#49 – Jorge Ben – Eu vou torcer

from A Tábua de Esmeralda (Philips, 1974)

Original lyrics:

Eu vou torcer pela paz
Pela alegria, pelo amor
Pelas moças bonitas
Eu vou torcer, eu vou

Pelo inverno, pelo sorriso
Pela primavera, pela namorada
Pelo verão, pelo céu azul
Pelo outono, pela dignidade
Pelo verde lindo desse mar
Pelas moças bonitas eu vou torcer, eu vou

Eu vou torcer pela paz
Pela alegria, pelo amor
Pelas moças bonitas
Eu vou torcer, eu vou

Pelas coisas úteis que se pode comprar
Com dez cruzeiros
Pelo bem estar, pela compreensão
Pela agricultura celeste, pelo coração
Pelo jardim da cidade, pela sugestão
Pelo Santo Tomás de Aquino
Pelo meu irmão
Pelo Gato Barbieri,
Pelo mengão
Pelo meu amigo que sofre do coração

Pelas moças bonitas
Eu vou torcer, eu vou
Eu vou torcer pela paz
Pela alegria, pelo amor

Pelas moças bonitas
Eu vou torcer, eu vou
Pelas dondocas bonitas
Eu vou torcer, eu vou.

Translated lyrics:

I’ll cheer up for peace, happiness and love
I’ll cheer up for beautiful ladies
I’ll cheer up, I will

I’ll cheer up for winter, for smiles
For the spring, for the girlfriends,
For the summer, for the blue skies
For autumn, for dignity
For the green color of this beautiful sea
For all the beautiful ladies, I will

I’ll cheer up for peace, happiness and love
I’ll cheer up for beautiful ladies
I’ll cheer up, I will

I’ll cheer up for all the useful things
One can buy with ten bucks
I’ll cheer up for good living, comprehension
For celestial agriculture, for the heart
For the city’s gardens, for the suggestions
For Aquinas, for my brother
For Gato Barbieri, for Flamengo
For my friend who suffers from a heart condition

For the beautiful ladies
I’ll support them, I will
I’ll cheer up for peace, happiness and love

This is also a more simple song than the first ones on the album, but it has a strong message for peace, easiness, and living well, which fits nicely into Jorge Ben’s persona. It also gives material for exploring some cool things about Brazilian culture.

The verb torcer has some very different meanings for someone who’s trying to learn Brazilian Portuguese. Its first meaning is to wring or to squeeze. The second meaning of the word is to support someone or some team. How come the same word has so different meanings?

It has to do with the introduction of football in Brazil. When football came to Brazil on the feet of Charles Miller and other English and German immigrants around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, it was an aristocratic sport. People dressed in their best clothes to watch the games, which were conducted on a spirit of camaraderie. Many of the supporters that went to the games, that time, were women, usually rich and educated who were wives, sisters and related to the players, but nonetheless women that cheered up enthusiastically on the games and were an important part of it. Those women usually went to the matches with scarf or handkerchiefs, which they nervously squeezed during the game. Because of this, the supporters came to be known as torcidas. The general name for a sports supporter in Brazil, then, comes from what women did on the attendance for soccer matches in the early 20th century.

During the course of the 20th century the feminine presence on soccer stadiums diminished, but recently, with the gentrification of football, it has risen again. You can get to know some of the problems women encounter going to the pitch reading this brief article.

I had some trouble keeping the overall harmony of the song and the lyrics. In other words, I failed blatantly. But I’ve tried not being too repetitive, so I used interchangeably the words support and cheer up for. I hope I haven’t wrecked the whole song.

You’ll notice that Jorge Ben uses the word Mengão. This is also an affectionate way of referring to Brazil most popular football team, Flamengo, which I’m sure all of you know. Flamengo’s torcida is surely the most creative and animated of all torcidas in Brazil and Jorge Ben’s career developed around the same time than Flamengo’s golden age, so he wrote lots of songs about mengo and its players. Jorge Ben himself tried his chance in soccer before turning to music.

There’s also a reference to Aquinas, which reintroduces the Hermetic themes of the album, as Jorge Ben regards Aquinas not only as a Catholic saint but also as a major alchemist.

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