#11 – Erasmo Carlos – Mané João

from Cachaça Mecânica (Polydor, 1976)

Original lyrics:

Lá na gafieira
De Mané João
Toda brincadeira
Acabou no chão
Tinha inimigo no meio do salão
Zé da Capoeira fazendo exibição

Tinha cabelo grande mas não tinha molho
Mané ficou de olho
Escondeu Margarida na cortina
E gritou ninguém transa com a menina
E só terminou a brincadeira
Com o sangue escorrendo na ladeira
E era muito sangue pra pouca ladeira
Lá na gafieira

Translated ones:

There in Mané João’s samba
All the fun went over
There were opponents on the floor
And Zé da Capoeira showing his skills

There was long hair but there wasn’t sauce
Mané kept an eye open
Daisy was hidden behind a curtain
And Mané shouted “nobody fucks the girl”
And the fun was over only when
Blood started falling the ladder
And it was a lot of blood for too few of ladder
There in the samba

I confess I didn’t know this one, but I liked it. I was never that much into Erasmo Carlos, although I have a knowledge of his musical partner Roberto Carlos through my family. The lyrics to this one are very heavy and from what I found it is an Erasmo Carlos’ original. I have found two earlier versions, the first one recorded by Wanderléa – the then Jovem Guarda’s ex-muse, so to say – and the other one by Téo Azevedo on a funky groovy version, both from 1972-1974 timespan:

Regarding the translation, perhaps you know the word “gafieira”. It means a small samba dance party, usually between people that know each other. I don’t know if the word is still in use in Rio de Janeiro (I guess not), but it somehow brings to mind old Rio and the world of malandros and meganhas. Mané is a semi-derogative way of relating to someone, usually it means the person in question is not someone you can trust, “he’s a mané”, he’s usually on shady business etc. But Mané was also the “title” associated with Garrincha, Mané Garrincha.

By the way, Brazil has recently lost Nilton Santos, Garrincha’s partner on that classic Botafogo squad from the 60s and one of the best football players in history, called Enciclopédia do Futebol (Football Encyclopedia) for what he could do with the ball, virtually everything. So I post a pic of him as a small tribute to this witness of a time when soccer really meant something: