Adeus, Mangueira

“Adeus, Mangueira” by Herivelto Martins and Grande Otelo (1958)

Juscelino summoned me – I’m going to die of saudade, but I’m going

Goodbye, Mangueira, goodbye my Vigário Geral
Goodbye, my samba, goodbye federal capital
I was born on the morro (ai ai ai), and I grew up on the morro (ai ai ai)
Excuse me, Sir, I’m going to take my people with me
Mangueira — first station — is a witness that I can’t live without dancing samba

— Interpretation —

brasilia nova capital
This iconic sign pointing to the site of the new capital reads “Brasilia: The New Capital of Brazil. Some against it, many in favor of it; everyone benefiting from it!”

In 1958, the same year bossa nova was emerging from musical encounters in seaside apartments in Copacabana, and “Chega de Saudade” was first released, Brazil was in the midst of a dramatic period of development. Two years earlier, in September 1956, Congress had approved President Juscelino Kubitschek’s plan to build a new capital city in the middle of the arid central highlands state of Goiás. The ambitious idea for a capital in the middle of the vast country had been floating around since the late 19th century, but Kubitschek adopted the initiative with passion, dedicated to the idea of thus uniting the nation. In response to congressional approval of the project, Kubitschek reportedly told a friend, “Today is the happiest day of my life. And you know why the project was approved? They don’t think I can make it happen.”

When Lucio Costa's pilot plan was chosen as the design for Brasilia, it was widely criticized for being a mere sketch, not a true plan. Based on the shape of a cross, it is often described as an "airplane," though Costa said he preferred it be considered a butterfly.
When Lucio Costa’s pilot plan was chosen as the design for Brasilia, it was widely criticized for being a mere sketch, not a true plan. Based on the shape of a cross, it is often described as an “airplane,” though Costa said he preferred it be considered a butterfly.

Kubitschek enlisted a few key men to help him prove Congress wrong.  As the Brazilian writer Otto Lauro Resende put it, Brasilia was the “conjunction of the loucuras (madness) of four men”: Kubitschek; Israel Pinheiro, the engineer who presided over the Companhia Urbanizadora da Nova Capital – the government body created in September 1956 to take care of all aspects of construction of the new capital; Oscar Niemeyer, the modernist architect responsible for much of the city; and the French-born planner and architect Lúcio Costa, whose “pilot plan” won the controversial contest in 1957 for the design  of the new capital.

Indeed, thanks to the feverish pace of these four leaders in particular, in just forty-three months Brazil had a new capital, inaugurated on April 21, 1960. The lofty modernist aspirations of Brasilia’s planners fell notoriously flat, of course: The city’s separation of areas for work, leisure, and residency ended up doing away with so many of the encounters and exchanges that make cities vibrant. Brasilia was soon criticized as a “heartless city,” a “city without street corners,” a “city of bureaucrats,” and a “fantasy island.” This was clearly not the most appealing place to be transferred to from Rio de Janeiro.

Construction workers in Brasilia, 1959.
Construction workers in Brasilia, 1959.

Herivelto Martins composed “Adeus, Mangueira” together with Grande Othelo for the 1958 chanchada film É de chuáThe samba reflects the sadness of a worker who was summoned to leave the still-federal capital, Rio de Janeiro, to go work for the government in the desolate new city. It surely captures the dismay many workers with deep roots in Rio must have felt in response to the capital being transferred to soulless Brasilia.

I’ve translated saudade in other posts, but in this post thought it was best to keep it in Portuguese; here it is essentially saying, “I’m going to die of homesickness/longing [for Rio].” As in other posts,  I’ve also left morro in Portuguese since the Portuguese word captures both “hillside” and “favela.” Mangueira is the morro so well known in the samba world — probably the most mentioned in all samba compositions — where Cartola, Carlinhos Cachaça and others founded one of the first samba schools, G.R.E.S. Estação Primeira de Mangueira. Here, as in the name of the school itself, “estação primeira” (first station) refers to the fact that Mangueira was the first station on the suburban train line out of Central Station. And Vigário Geral is another neighborhood in Rio’s north zone; it was probably included to rhyme with “capital federal.”

