#35 – Caetano Veloso – Hino ao Senhor do Bonfim

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

Original lyrics:

glória a ti neste dia de glória
glória a ti redentor que há cem anos
nossos pais conduziste à vitória
pelos mares e campos baianos

desta sagrada colina
mansão da misericórdia
dai-nos a graça divina
da justiça e da concórdia

glória a ti nessa altura sagrada
és o eterno farol, és o guia
és, senhor, sentinela avançada
és a guardo imortal da bahia.

dessa sagrada colina
mansão da misericórdia
dai-nos a graça divina
da justiça e da concórdia

aos teus pés que nos deste o direito
aos teus pés que nos deste a verdade
trata e exulta num férvido preito
a alma em festa da nossa cidade

desta sagrada colina
mansão da misericórdia
dai-nos a graça divina
da justiça e da concórdia

Translated lyrics:

Thy glory on this glorious day
Thy glory our redeemer that
Since a century ago led our fathers
To victory through the seas and fields
Of Bahia

From this sacred hill
House of mercy
Give us the divine grace
Of peace and justice

Thy glory at this sacred height
You’re the everlasting guiding light
You’re the guide, you are, Lord,
The sentinel, you are the eternal
Guardian of Bahia

From this sacred hill
House of mercy
Give us the divine grace
Of peace and justice

At your feet that gave us the right
At your feet that give us truth
Cure and rejoice in our faithful service
The celebrating soul of your city

The final track of the album couldn’t be more traditional (at least in its source). It’s like Caetano Veloso and the Tropicalists are reasserting that they come — most of them, at least — from a specific place: Bahia. It’s the Bahian invasion to Southern Brazil!

This hymn was composed in 1923 by Arthur Salles e João. It is both a religious as a politically official composition, serving as a state hymn to Bahia. It was composed to celebrate the Igreja Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, or, in a translation, Church of Our Lord of the Good Death (bom fim meaning “good end”), the largest church in the city of 365 churches.

——————————-

I hope you have enjoyed the ride through Tropicália. It will surely continue, but only after Carnival. Because, you know, the year only starts after Ash Wednesday.

 

Anúncios

#34 – Gal Costa – Mamãe, Coragem (1968)

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

Original lyrics:

Mamãe, mamãe, não chore
A vida é assim mesmo
Eu fui embora
Mamãe, mamãe, não chore
Eu nunca mais vou voltar por aí
Mamãe, mamãe, não chore
A vida é assim mesmo
Eu quero mesmo é isto aqui

Mamãe, mamãe, não chore
Pegue uns panos pra lavar
Leia um romance
Veja as contas do mercado

Pague as prestações
Ser mãe
É desdobrar fibra por fibra
Os corações dos filhos
Seja feliz
Seja feliz

Mamãe, mamãe, não chore
Eu quero, eu posso, eu quis, eu fiz
Mamãe, seja feliz
Mamãe, mamãe, não chore
Não chore nunca mais, não adianta
Eu tenho um beijo preso na garganta

Eu tenho um jeito de quem não se espanta
(Braço de ouro vale 10 milhões)
Eu tenho corações fora peito
Mamãe, não chore
Não tem jeito
Pegue uns panos pra lavar
Leia um romance
Leia “Alzira morta virgem”
“O grande industrial”

Eu por aqui vou indo muito bem
De vez em quando brinco Carnaval

E vou vivendo assim: felicidade
Na cidade que eu plantei pra mim
E que não tem mais fim
Não tem mais fim
Não tem mais fim

Translated ones:

Mother, mother, don’t cry
That’s how life is
I need to go

Mother, mother, don’t cry
I’ll never come back
Mother, mother, don’t cry
That’s how life is
What I want is really this

Mother, mother, don’t cry
Take some clothes to wash
Read a novel
See the grocery bill

Pay the installments
To be a mother means
Unravelling little by little
Your son’s hearts
Be happy
Be happy

