Notes on the First Slovak Tango


In recent years, I have read several articles dealing with the issue of the “first Slovak tango”, which were published in various media. Their authors draw information from previously published sources and ponder that the first Slovak tango was probably Dušan Pálka’s song Nepovedz dievčatko nikomu [Don’t Tell Anyone, Little Girl] rather than Dita. They leave the definitive answer to this question open. Based on interviews with the lyricist Štefan Hoza and the composers Dušan Pálka and Alexander Aranyos, the author notes that Dita had been a tango composed and provided with lyrics before the song Nepovedz dievčatko nikomu. Although the music of the latter had been composed before Dita, it was completed as a whole with lyrics, in the form of a chanson, after Dita. Historically, the first Slovak tango might have been Modranský’s tango Rozbila sa bárišenka in the 1920s, whose exact dating is unknown. Nevertheless, this does not rule out the possibility that a still older tango might lie undiscovered in some archive, as the waltz Oj, spievaj pre mňa! – Medzinárodný valčík v ôsmych rečiach [Oh, Sing for Me! – International Waltz in Eight Languages], published privately in 1920, whose composer is listed as “Comp. J. Németh Tenor, Bratislava”, suggests.