Kuroneko no Tango

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"Kuroneko no Tango" (Japanese: 黒ネコのタンゴ "Black Cat Tango";[1] originally Italian: Volevo un gatto nero "I wanted a black cat") is a tango song recorded in 1969 by young children in Italy and Japan.

The original Italian version came third in the Zecchino d'Oro on 11 March 1969.[2][3] It was written by "Framario" (Francesco and Mario Pagano), Armando Soricillo, and Francesco Saverio Maresca,[4] and was sung by four-year-old Vincenza Pastorelli.[2] In 2007, Pastorelli was arrested after an anti-prostitution operation dubbed "Gatto Nero" by Carabinieri; her appeal against a three-year prison sentence was pending in the Court of Cassation in October 2011.[5]

Nippon Victor[1] asked the leader of a Japanese school choir called "The Larks" to nominate a member to record a Japanese-language version of the song.[6] She chose her nephew,[6] Osamu Minagawa (born 22 January 1963), whose recording was released on 5 October 1969.[7] The song reached number one in the Oricon chart, and sold 3 million copies,[2] making six-year-old Minagawa the youngest artist ever to have a million-selling record.[8]

The Japanese lyrics bear no relation to the Italian ones beyond the central idea of a black cat. The Italian version is a children's song in which the singer complains at being given a white cat instead of a black one.[9] The Japanese "black cat" symbolises the singer's flighty sweetheart, although Minagawa understood "Tango" to be the cat's name.[6]

The song has been covered many times since 1969. The song with Japanese lyrics was covered by Ami Tokito in 2005, and Meg recorded a cover of the original Italian song on her 2012 album La Japonaise. Justin Mauriello's 2010 Japanese release Justin Sings the Hits includes a version.[10] The song has a Hebrew version originally performed by Tzipi Shavit with words by Yoram Taharlev, called "Kulam Halkhu LaJambo' " (Hebrew: כולם הלכו לג'מבו "Everybody Went to the Jamboree").[11]

The song is on the 2014 album Dream a Little Dream by Pink Martini and The von Trapps.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Fujita, Shig (19 December 1970). "Agent as Superstar". Billboard. 76: Japan Special Report p.J–20. 
  2. ^ a b c "Dalle canzoni dello Zecchino d'oro allo sfruttamento della prostituzione". La Stampa (in Italian). 20 December 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  3. ^ うたの旅人:天才少女の絶頂と転落 「黒ネコのタンゴ」 (in Japanese). Asahi. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Acerbi, Antonio (2003). La Chiesa e l'Italia: per una storia dei loro rapporti negli ultimi due secoli (in Italian). Vita e Pensiero. p. 88. ISBN 978-88-343-1017-5. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Spagnolo, Chiara (1 October 2011). "Dallo Zecchino ai centri a luci rosse l'ex bimba prodigio torna in aula - Bari - Repubblica.it". La Repubblica. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Associated Press (9 December 1969). "Six-year-old Japanese boy has hit disc". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, Iowa. p. 28. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Guinness book of world records. Sterling Pub. Co. 1976. p. 241. 
  8. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1984-12-31). Million selling records from the 1900s to the 1980s: an illustrated directory. Batsford. p. 288. ISBN 978-0-7134-3843-7. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Ventavoli, Bruno (20 December 2007). "Voleva un gatto nerosi è data alle luci rosse". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Justin Sings The Hits". Catalogue. Japan: In n Out Records. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "ציפי שביט - כולם הלכו לג'מבו". YouTube. 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 

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