“Mangueira, Não” and “Silenciar a Mangueira, Não”

“Mangueira, Não” by Herivelto Martins and Grande Otelo (1943)

They destroyed Praça Onze
They demolished plazas and roads, I know
They can even do away with Estácio, grand old Estácio de Sá
Knock down all the morros, tear down my shack
But silence Mangueira, no!
Mangueira was a morro born dancing samba
And lived singing
Mangueira was born, Mangueira became…
Let me hear you, tamborim! Let me hear you, percussion!
Nobody will be able to say Mangueira passed away
Mangueira can’t die!

— Interpretation —

Cartola, pictured here on Morro da Mangueira, was   not happy with the message sent by "Mangueira, Não" and wrote a version of his own the following year.
Cartola, pictured here on Morro da Mangueira, was not happy with the message sent by “Mangueira, Não” and wrote a version of his own the following year.

Herivelto Martins and Grande Otelo were loyal fans of the samba school Mangueira, as this song from November 1943, makes clear.

Praça Onze was destroyed to make room for Avenida Presidente Vargas, which was inaugurated in September 1944.
Praça Onze was destroyed to make room for Avenida Presidente Vargas, which was inaugurated in September 1944.

In the song, they mention the destruction of Praça Onze, an act the pair had immortalized about a year earlier in one of Brazil’s most well-known sambas, “Praça Onze.” Praça Onze de Junho  hosted Rio’s first samba gatherings and samba school parades in the 1910s – 1930s; it was demolished to make way for Avenida Presidente Vargas in the beginning of the 1940s.

In this song, Grande Otelo and Herivelto Martins acknowledge that Praça Onze is gone — fine — and say for all they’re concerned Estácio, Rio’s first samba school, can go too; but not Mangueira. But as it turns out, the pair’s dismissive attitude toward other samba schools in “Mangueira, Não” was not a big hit. The next year, Estácio samba school held a party in honor of Mangueira, and for the occasion, Cartola, one Mangueira’s founders, composed a samba by almost the same name – “Silenciar a Mangueira, Não” – that stood up for other schools in the name of tradition and friendly competition, since “one swallow does not a summer make.” The original samba ended at “…old Estácio de Sá.” Monarco added the rest of the lyrics in his 1980 recording, one of just two recordings of the song.  (The other is from 2002.)  Pastoras (feminine of pastor, left in Portuguese in the translation below) are what the women singing the chorus in rodas de samba are often called.

Appropriately, the most famous recording of this song ended up being by Monarco, a celebrated samba composer from Portela samba school:

“Silenciar a Mangueira, Não” by Cartola (1944)

Silence Mangueira, no
Someone said one swallow alone does not make summer, either
We need to have adversaries, like Oswaldo Cruz
The proverb says it’s from dispute that light is born
A school that shouldn’t go anywhere
Is the old Estácio de Sá, old Estácio de Sá
In Mangueira, poetry lives in our heart
A poet put it this way
To see Mangueira is tradition
Mangueira has Cartola
In Estácio, Ismael
Portela had Paulo, who was our God in the sky
Silence Mangueira, no
If you go to Mangueira, where beauty seduces
Send a big hug, sent from Oswaldo Cruz
Don’t despair, pastora, listen to what my samba says
If you fight for Mangueira, one day you’ll be happy

 Lyrics in Portuguese

“Mangueira, Não”

Acabaram com a Praça Onze
Demoliram praças e ruas, eu sei
Podem até acabar com o Estácio
O velho Estácio de Sá
Derrubem todos os morros
Derrubem meu barracão
Silenciar a Mangueira, não!

Mangueira foi um morro
Que nasceu sambando
Mangueira foi um morro
Que viveu cantando

Mangueira nasceu…
Mangueira se fez…
Fala tamborim!
Fala bateria!

Ninguém há de dizer
Que Mangueira faleceu
Mangueira não morre!

“Silenciar a Mangueira, Não”

Silenciar a Mangueira, não
disse alguém
uma andorinha só
não faz verão também
devemos ter adversários
como Oswaldo Cruz
diz o provérbio
da discussão é que nasce a luz
uma escola que não devia acabar
era o velho Estácio de Sá
em Mangueira a poesia
mora em nosso coração
um poeta assim dizia
ver Mangueira é tradição
a Mangueira tem Cartola
no Estácio, Ismael
a Portela tinha o Paulo
que era o nosso deus no céu
se tu fores à Mangueira
onde a beleza seduz
leva um abraço apertado
lembrança de Oswaldo Cruz
não desanime, pastora
ouça o que o meu samba diz
se lutares pela Mangueira
um dia serás feliz

Main source for this post: Grande Otelo: uma biografia, by Sérgio Cabral and conversation with Jairo Severiano.

