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)

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About lyricalbrazil

My name is Victoria Broadus and in early 2012 I moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Brazil - first São Paulo, and now Rio de Janeiro. I began studying Portuguese while working toward a Master's degree in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University, and have since become fluent. I love Brazilian music and want to be able to share it with more people, so I'm working on translating songs to English and providing some contextual interpretation and stories about the songs and the musicians.
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