Mother, mother, don’t cry
I want it, I can make it, I wanted it, I did it
Mother, be well
Mother, mother, don’t cry
Don’t you cry ever more, it doesn’t help
I have a kiss stuck in my throat

I’m not easily scared
(A gold arm is worth 10 million bucks)
I have a heart and a chest
Mother, don’t cry
It doesn’t help
Take some clothes to wash
Read a novel
Read “Alzira, the dying virgin”
Or “The great industry man”

Here I’m doing quite fine
Once in a while I party

And that’s how I live: with joy
At the city I’ve created myself
And that doesn’t have an end
It doesn’t have an end
It doesn’t have an end

Second Gal Costa cut from the album. This one was composed by Caetano Veloso and Torquato Neto, whose “Tropicalism for Beginners” we have already read before. I don’t have much to say about it, except that it’s a beautiful track.

Tomorrow I’ll end the album (yes, I know, “Geléia Geral” is still missing) and in the first days of the next week I’ll make a Carnival special. After all, there is nothing so much Brazilian as a good Carnival.

#33 – Os Mutantes – Bat Macumba

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

Lyrics:

Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba oh
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macum
Bat Macumba ê ê, Batman
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat
Bat Macumba ê ê, Ba
Bat Macumba ê ê
Bat Macumba ê
Bat Macumba
Bat Macum
Batman
Bat
Ba
Bat
Bat Ma
Bat Macum
Bat Macumba
Bat Macumba ê
Bat Macumba ê ê
Bat Macumba ê ê, Ba
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat
Bat Macumba ê ê, Batman
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macum
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba oh
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá
Bat Macumba ê ê, Bat Macumba obá!

No sense in translating this one, but I still find it one of the most amazing lyrics to any of these songs we’re dealing with. As you can see, the lyrics make a pattern; in fact, it is like half of the Brazilian flag. In this sense, it comes very close to Brazilian concretist poetry.

I’ve mentioned earlier the “Beba Coca-Cola” poem by Décio Pignatari. This one is similar. The concretist movement (not to confuse it with the musique concrète genre) rose to prominence in the mid-fifties when a bunch of intellectuals in São Paulo started experimenting with words and shapes. Their goal was to abolish the distinction between form and content, so in poetry they expressed themselves usually by making visual poems (later, Ferreira Gullar perfected the form) and relying heavily on word-play. It’s like they tried to use Western poetry to create ideograms (not unlike what Pound made using real ideograms in his works).

The cool thing is that concretismo had a pictorial branch too. It came to Brazil after World War II, when Brazil, through the São Paulo Biennials,  started to keep up the pace with European art. Some central European painters like Max Bill exhibited their works in São Paulo and it attracted a lot of attention. So Brazilian painters adopted and developed the concretism idiom, making geometrical works where the form is indistinct from the content and where the painter’s subjectivity is — at least they thought — almost null. It’s like they were trying to reach a point zero for painting. Painter Ivan Serpa (1923-1973), for instance, was one of those that adopted this style, as were Brazilian big-names like Alfredo Volpi (1896-1988) and Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980).

gouache-1956.jpg!Blog

What is interesting is that, while the concretos were based in São Paulo, towards the end of the 50s, the carioca (i.e., based in Rio de Janeiro) also started to develop ideas related to it. They founded the neoconcretista movement, in which the languages of abstraction were put in touch with the question of the viewer’s role in art and taking the painting from the canvas and bringing it to space, almost transforming it into a performance. Lygia Clark (1920-1988) and, once again, Hélio Oiticica were two members of this movement.

Lygia-Clark-Bicho-DSC0344

2430

I don’t know if all this was in Gil’s head when he “composed” Bat Macumba, but it’s some of the things we can think of to better understand it.

And by the way, I didn’t mentioned, but macumba are the public offerings made to the orixás in umbanda and candomblé traditions in Brazil.

