How I fell in love with the tango music of Carlos Gardel thanks to the movie Scent of a Woman

The legacy of Carlos Gardel

Carlos Gardel was born in France in 1890, but he moved to Argentina when he was a child. He started his musical career as a folk singer, but he soon became interested in the tango, a musical style that originated in the late 19th century in the lower-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. The tango combines elements of European and African music, and it is characterized by its rhythmic complexity, its melancholic and sentimental lyrics, and its expressive and sensual dance.

Gardel was not only a singer, but also a composer and a movie star. He wrote more than 900 songs, many of them in collaboration with his friend and lyricist Alfredo Le Pera. He also starred in several movies, both in Argentina and in Hollywood, where he became known as “the king of tango”. He was admired and loved by millions of fans around the world, who considered him the voice of the tango and the soul of Argentina.

Gardel died tragically in 1935, at the age of 44, in a plane crash in Colombia, while he was on a tour in Latin America. His death shocked and saddened the entire continent, and his funeral was attended by thousands of people. His body was eventually buried in Buenos Aires, where his grave is still visited by many admirers. His legacy lives on in his songs, which are considered classics of the tango and of the world music.

My journey with the tango

After watching Scent of a Woman, I became obsessed with the tango music of Carlos Gardel. I bought his albums, I watched his movies, I read his biography, I listened to his interviews. I wanted to learn everything about him and his art. And, of course, I wanted to play his songs on my guitar.

I searched for the guitar arrangements of his songs, and I found some online. I started practicing them, and I realized that they were not easy. The tango is a very complex and sophisticated music, that requires a lot of technique and expression. It is not enough to play the notes, you have to feel the emotion and the passion behind them. You have to make the guitar sing and cry, like Gardel did with his voice.

I spent hours and hours practicing the tango, trying to improve my skills and my interpretation. I also watched videos of other guitarists playing the tango, and I learned from them. I discovered that there are many ways to play the tango, and that each guitarist has his or her own style and personality. I tried to find my own voice, my own way of playing the tango.

One of the songs that I worked on the most was Por una cabeza, the one that I heard in the movie. I loved the melody, the rhythm, the harmony, the lyrics. I wanted to play it as well as I could, and to make it sound as beautiful as possible. I also learned that this song was not the first choice of the producers for the movie. They originally wanted to use another song by Gardel, Volver, which is also very famous and has a nostalgic and sentimental lyrics. However, the director preferred Por una cabeza, because he thought that it was more suitable for the character of Pacino, a blind ex-military officer who lives on the edge and who falls in love with a woman he barely knows. Besides, he considered that Volver was too sad and melancholic for a scene that had to convey sensuality and emotion.

I also learned to play Volver, and I liked it a lot. It is a different kind of tango, more slow and intimate, more reflective and poetic. It talks about the past, the memories, the regrets, the hopes. It is a song that touches the heart and the soul.

My gift to you

I decided to share my passion and my love for the tango music of Carlos Gardel with you, my dear readers and listeners. I recorded my guitar versions of Por una cabeza and Volver, and I uploaded them to my YouTube channel. You can watch them here:


You can also listen to them on Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music, where you can find my other recordings of tango and other genres. Just search for Roberto Pugliese, and you will find me.

If you are interested in playing these songs on your guitar, you can also download the scores of my arrangements on my website, where you can also find more information about me and my music. Just go to, and you will find everything you need.

And if you want to see me live, you can also check my concert schedule on my website. I perform regularly in different venues and events, where I play the tango music of Carlos Gardel and other songs that I love. I would be very happy to meet you and to share my music with you.

Thank you for reading and listening

I hope you enjoyed this article and my recordings. I hope I inspired you to discover and appreciate the tango music of Carlos Gardel, one of the greatest artists of all time. I hope I made you feel the emotion and the passion that this music conveys. And I hope I made you dance, even if only in your mind.

Thank you for reading and listening. Until next time, keep playing and keep loving music.

Roberto Pugliese

: Scent of a Woman (1992) – IMDb : Por una Cabeza – Wikipedia : Volver (tango) – Wikipedia : Por una cabeza – Carlos Gardel – Guitar arrangement by Roberto Pugliese – YouTube : Volver – Carlos Gardel – Guitar arrangement by Roberto Pugliese – YouTube

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