#45 – Jorge Ben – Os alquimistas estão chegando

from A Tábua de Esmeralda (Philips, 1974)

Original lyrics:

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!…

Os Alquimistas
Estão chegando
Estão chegando
Os Alquimistas…(2x)

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Êh! Êh! Êh! Êh!…

Eles são discretos
E silenciosos
Moram bem longe dos homens
Escolhem com carinho
A hora e o tempo
Do seu precioso trabalho…

São pacientes, assíduos
E perseverantes
Executam
Segundo as regras herméticas
Desde a trituração, a fixação
A destilação e a coagulação…

Trazem consigo, cadinhos
Vasos de vidro
Potes de louça
Todos bem e iluminados
Evitam qualquer relação
Com pessoas
De temperamento sórdido
De temperamento sórdido
De temperamento sórdido
De temperamento sórdido…

Êh! Êh! Êh! Êh!
Êh! Êh! Êh! Êh!…

Os Alquimistas
Estão chegando
Estão chegando
Os Alquimistas…(2x)

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!…

Translated lyrics:

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!…

The alchemists
Are coming
Are coming
The alchemists

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!…
Eh! Eh! Eh! Eh!

They’re discreet
And silent
They live far away from men
They choose carefully
Time and place
For their precious work

They’re pacient, effortful
And they struggle
They do everything
According to the Hermetic rules
From grinding to fixating
From destillation to coagulation

They bring crucibles with them
Glasses and earthenware
Everything well lit
And they avoid any person
Of dubious character (4x)

Eh! Eh! Eh! Eh!
Eh! Eh! Eh! Eh!

The alchemists
Are coming
Are coming
The alchemists

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!

This is the opening track from A Tábua de Esmeralda and it introduces already the theme of alchemy. The lyrics are simple ones. The alchemists are coming lá lá lá and just that.

One thing I think I haven’t spoke about it here is the Brazilian Portuguese diacritics. Usually when people see something like é in a Brazilian title they talk it like it was French, but in Brazilian Portuguese those sounds are inverted. É is an open sound usually on a higher range (like treble), and the ê is a closed sound, just like French é. What in French is é becomes ê, and what in French is ê becomes é.

What I have to say about Jorge Ben is that he is one of the true innovators in Brazilian music. He started doing samba, but samba of his kind, as you can hear on his album Samba Esquema Novo.

In his earlier works he was heavily influenced by Bossa Nova, specially João Gilberto, but he also always had lots of attention to black music. In the early 70s, as he went electrified, this black music influence increased, and his albums A Tábua de Esmeralda and África Brasil (1976) are both almost whole electrified. He combined those diverse sounds into what would be called samba-rock, a genre that spanned a lot of imitators, but no one sounds like Jorge Ben.

In 1978 he went to (another) major Som Livre, changed his band to Banda do Zé Pretinho and recorded an album with that title, which to me is his last great album. As happened to a lot of Brazilian musicians that were successful around this time, in the 80s he lost momentum and his oeuvre wasn’t as original as before. In the last couple of years he has had a sort of resurgence after recording an Brazilian MTV acoustic concert in 2002 and having some of his album put on the list of the best Brazilian albums of all time compiled by Rolling Stone Brazil.

By the way, Tábua de Esmeralda was ranked 6th best album ever by that same list.

PS: In the late 70s Jorge Ben also changed his name to Jorge Ben Jor…for reasons unknown to me…

Anúncios

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