#31 – Caetano Veloso – Enquanto seu lobo não vem (1968)

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

Original lyrics:

Vamos passear na floresta escondida, meu amor
Vamos passear na avenida
Vamos passear nas veredas, no alto meu amor
Há uma cordilheira sob o asfalto

(Os clarins da banda militar…)
A Estação Primeira da Mangueira passa em ruas largas
(Os clarins da banda militar…)
Passa por debaixo da Avenida Presidente Vargas
(Os clarins da banda militar…)
Presidente Vargas, Presidente Vargas, Presidente Vargas
(Os clarins da banda militar…)

Vamos passear nos Estados Unidos do Brasil
Vamos passear escondidos
Vamos desfilar pela rua onde Mangueira passou
Vamos por debaixo das ruas

(Os clarins da banda militar…)
Debaixo das bombas, das bandeiras
(Os clarins da banda militar…)
Debaixo das botas
(Os clarins da banda militar…)
Debaixo das rosas, dos jardins
(Os clarins da banda militar…)
Debaixo da lama
(Os clarins da banda militar…)
Debaixo da cama

Translated lyrics:

Let’s take a walk on the hidden forest, my darling
Let’s strode through the avenue
Let’s go through the country, my love, up there
There is a mountain range below the tarmac

(The military band plays…)
Estação Primeira da Mangueira parades through large streets
(The military band plays…)
It passes right below Presidente Vargas avenue
(The military band plays…)
President Vargas, President Vargas, President Vargas
(The military band plays…)

Let’s talk a walk throught the United States
Let’s go undercover
Let’s parade where Mangueira went
Let’s go beneath the streets

(The military band plays…)
Under the bombs, under the banners
(The military band plays…)
Under the boots
(The military band plays…)
Under the roses in the gardens
(The military band plays…)
Under the mud
(The military band plays…)
Under the bed

Another Caetano Veloso cut from the 1968 album and actually I don’t have much to say about it. Only that the military band going through the streets playing under (or over) everything reminds me, of course, of censorship and other horrible things in Brazilian dictatorship. It made me think of famous Chico Buarque’s song called “A Banda”, which I’ll translate tomorrow, because this blog has been too long without a Chico Buarque song.

As for the translation, it is not a hard one. I made some slight changes, though. One of the more important is that the original says “Os clarins da banda militar“, and not exactly “The military band plays”. The clarim is the same thing as a bugle, as you can see below.

clarim

 

And it is not for another reason that the Marvel-universe newspaper, the one where Peter Parker works, is called in Brazil “O clarim diário”, or The daily bugle.

Clarim Diário cópia

 

Another change I’ve made is that I translated vereda as country, as vereda means a track cut through the country’s vegetation. In Brazil, it is usually spoke of as a way through, in an almost metaphorical sense. Probably this is because of the masterpiece written by Guimarães Rosa called Grande Sertão: Veredas. Published in 1956, it is one of the chief works of Brazilian literature, and Rosa is a genius when it comes to language and language play. I can honestly say it is on the same level as Joyce’s Ulysses. The book has been translated with the name The Devil to Pay in the Backlands, which is just a great way to express what goes through the book.

#30 – Gilberto Gil & Caetano Veloso – Três Caravelas (1968)

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

Original lyrics:

Un navegante atrevido
Salió de Palos un día
Iba con tres carabelas
La Pinta, la Niña y la Santa María

Hacia la tierra cubana
Con toda sua valentía
Fue con las tres carabelas
La Pinta, la Niña y la Santa María

Muita coisa sucedeu
Daquele tempo pra cá
O Brasil aconteceu
É o maior
Que que há?!

Um navegante atrevido
Saiu de Palos um dia
Vinha com três caravelas
A Pinta, a Nina e a Santa Maria

Em terras americanas
Saltou feliz certo dia
Vinha com três caravelas
A Pinta, a Nina e a Santa Maria

Mira, tu, que cosas pasan
Que algunos años después
En esta tierra cubana
Yo encontré a mí querer

Viva el señor don Cristóbal
Que viva la patria mía
Vivan las tres carabelas
La Pinta, la Niña y la Santa María

Viva Cristóvão Colombo
Que para nossa alegria
Veio com três caravelas
A Pinta, a Nina e a Santa Maria
(La Pinta, la Niña y la Santa María)

Translated lyrics:

A bold sailor went out one day
He sailed three caravels
Each one called Pinta, Niña and Santa Maria

Towards the cuban sea
With all braveness he sailed
The three caravels
La Pinta, la Ninã y la Santa Maria

Many things happened since that time
Brasil has happened
It’s the biggest there is?!

A bold sailor went out of Palos one day
He sailed three caravels
Each one called Pinta, Niña and Santa Maria

On american lands
He landed happily one day
He came with three caravels
La Pinta, la Ninã y la Santa Maria

Look, thou, what is happening
Some years later on this cuban soil
I found who wanted me

Long live el señor dom Cristóvão
Long live my country
Long live the three caravels
La Pinta, la Ninã y la Santa Maria

Long live Cristóvão Colombo
That for our joy came
With the three caravels
Pinta, Niña and Santa Maria

This song is a cover of a cover.

Actually, it is a song written in 1956 by Catalunian composer and arranger Augusto Algueró. Below, you can find a Spanish version of the song in what’s probably the rhythm it was intended to be performed.

The song soon received a Portuguese version by the great marchinhas composer João de Barros (a guy which next week we’ll get the chance to know more about). I’ve found this rendition of it performed by the radio-era star Emilinha Barbosa:

In Caetano and Gil’s voices, however, the song gets a very explicit ironic content, as they sing that Brazil is the biggest thing there is. When they sing, this mimics the military rhetorics about Brazil.

As the song makes it explicit, it is about Columbus, called in Brazil Cristóvão Colombo. The subject of discovery, however, is crucial to Brazilian identity, especially when it comes to think of its relation to Brazilian indigenous peoples. It is still a common topic to think of the Portuguese arrival as a discovery and not as a conquest, as the Spanish-speaking countries later developed the notion. It is still believed that Brazil was discovered by accident!

Anyway, in the nineteenth century the Brazilian Empire exploited the subject for political reason. It sponsored nationalistic art, especially conceding scholarships to Brazilian painters and intellectuals. One of the works of art that come of it is the very famous painting by Victor Meirelles (1832-1903) called A Primeira Missa no Brasil (The first mass in Brazil). The painting is still reproduced in school textbooks in Brazil. It is a noteworthy painting not only because of its political connotations, creating a visual representation to Brazil’s founding moment, but also because of its dimensions (268 cm x 356 cm) and its technical expertise.

Meirelles-primeiramissa2

The painting was revisited many times in Brazilian art, one of the most famous was by Brazilian high-modernist hero Cândido Portinari (1903-1962) in the 40s.

portinari

In the late eighties and early nineties, the painter Glauco Rodrigues made a series of reinterpretations of the painting in a Tropicalist tone. Just to remind that Tropicália wasn’t only about music:

glauco 01

glauco 02

#28 – Tom Zé – Parque Industrial

from Tropicália, or Panis et Circenses (Philips, 1968)

Original lyrics:

É somente requentar
E usar,
É somente requentar
E usar,
Porque é made, made, made, made in Brazil.
Porque é made, made, made, made in Brazil.

Retocai o céu de anil
Bandeirolas no cordão
Grande festa em toda a nação.
Despertai com orações
O avanço industrial
Vem trazer nossa redenção.

Tem garota-propaganda
Aeromoça e ternura no cartaz,
Basta olhar na parede,
Minha alegria
Num instante se refaz

Pois temos o sorriso engarrafadão
Já vem pronto e tabelado
É somente requentar
E usar,
É somente requentar
E usar,
Porque é made, made, made, made in Brazil.
Porque é made, made, made, made in Brazil.

Retocai o céu de anil, … … … etc.

A revista moralista
Traz uma lista dos pecados da vedete
E tem jornal popular que
Nunca se espreme
Porque pode derramar.

É um banco de sangue encadernado
Já vem pronto e tabelado,
É somente folhear e usar,
É somente folhear e usar.

Translated ones:

You just have to cook it over again
You just have to use, to cook it
Because it is made, made, made, made in Brazil
Because it is made, made, made, made in Brazil

Retouch the indigo, pennants on the wire
A big celebration throughout the country
Wake through prayers
The industrial progress
Will redeem our nation

Models, air comissioners, tenderness for sale
Just look at the wall
My whole happines in an instant just being remade

Because we have the bottled smile
It comes ready to use and with a price tag on it
You just have to cook it over again
You just have to use, to cook it
Because it is made, made, made, made in Brazil
Because it is made, made, made, made in Brazil

The conservative review
Brings a list of the show girls sins
And there’s tabloids
Which you can never squeeze
Because it can spill

It’s a bounded blood bank
It’s ready to use and it already has a price tag on it
You just have to flick through nd use it
Just have to flick through and use it

This is one of the standout tracks from the album and one I have so much thing to say about I don’t even know where to start. It was also re-recorded for Tom Zé’s debut album, Grande Liquidação, released the same year. As an historian, this song offers me once again a chance to talk at lenghts about Brazil’s modernization process, which is what this song most remind me of.

Up until the 50s, Brazilian industry was small and mass culture was virtually non-existent in Brazil, with the exception of some big movie or radio stars. Starting in this decade, especially with Juscelino Kubitschek’s administration (1955-1960), Brazilian industry got a big boost and Brazilian culture started to “surrender” more explicitely to North American culture. It was the years of rock and roll, the beginning of a car culture in Brazil and the great modernist project that was Brasília. It was also a decade in which the Brazilian government got really indebted to foreign investment agencies in order to keep the industry going. Needless to say, all this was made with small-to-none investment in infra-structure, so Kubitschek’s slogan that the country would fast-forward 50 years in 5 actually meant that it’s future would became shadowy and uncertain.

One of the banners of Brazil’s industrialization process was the concept of “substitution of imports”, through which what Brazil bought already made would be fabricated in Brazil, so it wouldn’t need to import the manufactured goods. I think that’s what Tom Zé is thinking when he speaks of “made in Brazil”.

In the sixties, the penetration of North American culture continued, as Tropicália shows it. One of its foremost symbols was Coca-Cola and the ready-to-use thing that you could buy at markets and supermarkets. I think the song also satirizes middle class dependency on buying things to distinguish itself from the others.

There’s a well-known poem by Décio Pignatari which jokes about all this. It’s part of the concretist movement in Brazilian culture, which I’ll talk more about when we come to “Bat-Macumba” in this album. The poem is as follows:

beba

The poet changes the words “beba coca cola “(drink Coke) to “cloaca”, which means asshole (as the animals have it) or sewage. Coke = Garbage, in other words.

That was only one reaction to all this, as Tropicália was another. That’s how Brazil got modern.

Another note: when Tom Zé says that the sky is “anil”, he references one of the slogans propagated by the dictatorship, the one in which the Brazilian heart is “verde, amarelo, branco, azul-anil”. It appeared on a Jovem Guarda propaganda track recorded by Os Incríveis titled “Eu te amo, Meu Brasil”, or “I love you, this Brazil of mine”. You can check this disgusting piece here.

In order to finish, I think the companion piece to this song is Luís Sérgio Person’s São Paulo S/A, one of the landmarks of the Cinema Novo movement, in which it shows the effects of modern society over the life of one man, Carlos. I guess that’s how paulistanos still live their lives.

