#9 – Gilberto Gil – Sai do Sereno

from Expresso 2222 (Universal, 1972)

Lyrics in Portuguese:

Sai, sai do sereno, menina
Sereno pode lhe fazer mal
Vem logo pra dentro, menina
Que esse forró
Tá gostoso pra danar
Acaundu, acaundu, acaundu

Lyrics in English:

Girl, get out of the dew, get out,
The dew can harm you
Come quickly inside
That this forró
Is good as hell

This is a cut from the album Expresso 2222, released in 1972, after Gilberto Gil came back from London when he was exiled because of Brazilian dictatorship. Most of the “big names” in Brazilian music during that period (Gil, Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque) stayed for some time abroad because of the dictatorship. The military regime employed a vast censorship structure to try to keep the artists from saying anything against them, which led some of them to look for another places where they could be creative. What always impressed me is that even though they were opposition in some sense to the regime, they nonetheless released tons of albums. I can only think that they weren’t so subversive as they said or the censorship was kinda stupid, I don’t know. Anyway, as happened to Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil’s period in London wasn’t the most successful, he couldn’t launch his career overseas and then he returned to Brazil. Expresso 2222, the album’s title, indicates the train line he usually took around Bahia in his youth.

The song is not difficult to understand. Actually, it is not a Gil’s original but a rendition of a earlier forró song written by Onildo de Almeida. I always find it interesting how tropicália’s musicians tried to emulate and remember the Brazilian musical traditions. That’s antropofagia after all!

Unfortunately I couldn’t find an “original” rendition of the song, but you can listen to it from the video below, when it comes third after “Vamos chegar pra lá” e “Só para assanhar”, two other forró standards:

#8 – Tom Zé – Correio da Estação do Brás

(the songs starts at 6:18 in the video above)

from Correio da Estação do Brás (Continental, 1978)

Original lyrics:

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana
quem quiser mandar recado
remeter pacote
uma carta cativante
a rua numerada
o nome maiusculoso
pra evitar engano
ou então que o destino
se destrave longe.
Meticuloso, meu prazer
não tem medida,
chegue aqui na quinta-feira
antes da partida.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

Me dê seu nome pra no
caso de o destinatário
ter morrido ou se mudado
eu não ficar avexado
e possa trazer de volta
o que lá fica sem dono.
nem chegando nem voltando
ficando sem ter pousada
como uma alma penada.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

De forma que não achando
o seu prezado parente
eu volto em cima do rastro
na semana reticente
devolvo seu envelope
intacto, certo e fechado.
odeio disse-me-disse
condeno a bisbilhotice.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

Se se der o sucedido
me aguarde aqui no piso
pois voltando com a resposta,
notícia, carta ou pacote
— ou até lhe devolvendo
o desencontro choroso
da missão desincumprida
estarei aqui na certa
sete domingos seguidos
a partir do mês em frente.
Palavra de homem racha
mas não volta diferente.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

Um carta cativante
O nome maiusculoso
pra evitar engano
O seu presado parente
na semana reticente
Notícia, carta ou pacote
— ou até lhe devolvendo
o desencontro choroso
da missão desincumprida
estarei aqui na certa
sete domingos seguidos
a partir do mês em frente.
Palavra de homem racha
mas não volta diferente.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (varias vezes)

The translation:

I travel Thursday
Feira de Santana
Whoever wants to leave a message
Send a package
A cheering letter
[State] the address number
The name in capital letters
To avoid confusion
Or then leave destiny
Do its way
Meticulous,
My pleasure is unbounded,
Arrive here on thursday
Before I leave

Give me your name in case
The addressee is dead
Or have left
I don’t get embarrassed
And I can bring back
This thing which has no owner
Neither leaving nor coming
Without a place to stay
Like an unreaped soul

So that if I don’t find
Your beloved relative
I come back his trail
In this diffident week
I give back your envelope
Intact, sure and closed
I hate rumour
I abhorr snooping

If that happens,
Wait for me here,
Because if I come back with the answer,
News, Letter or parcel
– or even if I return it to you
The lacrimous misencounter
of the unaccomplished mission
I’ll be here certainly
Seven sundays in a row
Beginning the next month
A man’s word can break
But it doesn’t becomes another.

