#8 – Tom Zé – Correio da Estação do Brás

(the songs starts at 6:18 in the video above)

from Correio da Estação do Brás (Continental, 1978)

Original lyrics:

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana
quem quiser mandar recado
remeter pacote
uma carta cativante
a rua numerada
o nome maiusculoso
pra evitar engano
ou então que o destino
se destrave longe.
Meticuloso, meu prazer
não tem medida,
chegue aqui na quinta-feira
antes da partida.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

Me dê seu nome pra no
caso de o destinatário
ter morrido ou se mudado
eu não ficar avexado
e possa trazer de volta
o que lá fica sem dono.
nem chegando nem voltando
ficando sem ter pousada
como uma alma penada.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

De forma que não achando
o seu prezado parente
eu volto em cima do rastro
na semana reticente
devolvo seu envelope
intacto, certo e fechado.
odeio disse-me-disse
condeno a bisbilhotice.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

Se se der o sucedido
me aguarde aqui no piso
pois voltando com a resposta,
notícia, carta ou pacote
— ou até lhe devolvendo
o desencontro choroso
da missão desincumprida
estarei aqui na certa
sete domingos seguidos
a partir do mês em frente.
Palavra de homem racha
mas não volta diferente.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

Um carta cativante
O nome maiusculoso
pra evitar engano
O seu presado parente
na semana reticente
Notícia, carta ou pacote
— ou até lhe devolvendo
o desencontro choroso
da missão desincumprida
estarei aqui na certa
sete domingos seguidos
a partir do mês em frente.
Palavra de homem racha
mas não volta diferente.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (varias vezes)

The translation:

I travel Thursday
Feira de Santana
Whoever wants to leave a message
Send a package
A cheering letter
[State] the address number
The name in capital letters
To avoid confusion
Or then leave destiny
Do its way
Meticulous,
My pleasure is unbounded,
Arrive here on thursday
Before I leave

Give me your name in case
The addressee is dead
Or have left
I don’t get embarrassed
And I can bring back
This thing which has no owner
Neither leaving nor coming
Without a place to stay
Like an unreaped soul

So that if I don’t find
Your beloved relative
I come back his trail
In this diffident week
I give back your envelope
Intact, sure and closed
I hate rumour
I abhorr snooping

If that happens,
Wait for me here,
Because if I come back with the answer,
News, Letter or parcel
– or even if I return it to you
The lacrimous misencounter
of the unaccomplished mission
I’ll be here certainly
Seven sundays in a row
Beginning the next month
A man’s word can break
But it doesn’t becomes another.

One captivating letter
The name in capitals
To avoid mistakes
Your beloved relative
In this diffident week
News, letter or parcel
– or even If i return it to you
the weeping misencounter
of the unaccomplished mission
I’ll be here certainly
Seven Sundays in a row
Beginning the next month
A man’s word can break
But it doesn’t becomes another.

Sorry, my internet just didn’t worked yesterday after I’ve posted the other lyrics. So TODAY is the two lyrics day.

I must say sometimes I don’t quite get the criteria behind Souljazz selections for the Brazil 70 compilation. Why not selecting a cut from Estudando o Samba, Tom Zé’s classical work from this period and the one who got the attention of David Byrne leading to his rediscovery? Or any other album before it? This 1978 is one of the most “normal” sounding from Tom Zé, much like those two 1974 LP’s by Captain Beefheart which he later dismissed. This song, though, I have to say, is great.

The whole album is related to it in its lyrics. Brás is a neighborhood in São Paulo, one of the most traditional ones. Nowadays, it is inhabited mostly by Nordestinos (like Tom Zé) and it is most famous for its clothing factories and stores. The song relates to those who went South to São Paulo looking for work and their relatives, who stayed in Northeastern Brazil (as Feira de Santana is a town in Bahia). The next song, “Carta”, letter, embodies the same feeling of saudade between the ones who went and those who stayed and that is lost in between.

There are two cool things to look down in the translation. The first two verses have a great rhyme established between “I travel Thurday/Feira de Santana”. Thursday, in Portuguese, is Quinta-Feira. The day’s names in Portuguese have lost their original words relating to the pagan gods (just like Spanish still have) and received instead an ordinal numbered sequence related to something religious which an overzealous Portuguese monarch once felt was right. Anyway, the week starts on Sunday (Domingo), goes through Monday (which is, I dare you guess, segunda-feira and not primeira-feira) and so on. To travel Thursday it means the narrator will spend the weekend with his relatives in Northeastern Brazil, a thing he does not do often neither the person who he’s speaking with. The rhyme goes on the end of the first verse and the middle of the second, just like this:

Eu viajo quinta-FEIRA/FEIRA de Santana

I just love this.

The second cool thing to look down is that I’ve translated alma penada as “unreaped soul”. In Portuguese folklore, a soul which is still haunting the living ones is called alma penada, because it was condemned – for any number of reasons – to stay down here and not going to heaven or anywhere else. I’ve translated it as unreaped as to indicate that the soul has not been met by the Grim Reaper, which has a duty to take it to the other side. To be like an alma penada means to hang around without knowing what to do, waiting for something which may never come.

I hope I haven’t depressed you all after uncovering the song’s meaning!

Anúncios

#6 – Jaimie Alem & Nair de Cândia – Passará

from Amanheceremos (independent release, 1978)

The Portuguese lyrics:

Passará
passará quem passará
dessa piora para melhorar

Passará
quem tiver os braços
quem tiver as pernas
vai querer passar

Passará
quem não for sozinho
quem somar caminho
para melhorar

Quem folgar
passará em falso
um passo à frente
dois para retardar

Do outro lado
se avistam flores e colmeias
como resultado do trabalho

Desse lado
gritos e lamentos
o mato queimando
sem poder plantar

Passará…

My translation:

Jaimie Alem – Passará

They shall pass
Those who’ll pass
From the worst to what’s better

They shall pass
Those who got arms [for work]
Those who have legs [for walking]

They shall pass
Those who’ll not be alone
And those who gather
Along the way to improve

Who rests
Will mistep
One step ahead
Two steps back

On the other side
You can see flowers and beehives
As a profit from labour

On this side
Screams and lamentations
The bush’s burning
without allowing to plant

They shall pass…

I confess I didn’t know this one but I liked it a lot. It has a sertanejo-gospel-cum-tropicalia feel, not unlike many of Brazil’s rock rural recordings, but with a religious tone that is a little unusual. This is from the last album recorded from this couple (the Soul Jazz tracklist only mentions Jaimie Alem) and I really don’t know anything more about them. Later I’ll listen more of it and try to translate the rest of the lyrics, but if you want a preview of the album, check it out here:

To the translation: as I’ve mentioned, it has a religious overtone through it. It appears also on the first track of the recording, which works around the biblical passage of “give to Caesar what’s from Caesar and to God what’s to God”. This is different from the typical mystical post-psychedelic Brazilian thing in it’s a very biblical. Keeping that in mind, I’ve translated “Passará” as “They shall pass”, to keep it sounding like something from this provenance. The thing is, “Passará” is in the third person of the singular but to avoid placing the lyrics as something masculine or feminine (he/she) or impersonal (it), I’ve translated everything into plural, so I guess it makes the whole thing more coherent. At least it’s how it seems to me.

If the lyrics were already in the plural, it would have said “Passarão”, but as Mario de Quintana said, “Eles passarão, eu passarinho”. And I’ll surely not try to translate it to you…

Bye!