#27 – Nara Leão – Lindonéia

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

Original lyrics:

Na frente do espelho
Sem que ninguém a visse
Miss
Linda, feia
Lindonéia desaparecida

Despedaçados, atropelados
Cachorros mortos nas ruas
Policiais vigiando
O sol batendo nas frutas
Sangrando
Ai, meu amor
A solidão vai me matar de dor

Lindonéia, cor parda
Fruta na feira
Lindonéia solteira
Lindonéia, domingo, segunda-feira
Lindonéia desaparecida
Na igreja, no andor
Lindonéia desaparecida
Na preguiça, no progresso
Lindonéia desaparecida
Nas paradas de sucesso
Ai, meu amor
A solidão vai me matar de dor

No avesso do espelho
Mas desaparecida
Ela aparece na fotografia
Do outro lado da vida

Translated lyrics:

At the mirror, no one watching her
Miss, beautiful, ugly,
Lindonéia, forgotten

Shattered, run down,
Dead dogs on the streets
Cops watching everything
The sun touching the fruits
Bleeding
Oh my love
Solitude is going to kill me

Lindonéia, brown skin
A fruit for sell at the market
Lindonéia, single
Lindonéia, sunday, monday
Lindonéia, forgotten
At the church, at the shades,
Lindonéia, forgotten
Lazy or in a hurry
Lindonéia, forgotten
At the music charts
Oh my love
Solitude is going to kill me

Through the looking glass
She appears in a photo
But she’s forgotten
At the other side of life

Nara Leão’s only cut for this 1968 album, it is kinda surprising to see her in this context. Although she was through much of the 60’s known as new music’s “pretty face”, by the second half of the decade she already made her famous show with Zé Kéti called “Opinião”. It was a bold move, but Zé Keti’s music — samba de raiz, or roots samba, in a rough translation — and the whole setting of the Opinão concert, being performed in 1967 at the just outlawed CPCs, made her seem to pledge allegiance to another kind of cultural vanguard in 60s Brazil. That she was able to perform also with the Tropicalists is a sign of the willingness and versatility.

I don’t have much to say about the track, though. But it reminded me of Clarice Lispector’s last book, “A hora da estrela”. In it, we follow the misadventures of a semi-analphabet datylographer called Macabéa as her life is narrated (or invented?) by a writer called Rodrigo S.M., Lispector’s alter-ego, so to speak, in this books. That I can record, Macabéa’s big dream was to become a star in a one of the TV Globo’s soap operas (novelas, as we name it), but she dies run down by a car in the street, interrupting the traffic. That was the only moment when someone completely banal and invisible — Macabéa — became a protagonist, although for just a moment, in other people’s lives. That’s why it’s “A hora da estrela”, or “The Hour of the Star”.

So, for me, this song, just like the book, is a little tribute to some of those unremarkable people that populate Brazil and the rest of the world.

To the translations, I made a number of small modifications. First thing to notice, however, is that the character’s name, Lindonéia, is an ugly name, as in what one may call “poor people’s names”. Linda is, of course, beautiful, when you translate it, but the suffix –néia always sounds bad in Portuguese.

As for the modifications: in the chorus, Lindonéia is “desaparecida”, which would translate as “missing”, but I thought “forgotten” expresses better the meaning of the song. Later, when it says “Na preguiça, no progresso”, I translated as I did because “progresso” probably means the fact that she is working, and not the overall progress of society or something like that. Finally, in the last verses I changed the order and also added a little Lewis Carrol touch to the translations, rendering “No avesso do espelho” (“At the other side of the mirror”) as “Through the looking glass”, because that’s how the book is translated: “Alice através do espelho”.

Sorry for the delay and the whole time this blog went without activity. I had to make an unexpected travel (I went to beach, so that was good) but I also have one member of my family in disease so it’s very time consuming just to be around it. Hope I can finish soon this album. See ya!