One captivating letter
The name in capitals
To avoid mistakes
Your beloved relative
In this diffident week
News, letter or parcel
– or even If i return it to you
the weeping misencounter
of the unaccomplished mission
I’ll be here certainly
Seven Sundays in a row
Beginning the next month
A man’s word can break
But it doesn’t becomes another.

Sorry, my internet just didn’t worked yesterday after I’ve posted the other lyrics. So TODAY is the two lyrics day.

I must say sometimes I don’t quite get the criteria behind Souljazz selections for the Brazil 70 compilation. Why not selecting a cut from Estudando o Samba, Tom Zé’s classical work from this period and the one who got the attention of David Byrne leading to his rediscovery? Or any other album before it? This 1978 is one of the most “normal” sounding from Tom Zé, much like those two 1974 LP’s by Captain Beefheart which he later dismissed. This song, though, I have to say, is great.

The whole album is related to it in its lyrics. Brás is a neighborhood in São Paulo, one of the most traditional ones. Nowadays, it is inhabited mostly by Nordestinos (like Tom Zé) and it is most famous for its clothing factories and stores. The song relates to those who went South to São Paulo looking for work and their relatives, who stayed in Northeastern Brazil (as Feira de Santana is a town in Bahia). The next song, “Carta”, letter, embodies the same feeling of saudade between the ones who went and those who stayed and that is lost in between.

There are two cool things to look down in the translation. The first two verses have a great rhyme established between “I travel Thurday/Feira de Santana”. Thursday, in Portuguese, is Quinta-Feira. The day’s names in Portuguese have lost their original words relating to the pagan gods (just like Spanish still have) and received instead an ordinal numbered sequence related to something religious which an overzealous Portuguese monarch once felt was right. Anyway, the week starts on Sunday (Domingo), goes through Monday (which is, I dare you guess, segunda-feira and not primeira-feira) and so on. To travel Thursday it means the narrator will spend the weekend with his relatives in Northeastern Brazil, a thing he does not do often neither the person who he’s speaking with. The rhyme goes on the end of the first verse and the middle of the second, just like this:

Eu viajo quinta-FEIRA/FEIRA de Santana

I just love this.

The second cool thing to look down is that I’ve translated alma penada as “unreaped soul”. In Portuguese folklore, a soul which is still haunting the living ones is called alma penada, because it was condemned – for any number of reasons – to stay down here and not going to heaven or anywhere else. I’ve translated it as unreaped as to indicate that the soul has not been met by the Grim Reaper, which has a duty to take it to the other side. To be like an alma penada means to hang around without knowing what to do, waiting for something which may never come.

I hope I haven’t depressed you all after uncovering the song’s meaning!

#7 – Novos Baianos – Brasil Pandeiro

from Acabou Chorare (Som Livre, 1972)

Original lyrics:

Chegou a hora dessa gente bronzeada
Mostrar seu valor
Eu fui à Penha fui pedir à padroeira para
Me ajudar
Salve o Morro do Vintém, Pindura Saia,
Eu quero ver
Eu quero ver o Tio Sam tocar pandeiro
Prara o mundo sambar

O Tio Sam está querendo conhecer
A nossa batucada
Anda dizendo que o molho da baiana
Melhorou seu prato
Vai entrar no cuscuz, acarajé e abará
Na casa branca já dançou a batucada
De ioiô i iaiá

Brasil, esquentai vossos pandeiros iluminai os terreiros
Que nós queremos sambar

Há quem sambe diferente
Noustras terras, outra gente
Um batuque de matar
Batucada, reuni vossos valores
Pastorinhas e cantores
Expressoes que nâo tem par
Oh! Meu Brasil

Brasil, esquentai vossos pandeiros…

My translation of it:

It is about time this tanned people show what’s worth
I went to Penha ask its patron saint to help me
Hail Morro do Vintém, Pindura Saia, I want to see
I want to see Uncle Sam play the pandeiro so the whole world can dance samba

Uncle Sam is willing to know our batucada
He says the Baiana’s gravy made his dishes better
He’ll accept cuscuz, acarajé and abará
In the White House he already danced to the sound of ioiô and iaiá

Brazil, warm up your pandeiros,
Lighten the terreiros,
That we want to dance samba

There are those who samba differently
In another lands, other peoples
A killing batuque
Batucada, gather what your worth,
Little dancers and singers,
Expressions without comparison
Oh! Brazil

Sorry I skipped a day over, so you’ll at least have TWO and not only one translated lyrics.

