“Além da razão” by Luiz Carlos da Vila, Sombra & Sombrinha (1988)
Por te amar eu pintei //For loving you, I painted
Um azul pro céu se admirar// A blue for the sky to bask in
Até o mar adocei // I even turned the sea sweet
e das pedras leite eu fiz brotar // And made milk spring from stones
De um vulgar fiz um rei // Of a popper, I made a king
e do nada um império pra te dar // And of nothing, an empire to give to you
E a cantar eu direi o que eu acho então o que é amar // And singing, I’ll explain what I believe is to love
É uma fonte lá pro longe do horizonte // It’s a fountain way off beyond the horizon
Jardim sem espinho // A garden with no thorns
Vinho que vai bem em qualquer canção // Pine (guitar) that goes well in any song
Roupa de vestir em qualquer estação // Clothes to wear in any season
É uma dança, paz de criança que só se alcança // It’s a dance, the peace of a child
Que só se alcança se houver carinho // That can only be achieved if there’s tenderness
É estar além da simples razão // It’s beyond simple reason
Basta não mentir pro seu coração // It’s enough not to lie to your heart
– Commentary –
I love the exercise of discovering in a melody what the author of that melody was saying. So for example take a tune by Moacyr Luz, Arlindo [Cruz], Sombrinha, Sombra, Wilson das Neves – all tremendous composers – and I think that when they whistle or hum that tune, there’s a great story hidden inside there. – Luiz Carlos da Vila
Luiz Carlos da Vila would be turning 66 today (July 21, 2015 – the date messed up on WordPress!). He was one of the most fundamental figures of the younger generation of sambistas who congregated at Cacique de Ramos and formed the tremendously influential group Fundo de Quintal in the end of the 1970s, and he’s my favorite. A poet who exuded peace and tenderness in his lyrics and performances, even nearly seven years after his death, Luiz Carlos da Vila remains a constant presence in most rodas de samba in Rio de Janeiro. Old friends and fans sing his songs impassionedly, and he is still constantly cited as an inspiration by his contemporaries and the generation of samba composers that came after him.
Luiz Carlos da Vila was born Luiz Carlos Batista in the Ramos neighborhood (of Cacique de Ramos fame) of Rio de Janeiro. He recalled that his grandmother was quite the merrymaker in the neighborhood and took advantage of any excuse possible to have a party. His aunt played accordions at these parties, and he picked up the accordion quickly when he was around ten years old. By a few years later he’d learned guitar. His father kept a job in air transport but was a sambista in his free time, and wanted Luiz Carlos to follow a more straight-edge path, but that didn’t work out.
Luiz Carlos earned the nickname “da Vila” when he moved to Vila da Penha, Rio de Janeiro; later he went on to live in Vila Kennedy and Vila Isabel, and Nei Lops promoted him to Luiz Carlos “das Vilas.”
In spite of his strong affection for Império Serrano, which he never missed a chance to declare, Luiz Carlos da Vila became a composer for Unidos da Vila Isabel, and composed two winning samba-enredos for the school, including the widely celebrated samba “Kizomba, Festa da Raça,” which brought Vila Isabel its first Carnival victory in 1988. The Carnival theme that year was the 100-year anniversary of the abolition of slavery.
Luiz Carlos da Vila died on October 20, 2008. He had checked into the hospital the month before for a hernia operation but suffered complications from recurring stomach cancer. He was 59.
The day that he died, Nei Lopes wrote, “We’ve lost a poet of the finest cloth, a great among the greatest. We’ve lost a human being who was gigantic, in spite of his material fragility. We’ve lost a musician who was complete, even though he had little instruction in the rules of his art. We’ve lost a sambista of the absolute highest level.”