#25 – Os Mutantes – A minha menina

from Os Mutantes (Polydor, 1968)

Original lyrics:

Ela é minha menina
E eu sou o menino dela
Ela é o meu amor
E eu sou o amor todinho dela

A lua prateada se escondeu
E o sol dourado apareceu
Amanheceu um lindo dia
Cheirando a alegria

Pois eu sonhei
E acordei pensando nela

Pois ela é minha menina
E eu sou o menino dela
Ela é o meu amor
E eu sou o amor todinho dela

A roseira já deu rosas
E a rosa que eu ganhei foi ela
Por ela eu ponho o meu coração
Na frente da razão

E vou dizer pra todo mundo
Como gosto dela

Pois ela é minha menina
E eu sou o menino dela
Ela é o meu amor
E eu sou o amor todinho dela

A lua prateada se escondeu
E o sol dourado apareceu
Amanheceu um lindo dia
Cheirando alegria

Pois eu sonhei
E acordei pensando nela

Pois ela é minha menina
E eu sou o menino dela
Ela é o meu amor
E eu sou o amor todinho dela

Minha menina
Minha menina

Translated lyrics:

She’s my girl
I’m her boy
She’s my love
I’m her little cutie love

The silvery moon is hidden away
Now the sun is shining bright
It’s such a beautiful morning
It smells like joy

Because I have dreamed
And I woke thinking of her

Because she’s my girl
I’m her boy
She’s my love
I’m her little cutie love

The roses are now blooming
And she’s the rose I got
For her I put reason
Second to my heart

And I’ll tell everybody
How much I like her

Because she’s my girl
I’m her boy
She’s my love
I’m her little cutie love

The silvery moon hided away
Now the sun is shining bright
It’s such a beautiful morning
It smells like joy

As you probably have already notice, I love digressions and going astray from my (self-)established course. So today and tomorrow I’ll post two songs that are not on the Tropicália album. Today’s lyrics are here because of a conversation I had with a friend on a comment board somewhere, so I made a flash translation of this Mutantes track. I’m sure his translation of it was a whole lot better, because I can’t keep rhymes and syllable counting as he did, but as I guess most of the reader of this blog are interested in the meaning of the songs, so the meaning is what you get.

This is the second track from Mutantes’ debut album. The song is mocking the innocence, cheerfulness and love struck Jovem Guarda lyrics. Tomorrow I’ll post a translation of a Jovem Guarda song that I mixed up with this one for some reason when I thought about this Mutantes track. 

One cool thing to notice is that early rock and roll in Brazil was dubbed “ié ié ié” music, or, yeah yeah yeah, as all the songs had a passage in which this was said. Other feature was the doo doo da that often accompanied the main singers. Those were such common references that the Beatles’ A hard day’s night was released in its Brazilian version as Os reis do iê iê ié, as it was also the name of the movie when it was released around here.

os reis

#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…

#23 – Caetano Veloso – Coração Materno

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

Original lyrics:

Disse o campônio a sua amada
Minha idolatrada diga o que qués?
Por ti vou matar, vou roubar
Embora tristezas me causes mulher
Provar quero eu que te quero
Venero teus olhos teu porte, teu ser
Mas diga tua ordem espero
Por ti não importa matar ou morrer
E ela disse ao compônio a brincar
Se é verdade tua louca paixão
Partes já e pra mim vá buscar
De tua mãe inteiro o coração
E a correr o campônio partiu
Como um raio na estrada sumiu
E sua amada qual louca ficou
A chorar na estrada tombou
Chega à choupana o campônio
Encontra a mãezinha ajoelhada a rezar
Rasga-lhe o peito o demônio
Tombando a velhinha aos pés do altar
Tira do peito sagrando da velha mãezinha
O pobre coração e volta a correr proclamando
Vitória, vitória tem minha paixão
Mais em meio da estrada caiu
E na queda uma perna partiu
E a distância saltou-lhe da mão
Sobre a terra o pobre coração
Nesse instante uma voz ecoou
Magoou-se pobre filho meu
Vem buscar-me filho, aqui estou
Vem buscar-me que ainda sou teu!

Translated lyrics:

Said the peasant to his wife
My worshipped one, tell me what you want
For you I’d kill, I’d steal
Even if you make me miserable
I want to show you how much I want you
I praise your eyes, your ways, your way
Only give me an order, I’ll wait
For you it doesn’t matter if I kill or if I die

And then she said playing with the peasant
If your crazy passion for me is real
Leave me now and bring to me
Your mother’s very heart

So the peasant went away
Like a lightning he stroke the road
But his loved one went mad
She fell by the side of the road crying

The peasant returned home
He found his mother praying on her knees
Then he tears her chest
The old woman falls by the altar
He rips her mother’s bleeding heart
And quicky goes back screaming
I did it, I did it, my love

But then on the middle of tthe road he fell,
And at the landing he broke his leg,
And his poor mother’s heart flew away

At this moment a voice roared
My poor son is sad
Come rescue me, son
Come rescue me that I’m still yours

The first Caetano Veloso cut on the album and once again the subject is country life, although in a very dramatic way. I don’t know if this is correct, but maybe you can find some differences between the approaches the guys up North (from Bahia, I’m saying) have and that of the Southeast city guys, like Os Mutantes. Maybe there’s no connection, as Gil, Caetano or any other baiano that became famous that time were peasants themselves, they were very middle class, urban and educated individuals with a strong poetic and artistic inclination. Anyway, it’s cool to see how “country”-themed songs can be written without the songwriter falling into the “rock rural”-The Band thing neither just making a rural psychedelia.

This song prompted me to write about something and I’m already sorry for it, but as I’m a historian, I find it very interesting.

The 60s, as you may know, was a very turbulent decade in modern Brazil history. Its first president, Jânio Quadros, renounced for almost unknown reasons, and he was succeeded by his vice-president, João “Jango” Goulart, which was a much more reformist-inclined president then the former one. Jango was the political godson of Brazilian political legend Leonel Brizola, which exploited (for very good reasons) the political legend of Getúlio Vargas, the main political figure of the first half of the twentieth-century in Brazil. Vargas was nicknamed “father of the poor” and he was very popular because he improved the worker’s conditions (actually, he was the first Brazilian president who gave a thought about it). In the sixties, this conjuncture led to a polarization between the politicians who based themselves on the demands of the workers, and which come close, through Jango’s attempt to establish the reformas de base (structural reforms, like distribution of lands to the peasants), to socialism and communism (at least in the eyes of the opposition), and those politicians who were very conservative and who exploited the fears of the middle class. Needless to say, the almost-socialist guys were also educated urban middle class, just like much of what’s happening in the Arab world right now.

What this all leads us is that until 1964, the date of the Brazilian military coup, the Communist Party enjoyed a huge prestige and it had established the CPC’s (Centro Popular de Cultura, or, Popular Culture Center), which were gatherings that tried to teach workers and mostly peasants about their social condition and how they could improve it and resist it. They were very centered and one must say much of the CPC initiatives assumed a very magisterial tone, but nonetheless they looked upon this often forgotten part of Brazilian population. They also tried to use tradition forms of peasant culture, like autos (one-act theatrical plays) and cordel (the traditional story writing of Northeastern sertão).

What Tropicália tried to achieve was to break away from this magisterial tone and its search of a purity of the so-called popular culture and to assume that Brazil was a modernizing country, with lots of different influences, most of them regarded as bad by the CPC’s (like television and American music) . As I’ve said before, there could only be revolutionary art through a revolutionary form.

This conflict, actually, updates another one from the early Brazilian modernist movement, the one between the anthropophagical appropriation and the search for an authentic Brazilian culture. Funny thing is, the former went to the Communist Party in the 40s, and the latter associated themselves with the right-wing authoritarian movement that appeared the same time. Just to see how things change.

Anyway, it’s this conflict which is behind famous Caetano Veloso’s ranting about it’s forbidden to forbid, as the festivals usually until then favored the guitar-playing guys singing protest or “popular” songs, and not the Tropicália avant-garde.

End of history lesson. Just to relax, now, I must say that that line about the guy ripping his mother’s heart reminded me of the second movie of the Indiana Jones series, and so I’ll finish this post with it!