#18 – Gal Costa – Pontos de Luz

from Índia (Continental, 1973)

Original lyrics:

Me sinto contente
Me sinto muito contente
Me sinto completamente contente
Ouso dizer
Completamente contente

Me arrisco a falar
Me sinto feliz
Me sinto muito feliz
Me sinto completamente feliz
Ouso dizer
Completamente feliz.

In English:

I feel happy
I feel extremely happy
I feel completely happy
I dare to say
Completely happy

I dare to say
I feel happy
I feel extremely happy
I feel completely happy
I dare to say
Completely happy

Making a post in a hurry and fortunately, this one was easy.

This is from a 1973 album by tropicália-era darling Gal Costa. I don’t have much to say about, only that the album cover was censored by the Brazilian dictatorship (for some obvious reasons) and that the song is a composition by Jards Macalé and outsider poet Wally Salomão. Salomão was one of the most famous members of the “Poesia marginal” movement in Brazil in the seventies and one could think of him as a literary counterpart to the tropicalist movement in music.

As the song is about being always happy, tomorrow I’ll post another way of thinking about happiness, departing once again from the Brazil 70 compilation.

As a bonus, check this version recorded by Jards Macalé:

#3 – Secos & Molhados – Amor

from Secos & Molhados (Continental, 1973)

Original Portuguese lyrics:

Leve, como leve pluma
Muito leve, leve pousa.
Muito leve, leve pousa.

Na simples e suave coisa
Suave coisa nenhuma
Suave coisa nenhuma.

Sombra, silêncio ou espuma.
Nuvem azul
Que arrefece.

Simples e suave coisa
Suave coisa nenhuma.
Que em mim amadurece

My translation of it:

Lightly, lightly as a bird feather when it lightly, very lightly touches the ground

[Landing] in the simple and gentle nothing

Shadow, silence or foam
Blue cloud that slows down

Simple and gentle nothing that grows in me

This is one of my favorite records and this song shows a little bit why. As you may know, Secos & Molhados self-titled first record (many Brazilian musicians simply didn’t titled their albums, so there’s, for instance, a Roberto Carlos ’63, ’64, ’65 and so on) contains a musical rendition of Vinicius de Moraes’ poem “Rosa de Hiroshima“, but they didn’t need any poet to make great lyrics. Only now I meditated upon it and this light feather touching a gentle nothing is a great way to illustrate love’s growing inside someone, almost as the way Roberto Carlos’ song before tried to convince the “girl” of what it means to be in love. Great stuff, not to mention the excellent musicianship throughout the record and the vocal abilities displayed by Ney Matogrosso, undoubtedly one of the greatest and most popular Brazilian singers of the second half of the last century (my grandma has all his records).

A little tip at the band’s name. If you try to translate the words secos and molhados, you’ll find out they mean respectively dry and wet. This may seem a little confusing, but actually secos e molhados is an old idiom meaning a little warehouse where you can find absolutely anything you need ranging from the dry things (the secos), for instance, to the wet ones (the molhados). Applied to the band, it means they’ll play anything and everything, which they certainly do.

In the next posts I’ll try to keep track of Brazil 70‘s tracklist order, the Soul Jazz compilation which gives name to this blog and which starts with this well known gem.

#1 – Ednardo – Ingazeiras

from Ednardo e o pessoal do Ceará (Continental, 1973)

Original version

Nasci pela Ingazeiras
Criado no ôco do mundo
Meus sonhos descendo ladeiras
Varando cancelas
Abrindo porteiras

Sem ter o espanto da morte
Nem do ronco do trovão
O sul, a sorte, a estrada me seduz

É ouro, é pó, é ouro em pó que reluz
É ouro em pó, é ouro em pó

É ouro em pó que reluz
O sul, a sorte, a estrada me seduz

English translation

I was born by the Ingazeiras
Raised in the world’s void
My dream descending ladders
Bursting troughout the doors
Opening the gates

Without fearing death
Neither the roar of thunder
I’m bound to the road, to south, to luck

It’s gold, it’s dust, it’s gold that shines in the dust
It’s gold dust, it’s gold dust

It’s gold dust that shines
South, luck, I’m bound to the road

This song has two or three tricky aspects to it in terms of translation. What it says, though? Ednardo, or José Ednardo Soares Costa Sousa was born in São Benedito, Ceará, in 1945. Ceará is part of Northeastern Brazil, just right along the curve that makes Brazilian coast matches with Africa. Northeastern Brazil was/is it’s poorest and most troubled region, especially on its countryside, called sertão. Famine and drought were experienced throughout most of the second half of the twentieth century as it still does. Because of that, a large number of “Nordestinos” went south in search of wealth and a better life, especially to Brazil’s largest towns (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro), not unlike the Great Migration of black people from the South to Northern United States a little bit earlier. Former president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva and forró legend Luiz Gonzaga (aka Gonzagão, “Papa Gonzaga”, so to speak, as his son was Gonzaguinha, “Baby Gonzaga”) are two examples of people who were southbound just like the protagonist of Ednardo’s song. So you didn’t think there was this much “social background” to the song when you heard it on that Brazilian psychedelia compilation, don’t you?

To the tricky aspects of the translation:

1. Ingazeiras referes, I guess, to the Ingá tree which is spread throughout Brazilian territory (and more). At first I thought the mention refered to the municipality of Ingazeiras, in Pernambuco, which would not change the overall meaning of the song, but anyway, Ednardo was born in Ceará and not in Pernambuco;

2. I’ve translated cancelas and porteiras as “doors” and “gates”.  This is not wrong, though they end up loosing most of its “local colour”. Both words are set up on a rural setting, and both cancela and porteira are a common feature of a farm. Northeastern Brazil has lots of farms, dedicated especially to the creation of cattle. So Ednardo’s not only going South as he’s moving from the countryside to the city.