As I promised, here are the translated lyrics to the first track on Acabou, Chorare, by Novos Baianos. It is not an original of theirs, but a rendition – made under the João Gilberto’s suggestion – of a track composed by Assis Valente in the 40s. Assis Valente was one of the foremost composers of samba during the Golden Age of Radio in Brazil. This is one of the most fertile periods in Brazilian music, much different than what came after (Bossa Nova is really a change of paradigm, almost a new idiom), and I hope I’ll have the chance to speak about it later. About Brasil Pandeiro, however, there is a curious story that it was composed for Carmen Miranda after she returned from the United States. Following her success, the lyrics say how even the States are curious toward Brazil. There are some nationalistic propaganda in there too, I guess, because during half of the 40s Brazil was under Getúlio Varga’s Estado Novo dictatorship, which tried to create an image of Brazil as a racial democracy and many other things we now associate with it. The curious thing, as I’ve said, is that Carmen Miranda rejected the song, which went unrecorded until some years later, and then it became even more famous sung by the Novos Baianos.

I have left several terms untranslated. So to make things more clear, I explain what they are. Penha is a neighborhood in Northern region of the city of Rio de Janeiro, it is well known as one of the samba birthplaces and also famous for its baroque church, which somehow still stands amidst the ocean of favelas surrounding it. It is one of the great landmarks of Rio. Morro do Vintém is a hill in Niterói, the city located opposed to Rio de Janeiro on the other side of Baía de Guanabara, and Pindura Saia is a community located in Morro da Mangueira, also in the city of Rio, which is, of course, one of Rio de Janeiro mainstays at samba music and history. So the first verses are a kind of invocation of the Brazilian samba tradition.

Batucada is the drum rhythm of samba and other Brazilian dances. One of its instruments is the pandeiro, which appears not only in samba but also on other kinds of music derivated from it, such as chorinho. Cuscuz (the same as couscous), acarajé and abará (the same as an acarajé, but as the other is fried, this one is cooked) are all typical culinary dishes from Bahia. Bahia, located in Northeastern Brazil, has a very distinctive culture and so those dishes represent some kind of typical Brazilian gastronomy. They are all very spiced, if you had the chance to taste one. Pastorinhas is short for a female shepherd, but in the context it indicates female dancers, as old street carnival in Rio used to have. The word is used in this sense in the famous João de Barros and Noel Rosa’s marchinha entitled – justly – “As Pastorinhas“. The terreiros mentioned in the chorus indicate the place where samba was/is traditionally played. They are squared opened buildings with its floor covered in dirt. The word also means the place where candomblé takes place, and candomblé is also called sometimes batuque in casual Brazilian Portuguese. So there’s always a second meaning hidden behind the surface…

In the following video you can listen to a earlier recording of Brasil Pandeiro:

#6 – Jaimie Alem & Nair de Cândia – Passará

from Amanheceremos (independent release, 1978)

The Portuguese lyrics:

Passará
passará quem passará
dessa piora para melhorar

Passará
quem tiver os braços
quem tiver as pernas
vai querer passar

Passará
quem não for sozinho
quem somar caminho
para melhorar

Quem folgar
passará em falso
um passo à frente
dois para retardar

Do outro lado
se avistam flores e colmeias
como resultado do trabalho

Desse lado
gritos e lamentos
o mato queimando
sem poder plantar

Passará…

My translation:

Jaimie Alem – Passará

They shall pass
Those who’ll pass
From the worst to what’s better

They shall pass
Those who got arms [for work]
Those who have legs [for walking]