 

Lyrics in Portuguese

Adeus Mangueira
Adeus meu Vigario Geral
Adeus meu samba
Adeus capital federal

Foi no morro que eu nasci (ai ai ai)
e no morro me criei (ai ai ai)
Brasilia me chamou pra trabalhar
seu dotor dá licença
minha gente eu vou levar

Mangueira, estação primeira
é testemunha que eu não vivo sem sambar

“Estrela de Madureira” and “Madureira Chorou”

Lyrics from “Estrela de Madureira” by Acyr Pimentel and Cardoso; recorded by Roberto Ribeiro (1975)

Shining in a tremendous theater, in a tourbillion of light, of light
The vision appears of she who my samba expresses
The star goes on shining, a thousand sequins sprinkling the ground with poetry
The lead showgirl from the suburb on the Central line was the pioneer
And a luxury train departs to exalt her art
That enchanted Madureira
Even with the stage darkened, apotheosis is the infinite
The star keeps on shining in the sky

— Interpretation–

Zakia Jorge's Teatro Madureira
Zaquia Jorge’s Teatro de Revista Madureira came to be known as Teatro Zaquia Jorge; the theater was in business for a little over five years, and stopped functioning after her death in 1957.
Zaquia Jorge (1924 - 1957) came to be known as the star of Madureira.
Zaquia Jorge (1924 – 1957) came to be known as the star of Madureira.

Acyr Pimentel and Cardoso composed this samba in tribute to Zaquia Jorge (6 Jan. 1924 – 22 Apr. 1957), a wildly popular showgirl and movie star in Rio in the 1940s and 50s. By 1952, Zaquia had achieved enough success to open her own theater, and she chose to set up her stage in Rio’s poor periphery (called the suburbio in Portuguese but quite different from the images conjured by “suburbs”), in Madureira neighborhood. Zaquia opened her theater right in front of Madureira station on the suburban train line from Central Station.  Zaquia quickly became a beloved figure in Rio’s North Zone for her bold, racy repertory and her rich contribution to the arts in Rio’s periphery. The debut revue at her theater was Trem de Luxo  — luxury train, which “Estrela de Madureira” makes reference to.

Zaquia Jorge in the 1957 movie A Baronesa Transviada:

Zaquia Jorge's Teatro Madureira took her name before going out of business after her death in 1957. The theater was right in front of the Madureira station on the suburban rail from Central Station.
Zaquia Jorge’s Teatro Madureira took her name before going out of business after her death in 1957. The theater was right in front of the Madureira station on the suburban rail from Central Station.

On April 22nd, 1957, Zaquia drowned while reportedly skinny dipping with other showgirls at Barra da Tijuca, which was still a deserted beach in those days.  For Carnival the following year, Carvalhinho and Júlio Monteiro composed and Joel de Almeida recorded “Madureira Chorou,” a tribute to Zaquia. “Madureira Chorou” was the most popular Carnival samba of 1958, and one of the few Carnival songs from the 50s that became a classic (and even earned a recording in French,”Si tu vas à Rio“):

Lyrics from “Madureira Chorou” by Carvalhinho and Júlio Monteiro (1958)

Madureira cried
Madureira cried in pain
When the voice of destiny, obeying the Holy Spirit
Called her [Madureira’s] star
Humble people, good people from the suburb
Who only cause problems if someone scorns them
These people who live in the North Zone
To this day cry over the death of their star
(Only I can’t cry)

The Império Serrano Samba School quadra in Madureira, Rio de Janeiro.
The Império Serrano Samba School quadra in Madureira, Rio de Janeiro.

In 1975, Império Serrano — one of Rio’s most traditional samba schools, from Madureira — chose Zaquia Jorge as the theme for their Carnival parade. But in the school’s internal contest to choose the samba it would parade to, composer Avarese‘s samba-enredo Zaquia Jorge, Vedete do Suburbio, Estrela de Madureira won out over “Estrela de Madureira.”  Fortunately, the beloved imperiano sambista Roberto Ribeiro recorded “Estrela de Madureira” that same year; while “Zaquia Jorge, Vedete do Suburbio, Estrela de Madureira” has been largely forgotten, “Estrela de Madureira” quickly became a sensation and is still extraordinarily popular nearly forty years later.

Lyrics in Portuguese: Estrela de Madureira

Brilhando
Num imenso cenário
Num turbilhão de luz, de luz
Surge a imagem daquela
Que o meu samba traduz
Ah…
Estrela vai brilhando
Mil paetês salpicando
O chão de poesia
A vedete principal
Do subúrbio da central foi a pioneira

E…
Um trem de luxo parte
Para exaltar a sua arte
Que encantou Madureira
Mesmo com o palco apagado
Apoteóse é o infinito
Continua estrela
Brilhando no céu

Lyrics in Portuguese: Madureira Chorou

Madureira chorou
Madureira chorou de dor
Quando a voz do destino
Obedecendo ao Divino
A sua estrela chamou
Gente modesta
Gente boa do subúrbio
Que só comete distúrbio
Se alguém lhe menosprezar
Aquela gente
Que mora na Zona Norte
Até hoje chora a morte
Da estrela do lugar

Main source for this post not linked in text:  A Canção no Tempo, 85 anos de músicas brasileiras, vol. 2: 1958 – 1985, by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello.