#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

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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.

Anúncios

#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…