Samba em prelúdio

“Samba em prelúdio” by Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell (1962)

Without you, I have no purpose
Because without you, I don’t even know how to cry
I’m a flame without glow, a garden without moonlight
Moonlight without love, love without being given

Without you, I’m just lovelessness
A ship without sea, a field without flowers
Sadness that goes, sadness that comes
Without you my love, I’m no one

(woman’s part):
Ah, what saudade, what desire to see our life reborn
Come back, my dear
My arms need yours, your embraces need mine
I’m so alone, my eyes weary of staring into the distance
Come, behold life
Without you, my love, I’m no one

— Interpretation —

Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell, whose friendship and musical partnership Powell's widow Silvia likened to a "sexless marriage."
Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell (with guitar), whose friendship and musical partnership Powell’s widow Silvia likened to a “sexless marriage.”

One evening in 1962, Baden Powell went to Vinicius de Moraes‘s house with this song — which he described as “full of love” —  for Vinicius to write the lyrics. In this video, Baden recalls that he got to Vinicius’s at around 9 p.m., excited to show him the song, which he imagined being sung by a man and woman together. (The woman’s part is noted in the lyrics above.)  He played the song for Vinicius and then they began to throw back their usual whiskey. By the time they were on their third bottle at around 3 or 4 a.m., Baden grew worried that they still had no lyrics and were “nearly drunk.”

Vinicius and Baden met around 1958 at a boate in Copacabana, where Tom Jobim and Ary Barroso had a show together.
Vinicius, left, and Baden met around 1958 at a boate in Copacabana, where Tom Jobim and Ary Barroso had a show together.

Baden asked Vinicius what was wrong. Vinicius was evasive at first, telling Baden the issue was “disagreeable,” but that they should leave the song aside for the time being. Baden pushed him, and he exclaimed, “I think this is plagiary! It will be all over the newspapers, ‘Baden and Vinicius plagiarize.'”

Baden told Vinicius the song wasn’t plagiarized, but said “Ok, plagiary of whom, of what?” Vinicius responded, “This is clearly Chopin!”

Baden assured Vinicius the song wasn’t Chopin’s, but Vinicius told him he never made mistakes – and that perhaps Baden had had too much to drink. Vinicius said he’d get confirmation from Lucinha, his wife of the moment, who played piano and loved Chopin. In spite of Baden’s protests about waking Lucinha at that hour, with day nearly breaking, Vinicius summoned her to listen to Baden play the song. Lucinha confirmed to the tipsy duo that the song was beautiful, romantic, and by no means Chopin’s. Vinicius responded to Lucinha, “Even you are against me!” He turned to Baden and said, “In that case, Chopin forgot to compose this song.” He then turned to the typewriter and wrote the lyrics, all at once.

youngbadenWhile Vinicius was a poet and diplomat born into Rio’s high society zona sul, Baden Powell (August 6, 1937 – September 26, 2000) was born in rural Varre-Sai, Rio de Janeiro. When he was just three months old his family moved to the humble São Cristóvão neighborhood, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro; he said he therefore always considered himself carioca. Powell’s father – on top of being a scouting enthusiast, hence Baden’s name – was a leather craftsman and violin player, and often organized musical get-togethers at the family home, which Baden said influenced him profoundly from a very young age.

Baden quickly excelled as a virtuoso guitarist, demonstrating singular talent for playing a vast range of styles. At fifteen he began performing in little bars around Rio, and at eighteen began playing regular gigs with a jazz trio at Boate Copacabana. Around that time, he composed his first major hit, “Samba triste,” with Billy Blanco, whom Baden referred to as his first true musical partner. Shortly thereafter – “some time around 1958” – he met Vinicius at Boate Arpège, where Tom Jobim had a show with Ary Barroso.

In this documentary, Baden recalls he was thrilled when Vinicius, whom he admired from afar, called him over to the table where he was drinking whiskey.  Vinicius said, “I know you’re a composer, you have a few songs and all – what about if we tried a little partnership?” Telling the story, Baden remarks, “I was really timid — like I am to this day, even though it might not seem that way — so I mostly just let him do the talking, but I said it would be the greatest pleasure to work with him.”  The two met a few days later at Hotel Miramar, and composed their first two songs together, “Canção de Ninar,” and “Sonho de amor e paz.”

In 1966, Baden and Vinicius released the tremendously popular, mystical album "Os Afro-Sambas," which Baden said was inspired by "afro-brasileiros" and stories he would tell Vinicius about Afro-Brazilian gods like Xango and Ossanha.
In 1966, Baden and Vinicius released the tremendously popular, mystical album “Os Afro-Sambas,” which Baden said was inspired by “afro-brasileiros” and stories he would tell Vinicius about Afro-Brazilian gods like Xango and Ossanha.

Soon after, Baden went to Vinicius’s house to work on a song with him, and ended up staying for four months. They would often pull down all the shades to compose, so that they wouldn’t notice the passage of time, night and day.

The pair’s 1966 album Os Afro-Sambas remains one of the best-loved MPB albums of all time.

After Vinicius’s death in 1980, Baden began performing “Samba em prelúdio” with the lyrics “without you, my poet, I’m no one; without you, my Vinicius, I’m no one.”

Main source for this post not linked in text: Livro de Letras: Vinicius de Moraes (Companhia das Letras)