, characteristic music of El Bajo, an area of the city of Buenos Aires where the terrain once sloped down to the river.

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