O Quereres

Lyrics from “O Quereres” by Caetano Veloso

Album:  Velô (1984)

Where you want a revolver, I’m a coconut tree

And where you want money, I’m passion

Where you want rest, I’m desire

And where I’m desire, you don’t want it

And where you want nothing, nothing lacks

And where you fly really high, I’m the ground

And where you step on the ground, my soul jumps

And gets liberty in the vastness

Where you want family, I’m a crazy guy

And where you want a romantic, I’m bourgeois

Where you want Leblon, I’m Pernambuco

And where you want a eunuch, I’m a stud

Where you want yes or no, maybe

And where you see, I don’t glimpse reason

Where you want the wolf, I’m the brother

And where you want a cowboy, I’m the Chinese

Ah, brutal flower of desire

Ah, brutal flower, brutal flower

Where you want the act, I’m the spirit

And where you want tenderness, I’m lustfull

Where you want free form, I’m decasyllable

And where you seek an angel, I’m a woman

Where you want pleasure, I’m what hurts

Where you want torture, meekness

Where you want a home, revolution

And where you want a bandit, I’m a hero

I would like to want to love you love

Build us a sweetest prison

Find just the right compatibility

All meter and rhyme and never pain

But life is real and it’s one of biases

And just look what an ambush love set up for me

I want you (and you don’t want) as I am

I don’t want you (and you don’t want) as you are

Ah, brutal flower of desire

Ah, brutal flower, brutal flower

Where you want a rally, an arcade game

And where you want romance, rock n roll

Where you want the moon, I’m the sun

And where pure nature, I’m insecticide

Where you want mystery, I’m the light

And where you want a little corner, I’m the entire world

Where you want Lent, February

And where you want a coconut tree, I’m a howitzer

Your wanting and your always being up to

What in me is in me so unequal

Makes me want you good, want you bad

Good – you, bad – your wanting way

Infinitely personal

And me wanting to want you without end

And, wanting you, to learn the total

Of the want that exists, and that doesn’t exist in me.


Caetano Veloso wrote this song in the structure of a cordel, or “string” folk song, but confesses the lyrics were influenced by Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” (Another Side of Bob Dylan). While the message is a bit different, Caetano says both songs essentially say “I’m not where you want me.”

Find more about Caetano Veloso in the post on “O Leãozinho.”

Post by Victoria Broadus (About)

As Rosas Não Falam

Lyrics from “As Rosas Não Falam” (The Roses Don’t Talk) by Cartola

Album:  Cartola II (1976)

My heart beats again with hope

Because the summer is coming to an end


I return to the garden

With the certainty that I should cry

Because I know well that you don’t want to come back to me

I wail to the roses

How silly, the roses don’t talk

The roses simply exude the perfume that they steal from you

You ought to come

To see my joyless eyes

And, who knows, you might dream my dreams

At last


— Interpretation —

Cartola and Zica in the home they built together in Mangueira, with a rose bush in the garden.

As the story goes, this song was inspired by an exchange between Cartola and his wife, Zica.  Zica planted a rosebush in the couple’s garden in Rio de Janeiro, and after some time passed, she looked out one morning to see the bush in full bloom. Thrilled, she asked Cartola how so many roses had bloomed, and he responded, “How should I know? The roses don’t talk.”

Cartola was inspired by his poetic response and wrote one of his greatest successes as a “birthday present” to himself, a few days before his sixty-seventh birthday.

Although he was a popular sambista since his youth, Cartola never achieved much commercial or financial success, and only recorded his first LP in 1974, at age sixty-five. He said he had been losing motivation – seeing everyone around him recording LPs – and couldn’t even believe he had finally recorded a disk until he held it in his hands.  Moved by the achievement, he eagerly went back to composing and came out with his second LP, with “As Rosas Não Falam,” in 1976.

The main source for this post was Cartola: Os Tempos Idos, by Marília Barboza da Silva and Arthur de Oliveira Filho.

Post by Victoria Broadus (About)

A Banda

Lyrics from “A Banda” (The Band) by Chico Buarque

Album: Chico Buarque de Hollanda (1966)

I was lazing about in life

My love called me

To see the band pass by

Singing songs of love

My long-suffering people

Bid farewell to pain

To see the band pass by

Singing songs of love

The serious man who was counting money stopped

The braggart* who was counting fortunes stopped

The girlfriend who was counting the stars stopped

To see, to hear, and to let through…

The sad girl who was always quiet smiled

The sad rose that was always closed opened up

And all the girls got all worked up

To see the  band go by

Singing songs of love

I was lazing about in life

My love called me

To see the band go by

Singing songs of love

My long-suffering people

Bid farewell to pain

To see the band pass by

Singing songs of love

The weak old man forgot about his weariness and thought

That he was still a boy, to go out on the terrace and dance

The ugly girl leaned out the window

Believing that the band was playing for her

The cheerful march spread out on the avenue, and pushed on

The full moon that was always hiding came out

My whole city got all done up

To see the band go by singing songs of love

But to my disenchantment

What was sweet, ended

Everything took its place

After the band passed by

And each one in his corner

In each corner, a pain

After the band passed by

Singing songs of love

After the band passed by

Singing songs of love…

— Interpretation —

This was Chico Buarque‘s first major hit, winning him a tie for first place in the MPB Festival II in 1966 (shown in the video above). A meta-song — or a song about a song– in Brazilian marcha form, A Banda is about music’s ability to bring people together, allowing them to forget their social and financial  concerns and afflictions for a fleeting moment of collective joy.

The song came out during a difficult time in Brazil: Two years earlier, the military had overthrown left-wing president João Goulart in a coup d’etat, seizing power over Brazil until 1985. (To see declassified documents about the United States’ involvement, look at the National Security Archive site at GWU.) By 1966, the military’s brutal and oppressive leadership tactics were becoming increasingly apparent throughout the country.

At the time, Buarque was a self-declared socialist. The song, though not an overt protest song, has clear egalitarian overtones; at the same time, it evokes a moment that transcends Cold War-era politics.  To see more about Chico Buarque, MPB and protest songs from the years of military rule in Brazil, look at the post on Valsinha

Post by Victoria Broadus (About)