#24 – Os Mutantes – Panis et Circensis

from Tropicália, ou Panis et Circensis (Philips, 1968)

Original lyrics:

Eu quis cantar
Minha canção iluminada de sol
Soltei os panos sobre os mastros no ar
Soltei os tigres e os leões nos quintais
Mas as pessoas na sala de jantar
São ocupadas em nascer e morrer

Mandei fazer
De puro aço luminoso um punhal
Para matar o meu amor e matei
Às cinco horas na avenida central
Mas as pessoas na sala de jantar
São ocupadas em nascer e morrer

Mandei plantar
Folhas de sonho no jardim do solar
As folhas sabem procurar pelo sol
E as raízes procurar, procurar

Mas as pessoas na sala de jantar
Essas pessoas na sala de jantar
São as pessoas da sala de jantar
Mas as pessoas na sala de jantar
São ocupadas em nascer e morrer

Translated lyrics:

I wanted to sing
My sunlit song
I set sails upon the masts in the air
In the backyards I released tigers and lions
But people in the dining rooms
Are too busy being born and dying

I ordered to make
A dagger from bright polished steel
To kill my love and I did it
At five o’clock at the central avenue
But people in the dining rooms
Are too busy being born and dying

I ordered to plant
Dream leaves at the manor’s garden
The leaves know where to look for the sun
And the root know how to search
But people in the dining rooms
Are too busy being born and dying

But people at the dining rooms
Those people at the dining rooms
But people at the dining rooms
Those people at the dining rooms
Are too busy being born and dying

Double treat today!

So this is the first cut by Kurt Cobain’s little darlings, Os Mutantes! Just kidding, although the Nirvana singer, who had an outstanding taste in music (he even listened to WFMU!), liked them a lot.

I always liked Mutantes, but Mutantes’ fans and all the Mutantes things saying they are the greatest band of all time started annoying me sometime ago. They were very creative and the three together were absolute geniuses, but don’t tell me you think the same of Arnaldo Batista’s solo career. Besides, if you look further, in the 70s there were a lot of even better prog rock bands in Brazil (to start with O Terço). The thing is: I don’t know why a Mutantes consensus was created, because it takes away everything that was really confrontational and strange about the band and then it becomes tamed. The same thing happened, at least I think, with Tropicália, which acquired such a canonical fashion in Brazil that it has lost all its edge. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I don’t like the way people like it (got it?). But this is only an insider view of Brazilian culture.

As the foreign recognition, it’s all than more deserved. Mutantes were one of the great psychedelic bands of all time and they are an easy match to any band in Europe, the States or any other place.

I don’t have much to say besides what’s already been said about them and my usual complaints against their reception. I’ll only have a word about the translation.

Where it says manor’s, the original says solar. Solar has nothing to do with sun, but it’s the name for a big and rich house, although not a mansion. The solar is usually a very large sobrado (a two-store house) with a garden inside, so they’re usually square shaped. To translate solar as manor is not accurate because a manor is locate on the countryside, and a solar is exclusively an urban thing. What is cool about the lyrics is that it brings together the solar with the plants looking for sunlight, so there’s an indeterminacy of meaning or, in not so fancy words, a little confusion which adds to the poetic thing about it.

A second note, I translated “Estão ocupadas em nascer e morrer” como “Are too busy being born and dying”. That’s exactly what it says, but I thought it would be cool to bring a Bob Dylan-esque touch to the translation.

That’s it! Now I feel guilty for what I said about Os Mutantes…

Anúncios

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