They shall pass
Those who’ll not be alone
And those who gather
Along the way to improve

Who rests
Will mistep
One step ahead
Two steps back

On the other side
You can see flowers and beehives
As a profit from labour

On this side
Screams and lamentations
The bush’s burning
without allowing to plant

They shall pass…

I confess I didn’t know this one but I liked it a lot. It has a sertanejo-gospel-cum-tropicalia feel, not unlike many of Brazil’s rock rural recordings, but with a religious tone that is a little unusual. This is from the last album recorded from this couple (the Soul Jazz tracklist only mentions Jaimie Alem) and I really don’t know anything more about them. Later I’ll listen more of it and try to translate the rest of the lyrics, but if you want a preview of the album, check it out here:

To the translation: as I’ve mentioned, it has a religious overtone through it. It appears also on the first track of the recording, which works around the biblical passage of “give to Caesar what’s from Caesar and to God what’s to God”. This is different from the typical mystical post-psychedelic Brazilian thing in it’s a very biblical. Keeping that in mind, I’ve translated “Passará” as “They shall pass”, to keep it sounding like something from this provenance. The thing is, “Passará” is in the third person of the singular but to avoid placing the lyrics as something masculine or feminine (he/she) or impersonal (it), I’ve translated everything into plural, so I guess it makes the whole thing more coherent. At least it’s how it seems to me.

If the lyrics were already in the plural, it would have said “Passarão”, but as Mario de Quintana said, “Eles passarão, eu passarinho”. And I’ll surely not try to translate it to you…

Bye!

#5 – Novos Baianos – Tinindo Trincando

from Acabou Chorare (Som Livre, 1972)

Original Portuguese lyrics:

Eu vou assim
E venho assim
Eu vou assim
E venho assim

Porque quem invade não
Não chega não
Chega não porque pera aí
Sou mesmo assim
Sou mesmo assim
Sou mesmo assim
Assim

Um dia assim
Um dia assado
Um dia assim
No duro tinindo tinindo trincando

Translated ones:

I go just like that
I come just like that
I go just like that
I come just like that

Because who invades me
Don’t come near because
Wait!
i’m just like that
I’m just like that
Like that

One day this way
One day another way
One day this way
No duro, tinindo trincando

Sorry, guys, couldn’t translate the last verse! But later I’ll explain why.

This is the third track from Brazilian psychedelic classic Acabou Chorare, release in 1972. The details are well know today. A bunch of hippies during Brazilian military dictatorship leave the city and go a paradisaical beach in Northeatern Brazil to live as a self-sufficient community. It’s the very materialization of Raul Seixas’ sociedade alternativa. In the way, they made one of the great Brazilian records.In Brazil, the hippie movement really caught on after the turn of the 70s, as the 60s were still very influenced by communist-alike cultural expressions. In later years the album’s popularity has grown when it placed first on a list by Rolling Stone Brazil of the best Brazilian albums.

Why I didn’t translate the last verse? Because it is untranslatable! Actually, it isn’t, but I couldn’t think of an English equivalent which would convey the same sense of self-sufficient happiness and don’t give a fuck to everyone else as the sentence “No duro tinindo trincando”. Tinindo trincando was a slang for doing excellent, as tinindo refers to something shining when it is polished (like a glass) and trincando indicates when something is about to break but hasn’t yet. If we take the example of a glass, the two words will sound opposite, so you have to blame popular creativity for turning two rival aspects into only one idiom. As for “No duro”, it means “In fact”, “Really” or anything like that depending on the context. I hope you enjoy the translation even with this fault.

I don’t know if you know it, but “Brasil Pandeiro”, the opening track, is not a Novos Baianos original but actually a rendition of a standard samba composition made by Assis Valente in the forties. Tomorrow I’ll forget Brazil 70 a little bit to illuminate this song, which has — to me — of the most beautiful lyrics relating to Brazil and its people.

