#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:

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