Spanish song: Tatuaje
Language Resources

Song: Tatuaje

We’ve talked about Andalusian coplas in articles in the past, and this song is one of the best examples. “Tatuaje” was written in 1941 by Xandro Valerio, Rafael de León and Manuel Quiroga. It’s a song that’s complicated by combining verses with waltz rhythms and others with tango rhythms. In fact, some artists who have interpreted the song have created tango or even fado versions of the song.

The song’s story could perfectly be set in La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires or in a tavern by the port of Lisbon. It is the story of a woman who falls in love with a wandering sailor and is pulled through a miserable love story. A beautiful and melancholy song that goes like this:

Él vino en un barco, de nombre extranjero.
Lo encontré el puerto un anochecer,
cuando el blanco faro sobre los veleros
su beso de plata dejaba caer.
Era hermoso y rubio como la cerveza,
el pecho tatuado con un corazón,
en su voz amarga, había la tristeza
doliente y cansada del acordeón.

Y ante dos copas de aguardiente
sobre el manchado mostrador,
él fue contándome entre dientes
la vieja historia de su amor:
Mira mi brazo tatuado
con este nombre de mujer,
es el recuerdo del pasado
que nunca más ha de volver.

Ella me quiso y me ha olvidado,
en cambio, yo no la olvidé
y para siempre voy marcado
con este nombre de mujer.

Él se fue una tarde, con rumbo ignorado,
en el mismo barco que lo trajo a mí
pero entre mis labios, se dejó olvidado,
un beso de amante, que yo le pedí.
Errante lo busco por todos los puertos,
a los marineros pregunto por él,
y nadie me dice, si está vivo o muerto
y sigo en mi duda buscándolo fiel.

Y voy sangrando lentamente
de mostrador en mostrador,
ante una copa de aguardiente
donde se ahoga mi dolor.
Escúchame marinero,
y dime que sabes de él,
era gallardo y altanero,
y era más rubio que la miel

Mira su nombre de extranjero
escrito aquí, sobre mi piel.
Si te lo encuentras marinero
dile que yo, muero por él

He came in a ship with a foreign name.
I found him at the port one evening,
when the white lighthouse let its silver
kiss fall on the sailboats.
He was beautiful and blond like beer,
his chest tattooed with a heart,
and in his bitter voice, there was a painful
sadness and an accordion’s tired sound.

And with two cups of moonshine
on the stained bar top in front of him,
he started to tell me through his teeth
the old story of his love:
“Look at my arm tattooed
with this woman’s name, 
it is a memory from the past
that will never return.

She loved me and now she has forgotten me,
but I have never forgotten her
and I will be forever marked
by this woman’s name.”

He left one evening without direction,
in the same boat that brought him to me
but between my lips, he left forgotten
a lovers’ kiss, I’d asked of him.
Wandering, I searched for him at every port,
I asked all the sailors for him,
and nobody could tell me if he was alive or dead
but I continue in doubt looking for him faithfully.

And I am bleeding slowly
from bar to bar
with a cup of moonshine
where I drown my pain.
Listen to me sailor,
and tell me if you know about this man,
he was handsome and haughty
and blonder than honey

Look at his foreign name
written here on my skin.
If you see him sailor
tell him that I die for him.