#4 – Alceu Valença – Punhal de Prata

from Molhado de Suor (Som Livre, 1975)

Original Portuguese lyrics:

Eu sempre andei descalço
No encalço dessa menina
E a sola dos meus passos
Tem a pele muito fina

Eu sempre olhei nos olhos
Bem no fundo, nas retinas
E a menina dos olhos
Me mata, me aluncina

Eu sempre andei sozinho
A mão esquerda vazia
A mão direita fechada
Sem medo por garantia

De encontrar quem me ama
Na hora que me odeia
Com esse punhal de prata
Brilhando na lua cheia

Mas eu não quero viver cruzando os braços
Nem ser cristo na tela de um cinema
Nem ser pasto de feras numa arena
Nesse circo eu prefiro ser palhaço

Eu só quero uma cama pro cansaço
Não me causa temor o pesadelo
Tenho mapas e rotas e novelos
Para sair de profundos labirintos
Sou de ferro, de aço de granito
Grito aflito na rua do sossego

Sossego!

Mas na verdade é mentira
Eu sou o resto
Sou a sobra num copo, Sou subeijo
Sou migalhas na mesa
Sou desprezo
Eu não quero estar longe
Nem estou perto

Eu só quero dormir de olho aberto
Minha casa é um cofre sem segredo
O meu quarto é sem portas, tenho medo
Quando falo desdigo, calo e minto
Sou de ferro, aço e de granito
Grito aflito na rua do sossego

E o que prende demais minha atenção
É um touro raivoso na arena
Uma pulga do jeito que é pequena
Dominar a bravura de um leão

Na picada ele muda a posição
Pra coçar se depressa, com certeza
Não se serve da unha e da presa
Se levanta da cama e fica em pé
Tudo isso provando como é poderosa e suprema a natureza

E eu desconfio dos cabelos longos de sua cabeça
Se você deixou crescer de um ano pra cá
Eu desconfio no sentido ‘Stricto’
Eu desconfio no sentido ‘Lato’
Eu desconfio dos cabelos logos e desconfio do diabo a quatro
Do diabo a quatro
Do diabo a quatro…

My attempt at translating it:

I’ve always walked barefoot
Chasing the footprints of this girl
And my step’s sole
Has a very thin skin

I’ve always looked deep
Deep down in the eyes
And the pupil
Kills me, hallucinates me

I’ve always walked alone
Left hand empty
Right hand closed
Without fear for sure

Of finding the one who loves me
In the very hour he hates me
With this silver dagger
Shining in the full moon

But I don’t wanna live with arms crossed
Neither I want to be Christ in a movie screen
Nor food for the beasts on a sideshow
In this circus I’d rather be the clown

I just want a bedside to rest
Nightmares don’t scare me
I have maps and routes and ropes
To escape from deep dark labyrinths
I’m made of iron, steel and stone
I scream anxious on the street of soothingness

Soothingness!

But actually it is a lie
I’m what’s left
I’m what’s left in a glass cup, I’m excess
I’m breadcrumb on a table
I’m despair
I don’t want to be far away
Nor I want to be near

I just wanna sleep with eyes wide open
My house is a safe-box without combination
My room has no windows, I’m scared
When I say I unsay, I shut up and lie
I’m made of iron, steel and stone
I scream anxious on the street of soothingness

And what grips on my mind
Is a rageous bull on the ring
A small flea taming the lion’s braveness

When stinged he changes position
To scratch quickly
Surely he doesn’t uses his nails or his preys
He gets up and stays afoot
All this to show just how nature is powerful and supreme

And I doubt your long hair
If you let them grow since yesteryear
I doubt in the strict sense
And in the broad sense
I doubt your long hair and everything else
And everything else
Everything else…

Boy, this one was hell. Not only because it is long but also because I’ve read it over and over again and I still can’t find a sure meaning to it or at least a single meaning to it. Perhaps there isn’t, but as an amateur translator, that means I had to stick to a more word-for-word translation than before.

This is the opening track of the third Alceu Valença album, Molhado de Suor. The title translates as “sweaty” or “poured in sweat”, like when someone gets when does too much exercise under the sun or, like the main character on the track, seem to be running away indefinitely. Valença’s lyrics are almost always open-ended and like here, they more conjure up images than chew up all for the listener. I hope the translation can convey the sense of escaping and the urgency of the original track.

It’s also cool to see Alceu Valença before he lost his edge, so to speak, and become a mainstay in Brazilian TV-financed festivals. He’s still a crazy guy, but he’s somewhat tamed. His first album with Geraldo Azevedo is a lesser known psychedelic gem, check it out:

To the translation, finally. “Chasing the footprints” may seem odd, but it’s because the original has a wordplay between walking barefoot (descalço) and keeping track of someone (estar no encalço de alguém). Later, I’ve translated menina dos olhos in its literal sense because in the context he speaks about eyes. In Portuguese, though, menina dos olhos also means your pride and joy, something that it’s most dear to you, even making you jealous of other’s reactions to it. It’s another wordplay. By the middle of the lyrics, Valença says he’s got mapas e rotas e novelos. Novelo means a tread ball, so the rope isn’t formed yet. He’s in the dungeon making the instruments for his escape. And I’ve translated sossego for soothingness because of the context, as he’s going against a status quo. Sossego can also be translated by laziness or to be at easy, as Tim Maia says on his famous tracks.

Lastly, if you’re still with me, there’s a wordplay involving Valença’s name in Brazil. Alceu sounds just like “Ao seu” in Portuguese, which means “To yours”, so people can say “Ao seu Valença” and the other can reply “Ao meu Valença” (To my Valença). It’s just a little joke.

See you tomorrow. Peace!

#3 – Secos & Molhados – Amor

from Secos & Molhados (Continental, 1973)

Original Portuguese lyrics:

Leve, como leve pluma
Muito leve, leve pousa.
Muito leve, leve pousa.

Na simples e suave coisa
Suave coisa nenhuma
Suave coisa nenhuma.

Sombra, silêncio ou espuma.
Nuvem azul
Que arrefece.

Simples e suave coisa
Suave coisa nenhuma.
Que em mim amadurece

My translation of it:

Lightly, lightly as a bird feather when it lightly, very lightly touches the ground

[Landing] in the simple and gentle nothing

Shadow, silence or foam
Blue cloud that slows down

Simple and gentle nothing that grows in me

This is one of my favorite records and this song shows a little bit why. As you may know, Secos & Molhados self-titled first record (many Brazilian musicians simply didn’t titled their albums, so there’s, for instance, a Roberto Carlos ’63, ’64, ’65 and so on) contains a musical rendition of Vinicius de Moraes’ poem “Rosa de Hiroshima“, but they didn’t need any poet to make great lyrics. Only now I meditated upon it and this light feather touching a gentle nothing is a great way to illustrate love’s growing inside someone, almost as the way Roberto Carlos’ song before tried to convince the “girl” of what it means to be in love. Great stuff, not to mention the excellent musicianship throughout the record and the vocal abilities displayed by Ney Matogrosso, undoubtedly one of the greatest and most popular Brazilian singers of the second half of the last century (my grandma has all his records).

A little tip at the band’s name. If you try to translate the words secos and molhados, you’ll find out they mean respectively dry and wet. This may seem a little confusing, but actually secos e molhados is an old idiom meaning a little warehouse where you can find absolutely anything you need ranging from the dry things (the secos), for instance, to the wet ones (the molhados). Applied to the band, it means they’ll play anything and everything, which they certainly do.

In the next posts I’ll try to keep track of Brazil 70‘s tracklist order, the Soul Jazz compilation which gives name to this blog and which starts with this well known gem.

#2 – Moraes Moreira – Se você pensa

from Moraes Moreira (Som Livre, 1975)

Original lyrics:

Se você pensa que vai fazer de mim
O que faz com todo mundo que te ama
Acho bom saber que pra ficar comigo
Vai ter que mudar
Daqui pra frente, tudo vai ser diferente
Você vai aprender a ser gente
O seu orgulho não vale nada
Nada
Você tem a vida inteira pra viver
E saber o que é bom e o que é ruim
É melhor pensar depressa e escolher
Antes do fim
Você não sabe, nem nunca procurou saber
Que quando a gente ama pra valer
Bom mesmo é ser feliz e mais nada
Nada

Translated ones:

If you think you’re going to do to me
What you do to everyone else
I think it’s better for you to know that to stay with me
You’ll have to change
From now on, everything will have to be different
You’ll learn to be somebody
Your stubbornness will mean nothing
Nothing
You have all your life to live
And to learn what’s good and what’s bad
It’s better you think quickly and choose
Before the end comes
You don’t know, you never tried to find out
That when we’re trully in love
Being happy is what counts and nothing else
Nothing

This is a track from Moraes Moreira’s self-titled first album, released in 1975. You may know him for his work as one of the Novos Baianos and he’s still quite active. I remember when I was a child in the early nineties (yes…) I was always intrigued by one of his LP’s we still have here at home that had a song about a Pegasus or something like that, I don’t know why but I used to like it. Maybe I’ll post it here someday.

Anyway, this track is not an Moraes Moreira orginal but actually a cover of a song written by Jovem Guarda superstars Roberto and Erasmo Carlos. It’s an usual Jovem Guarda boy-wants-girl-but-she-doesn’t-care-about-him song, but this one paints the girl as self-righteous, so the boy actually has a reason in creating conditions for her to be with him. Maybe it’s an hangover from the innocence of some earlier Jovem Guarda’s songs or they’re recognizing that times are changing (times have changed in Brazil since 1964) or maybe I’m just thinking too much over it.

If you don’t know why Roberto Carlos is called O Rei (the King), don’t forget to check this rendition of “Se você pensa” live on the Record TV channel in 1969:

#1 – Ednardo – Ingazeiras

from Ednardo e o pessoal do Ceará (Continental, 1973)

Original version

Nasci pela Ingazeiras
Criado no ôco do mundo
Meus sonhos descendo ladeiras
Varando cancelas
Abrindo porteiras

Sem ter o espanto da morte
Nem do ronco do trovão
O sul, a sorte, a estrada me seduz

É ouro, é pó, é ouro em pó que reluz
É ouro em pó, é ouro em pó

É ouro em pó que reluz
O sul, a sorte, a estrada me seduz

English translation

I was born by the Ingazeiras
Raised in the world’s void
My dream descending ladders
Bursting troughout the doors
Opening the gates

Without fearing death
Neither the roar of thunder
I’m bound to the road, to south, to luck

It’s gold, it’s dust, it’s gold that shines in the dust
It’s gold dust, it’s gold dust

It’s gold dust that shines
South, luck, I’m bound to the road

This song has two or three tricky aspects to it in terms of translation. What it says, though? Ednardo, or José Ednardo Soares Costa Sousa was born in São Benedito, Ceará, in 1945. Ceará is part of Northeastern Brazil, just right along the curve that makes Brazilian coast matches with Africa. Northeastern Brazil was/is it’s poorest and most troubled region, especially on its countryside, called sertão. Famine and drought were experienced throughout most of the second half of the twentieth century as it still does. Because of that, a large number of “Nordestinos” went south in search of wealth and a better life, especially to Brazil’s largest towns (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro), not unlike the Great Migration of black people from the South to Northern United States a little bit earlier. Former president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva and forró legend Luiz Gonzaga (aka Gonzagão, “Papa Gonzaga”, so to speak, as his son was Gonzaguinha, “Baby Gonzaga”) are two examples of people who were southbound just like the protagonist of Ednardo’s song. So you didn’t think there was this much “social background” to the song when you heard it on that Brazilian psychedelia compilation, don’t you?

To the tricky aspects of the translation:

1. Ingazeiras referes, I guess, to the Ingá tree which is spread throughout Brazilian territory (and more). At first I thought the mention refered to the municipality of Ingazeiras, in Pernambuco, which would not change the overall meaning of the song, but anyway, Ednardo was born in Ceará and not in Pernambuco;

2. I’ve translated cancelas and porteiras as “doors” and “gates”.  This is not wrong, though they end up loosing most of its “local colour”. Both words are set up on a rural setting, and both cancela and porteira are a common feature of a farm. Northeastern Brazil has lots of farms, dedicated especially to the creation of cattle. So Ednardo’s not only going South as he’s moving from the countryside to the city.