#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.