Cotidiano no. 2

Lyrics from “Cotidiano no. 2” by Vinícius de Moraes and Toquinho (1972)

Good Audio Version (Vinícius de Moraes & Toquinho)

Hay dias que no sé lo que me pasa
I open my Neruda and shut out the sun
I mix poetry with cachaça
And I end up arguing over football
But it doesn’t matter, I’ve got my guitar (x2)
I wake up in the morning, bread and butter
And so much, so much blood in the paper
But then the whole troop of children comes by
And I even start to think Herod was normal
But it doesn’t matter, I’ve got my guitar
Later on, I play the lottery with the wife
Who knows, our day might come
And I laugh, because a rich man laughs for nothing
And after all it doesn’t hurt to dream
But it doesn’t matter, I’ve got my guitar
Saturdays at home, I get all boozed up
And dream up phenomenal solutions
But when sleep comes, and the night dies away
The day always tells the same stories
Sometimes I want to believe, but I’m unable,
It is all an utter folly
So I ask God: Listen my friend,
If it was meant to be undone, why did you make it at all?
But it doesn’t matter, I’ve got my guitar.

— Interpretation —

Toquinho and Vinícius de Moraes
Toquinho and Vinícius de Moraes

Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes composed this song together on a languid day in Itapuã, Salvador, Bahia. Toquinho was playing around on his guitar as Nilzete, his maid, served up juices and whiskey “with rhythmic gestures.” Nilzete swayed around in a t-shirt with “My love” printed in giant letters. Toquinho relates that he played the first melodic line of the song, singing “My Love na camisa de Nilzeeete” (My love on Nilzete’s t-shirt). He summoned Vinícius to complete the composition with him. Vinícius, suggesting a tribute to his fellow poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda, replaced Toquinho’s “My love na camisa de Nilzeeete” with “Hay dias que no sé lo que me pasa,” believing it was a line from a Neruda poem. That’s how the song, whose title means “Quotidian no. 2,” began; Vinícius went on to “develop other ideas — beautiful, fantastic and terrible — about the quotidian,” recounts Toquinho.

toquinho e vinicius 2One day in Paris, Toquinho and Vinicius sang “Cotidiano no. 2” for Pablo Neruda, and Vinícius proudly explained the homage. Neruda politely pointed out that the line was actually from a tango, not a poem of his, provoking a rare moment of embarrassment for Vinícius. Toquinho held back his laughter.

The partnership and friendship between Toquinho and Vinícius began in 1970. The year before, when he was in Italy with Chico Buarque, Toquinho played guitar for a few songs on a tribute album for Vinícius, and Vinícius liked what he heard. In early 1970, back in Brazil, Toquinho – just 23 at the time – woke up one early afternoon and his mother told him Vinícius de Moraes had called, and wanted him to call back. Vinícius asked Toquinho to tour with him. A few months later, the two were together on a boat to Argentina (Vinícius, like Tom Jobim, avoided flying). They became close friends and collaborators up until Vinicius’s death ten years later.

Vinicius de Moraes would be turning 100 today, October 19, 2013. He died in 1980 from health problems related to drinking.

King Herod, referred to in the song, is known for having mistreated and killed children. The lyrics in the video above are slightly different (by just a few words) from those in the original recording.

Lyrics in Portuguese

Hay días que no sé lo que me pasa
Eu abro o meu Neruda e apago o sol
Misturo poesia com cachaça
E acabo discutindo futebol

Mas não tem nada, não
Tenho o meu violão

Acordo de manhã, pão sem manteiga
E muito, muito sangue no jornal
Aí a criançada toda chega
E eu chego a achar Herodes natural

Mas não tem nada, não
Tenho o meu violão

Depois faço a loteca com a patroa
Quem sabe nosso dia vai chegar
E rio porque rico ri à toa
Também não custa nada imaginar

Mas não tem nada, não
Tenho o meu violão

Aos sábados em casa tomo um porre
E sonho soluções fenomenais
Mas quando o sono vem e a noite morre
O dia conta histórias sempre iguais

Mas não tem nada, não
Tenho o meu violão

Às vezes quero crer mas não consigo
É tudo uma total insensatez
Aí pergunto a Deus: escute, amigo
Se foi pra desfazer, por que é que fez?

Mas não tem nada, não
Tenho o meu violão

Main source for this post: História de Canções: Toquinho, by João Carlos Pecci and Wagner Homem

3 thoughts on “Cotidiano no. 2”

  1. I love what you are doing and am glad to find somebody who shares my passion for these types of translations! I too am a grad student studying Portuguese. I just applied to go to school in Sao Paulo! Muito Obrigado!

  2. Thank you so much ! I have always loved Vinicius de Moraes … and some how these words whose meaning I did not comprehend were alive in the very heart of the music. I know this now thanks to you. Obrigado!

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