“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.

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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.
This entry was posted in Acyr Pimentel, Cardoso, Carvalhinho, Império Serrano, Júlio Monteiro, Joel de Almeida, Roberto Ribeiro and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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