Lupicínio Rodrigues: “Eu não sou de reclamar” – “Nervos de aço” – “Não sou louco” – “Vingança” – “Caixa de Ódio” – “Cadeira Vazia”

“Eu não sou de reclamar” (1952)


Eu não sou de reclamar // I’m not one to complain
Eu não sou // I’m really not
Mas o que estou sofrendo // But what I’m suffering
É demais // Is just too much
Nos lugares onde eu vou // In the places I go
Quem conhece quem eu sou // Anyone who knows who I am
Diz que sou o mais covarde dos mortais // Says I’m the most cowardly of all mortals
E queriam que eu matasse // And they thought I should kill
O crime não compensa // But crime doesn’t pay
Só Deus dá a sentença // Only God gets the final say
ao pecador. // over the sinner
Se eu matasse não podia esperar // If I killed, I wouldn’t be able to look forward to
Ver algum dia // Some day seeing
As lágrima cruéis do meu amor // The cruel tears of my love

Se queriam que eu matasse // If they wanted me to kill
O crime não compensa // Crime doesn’t pay
Só Deus dá a sentença  // Only God gets the final say
ao pecador // over the sinner


“Nervos de aço” (1947)

Você sabe o que é ter um amor, meu senhor? // Do you know what it is to have a love, my fellow?
Ter loucura por uma mulher // Be mad about a woman
E depois encontrar esse amor, meu senhor // And then find that woman, my fellow
Ao lado de um tipo qualquer? // By the side of some nobody?
Você sabe o que é ter um amor, meu senhor // Do you know what it is to have a love, my fellow?
E por ele quase morrer // And nearly die for that love
E depois encontrá-lo em um braço // And then find her in an arm
Que nem um pedaço do seu pode ser?// That can’t be even a little bit yours?
Há pessoas de nervos de aço // There are people with nerves of steel
Sem sangue nas veias e sem coração // Without blood in their veins, without hearts
Mas não sei se passando o que eu passo // But I don’t know if, going through what I’m going through
Talvez não lhes venha qualquer reação // It’s possible they wouldn’t have a reaction
Eu não sei se o que trago no peito // I don’t know if what I have in my chest
É ciúme, é despeito, amizade ou horror // Is jealousy, spite, friendship or horror
Eu só sei é que quando a vejo // I only know that when I see her
Me dá um desejo de morte ou de dor // It fills me with a desire for death or pain


“Não sou louco” (1950)


Eles me chamam de louco // They call me crazy
Porque eu bebo, senhor // Because I drink, oh lord
Depois que bebo saio na rua // And after I drink I go out in the street
Gritando por meu amor // Screaming for my love
Louco, não senhor!  // Crazy, no sir!
Eu não sou louco! // I’m not crazy!
É que um coração magoado // It’s just that an injured heart
Não fala baixo nem bebe pouco // Doesn’t speak softly or drink lightly
Se eles soubessem a minha situação // If they only knew my situation
O quanto me custa aturar o meu coração… // How hard it is to stand my heart
Iriam compreender que eu não sou louco! // They would understand that I’m not crazy
É que um coração magoado // It’s just that an injured heart
Não fala baixo nem bebe pouco // Doesn’t speak softly or drink lightly

“Vingança” (1951)

Eu gostei tanto, // I was so, so pleased
Tanto quando me contaram // When they told me
Que lhe encontraram // That they found her
Bebendo e chorando // Drinking and crying
Na mesa de um bar // At a bar table
E que quando os amigos do peito // And when close friends
Por mim perguntaram // Asked about me
Um soluço cortou sua voz, // A sob strangled her voice
Não lhe deixou falar.// Didn’t let her speak
Eu gostei tanto,// I was so, so pleased
Tanto, quando me contaram // When they told me
Que tive mesmo de fazer esforço // That I actually had to make an effort
Prá ninguém notar // For no one to notice
O remorso talvez seja a causa // Maybe remorse is the cause
Do seu desespero // Of her despondency
Ela deve estar bem consciente // She’s got to be well aware
Do que praticou, // Of what she’s done
Me fazer passar tanta vergonha // Humiliating me
Com um companheiro // With a friend
E a vergonha // And shame
É a herança maior que meu pai me deixou; // Is the greatest inheritance my father left me
Mas, enquanto houver força em meu peito // But as long as there’s strength in my chest
Eu nao quero mais nada // I want nothing more –
Só vingança, vingança, vingança // Only revenge, revenge, revenge
Aos santos clamar // Imploring the saints
Ela há de rolar como as pedras // She’s sure to roll like the stones
Que rolam na estrada // That roll down the road
Sem ter nunca um cantinho de seu // Without ever having their own little home
Pra poder descansar // To take rest in


“Caixa de ódio” (first recording – 1966)

Tem coisas que as vezes tão fácil julgamos // There are things we sometimes think are so easy
Que até nos achamos capaz de fazer // That we even feel we could do them
Até num coqueiro as vezes trepamos depois não achamos por onde descer // We even climb up a coconut tree, and then can’t find the way down
Um arranhãozinho uma simples batida //A little scratch, a light blow
Tem feito ferida capaz de matar // Have caused wounds that can kill
Por isso que eu sempre vos disse querida // That’s why I’ve always told you, dear
Que a gente na vida deve se cuidar // That in life, we need to take care
Você por exemplo jamais pensaria // You, for example, would never have thought
Que uma fantasia em um carnaval // That a Carnaval capriccio
Um simples prazer de uma noite de orgia // The simple pleasure of a night of revelry
Pudesse algum dia causar tanto mal // Could cause such ruin one day
Matar um amor que já tem tantos anos // Killing a love that’s lasted so many years
Criar um inferno dentro do seu lar // Creating a hell in your own home
Fazer do meu peito uma caixa de ódio // Making, of my chest, a box of scorn
Como um coração que não quer perdoar // Like a heart that won’t forgive  (2x)

“Cadeira vazia” (Lupicínio Rodrigues & Alcides Gonçalves, 1950)

Entra meu amor fique a vontade // Come in, my love, make yourself at home
E diz com sinceridade o que desejas de mim // And tell me, with sincerity, what you want from me
Entra podes entrar a casa é tua // Come in, you can come in, the house is yours
Já que cansaste de viver na rua // Now that you’ve grown weary of living a vagrant life
E os teus sonhos chegaram ao fim // And your dreams have come to an end
Eu sofri demais quando partiste // I suffered so much when you left
Passei tantas horas tristes // I spent so many morose hours
Que não gosto de lembrar esse dia // That I don’t like to remember that day
Mas de uma coisa pode ter certeza // But you can be sure of one thing
Teu lugar aqui na minha mesa // You have a place here at my table
Tua cadeira ainda está vazia // Your chair is still empty
Tu es a filha pródiga que volta // You’re the prodigal daughter who returns
Procurando em minha porta // Seeking at my door
O que o mundo não te deu // What the world didn’t provide you
E faz de conta que eu sou o teu paizinho // And you make believe I’m your daddy
Que há tanto tempo aqui ficou sozinho // Who’s  been alone here for so long
A esperar por um carinho teu // Waiting for your love
Voltaste estás bem, estou contente // You’ve come back, you’re well- I’m content
Só me encontraste um pouco diferente // You’ve just found me a little different
Vou te falar de todo coração // I’ll tell you, with all my heart
Não te darei carinho nem afeto // I won’t give you love or affection
Mas pra te abrigar podes ocupar meu teto // But for shelter you may stay under my roof
Pra te alimentar podes comer meu pão // And for nourishment you may eat my bread (2x)

— Commentary —

Lupicinio is still known as the
Lupicínio is still known as the “Criador do dor-de-cotovelo” – the creator – or God – of songs about jealousy and heartache.

Lupicínio Rodrigues was born in the poor neighborhood of Ilhota, Porto Alegre, on a rainy September 16, 1914. He was an unlikely dark-skinned samba composer in the overwhelmingly white southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, far-removed from the samba stronghold of Rio de Janeiro.  And while his soft-spoken, pleasant demeanour won him many friends, but it was the bitter broken-heartedness of his lyrics that won him fans across Brazil beginning in the late 1930s. His lyrics were so rawly evocative of the writhing of love gone bad that he earned the eternal appellation of “God of dor-de-cotovelo”  — the sentiment that translates literally to elbow pain, and encapsulates the mixture of disconsolateness,  jealousy, spite and confused affection that tends to follow romantic disillusionments. (Elbow pain because of too much time hunched on one’s elbows, head in hands.)

As I wrote in this previous post, through Lupicínio, the expression came to define a musical genre that expresses and even aggrandizes such suffering. Carlos Rennó says in his profile of the singer, “It’s been said that in all of Lupicínio Rodrigues’s songs, he either betrays or is betrayed.” And according to Lupicínio, whose commentary was published in Augusto de Campos‘s  book Balanço da Bossa, everything he sang about was “the truth – my life.”

Lup_PortoAlegreIndeed, in the 1970s, Lupicínio said he wasn’t even sure why he earned his nickname  but he remembered that when he had a program on Radio Record, everyone would be in tears when he finished, so the host naturally began to refer to him as “god of the dor-de-cotovelo.” Again, his measured, no-frills explanation was that he “was, in fact, suffering a lot at the time.”

Lupicínio’s first hit was the 1938 samba “Se acaso você chegasse,” which also happens to be one of his few more upbeat sambas. The song reportedly made its way from Porto Alegre to Rio de Janeiro by the mouths of sailors, and Lupicínio used to say he was shocked when he heard his song in Porto Alegre, floating in on the radio waves from Rio de Janeiro. A year later, suffering from breakup, Lupicínio went to spend a few months in Rio de Janeiro, where he briefly became a fixture in the city’s samba nightlife, and got to know singers like Francisco Alves, who would go on to record many of his greatest successes.

Lupicínio liked to say there were two types of dor-de-cotovelo: State and Federal. “State” dor-de-cotovelo came when you met someone for a “love for a night,” and then felt longing for them later on; federal was something deeper — the pain “we never forget, that we carry with us forever”: He says “Vingança” expresses an “eternal dor-de-cotovelo” of his. It’s also the kind of pain he expresses in “Nervos de aço,” which he wrote after finding his first fiancée in the arms of another man.

“Cadeira vazia” was written, he recounted, for a girl who had left Rio Grande do Sul to go to Rio de Janeiro but wrote a letter (to him, presumably) saying how much she missed home; he responded with the song.

He was such a specialist in his art of this kind of southern Brazilian blues that even more than forty years after his death, and with only about one hundred compositions to his name, his works continue to be re-interpreted and released by contemporary Brazilian singers like Arrigo Barnabé, who released the album Caixa de ódio, with only Lupicínio’s songs, and Arnoldo Antunes, who released Lupicínio’s “Judiária” in a hard-rock adaptation.  Among the “old guard,” two of the most celebrated and appropriate singers of Lupicínio’s songs are Elza Soares, who did a Lupicínio tour in 2014, for his centenary, and Jamelão. The withering raw emotion of Lupicínio’s songs went out of vogue during the age of Bossa Nova and the politically wrought years of the dictatorship, but has swung back in full force, a tribute to Lupicinío’s expert expression of the timeless traits of romantic suffering.

On August 27, 1974, Lupicínio  – known affectionately as Lupi – died from heart failure. It was a dreary, rainy day, similar to the day he was born. He was 59.

“Vem amenizar”; “O Mar Serenou”; “Ouro Desça do seu Trono/ Mil Reis”

Lyrics from “Vem amenizar” by Candeia and Waldir 59 (1978)

Vem amenizar a minha dor, amor // Come alleviate my pain, my love
Tu és entre elas a mais bela flor // You are, among them, the most beautiful flower
Vem porque só eu te quero bem // Come, because only I want the best for you
És a vida da minha vida, querida // You’re the life of my life, dear

Vem dar lenitivo ao meu pobre coração// Come give relief to my poor heart
Que tanto sofre a esperar por teu amor // That suffers so much for your love
Vem suavizar esta paixão // Come soften this passion
E exterminar toda esta dor // And exterminate this pain
Ora, vem por favor // Now, come, please…


Lyrics from “O mar serenou” (Candeia, 1975)


O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia //It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea

O pescador não tem medo // The fisherman isn’t afraid
É segredo se volta ou se fica no fundo do mar // It’s a mystery if she comes back or stays in the depths of the sea
Ao ver a morena bonita sambando // Upon seeing the beautiful morena dancing samba
Se explica que não vai pescar // He tells himself he won’t go fishing –
Deixa o mar serenar // Let the sea be serene

O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia // It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea

A lua brilhava vaidosa // The moon shone brightly, vain,
De si orgulhosa e prosa com que deus lhe deu // Full of herself, showing off what God gave her
Ao ver a morena sambando // When she saw the morena dancing samba
Foi se acabrunhando então adormeceu o sol apareceu // She lost spirit, fell asleep, and the sun appeared

O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia // It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea

Um frio danado que vinha // A bitter cold coming
Do lado gelado que o povo até se intimidou // From the frigid side left the people intimidated
Morena aceitou o desafio sambou // But the morena accepted the challenge, danced
E o frio sentiu seu calor e o samba se esquentou // And the cold felt her warmth, and the samba heated up

O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia // It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea

A estrela que estava escondida // The star that was hidden
Sentiu-se atraída depois então, apareceu // Felt drawn in and then came out
Mas ficou tão enternecida // But she became so enraptured
Indagou a si mesma a estrela afinal será ela ou sou eu //She asked herself, ‘who’s the star, after all, me or her?’

O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia // It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea


Lyrics from “Ouro, Desça do Seu Trono” (Paulo da Portela, Candeia – 1978) & “Mil Reis” (Candeia & Noca da Portela, 1978)

Ouro Desça Do Seu Trono // Gold, come down off your throne
Venha Ver O Abandono // Come see the forlornness
De Milhões De Almas Aflitas, Como Gritam // Of millions of suffering souls, how they cry
Sua Majestade, A Prata // Her Majesty, Silver [Money]
Mãe Ingrata, Indiferente E Fria // Thankless Mother, Indifferent and Cold
Sorri Da Nossa Agonia // Smirks at our agony

Diamante, Safira E Rubi // Diamond, Saphire, Ruby
São Pedras Valiosas // Are valuable stones
Mas Eu Não Troco Por Ti // But I wouldn’t trade you for them
Porque És Mais Preciosa // Because you’re even more precious
De Tanto Ver O Poder // After so many times seeing power
Prevalecer Na Mão Do Mal // In the hand of evil
O Homem Deixa Se Vender //
A Honra Pelo Vil Metal // Man lets his honor be sold for vile metal
(refrain)

Nessa Terra Sem Paz Com Tanta Guerra // In this land without peace, with so much war
A Hipocrisia Se Venera // Hypocrisy is venerated
O Dinheiro É Quem Impera // Money reigns
Sinto Minha Alma Tristonha // I feel my soul heavy with sorrow
De Tanto Ver Falsidade // From seeing so much falseness
E Muitos Já Tem Vergonha // And many have grown ashamed
Do Amor E Honestidade // Of love and honesty
(refrain)

— Mil Reis —

Hoje tu voltas aqui com semblante a sorrir // Today you return here, a smile on your face
Esperando que eu te receba e te dê // Expecting me to receive you and give you
Muitos beijos de amor // Many kisses full of love
Esquecendo afinal o que entre nós se passou // Forgetting, let’s face it, what happened between us
Foi você quem errou // You were the one who went wrong
Te ajoelhas aos meus pés, mas não vales mil réis // You kneel at my feet, but you’re not worth 1,000 reis
Te conheço, afinal // After all, I know you
Não mereço perder tantos anos da vida // I don’t deserve to lose so many years of my life
Tentarei te esquecer, perdida // I’ll try to forget you, you’re lost
Perdida porque não honraste um homem // Lost because you didn’t honor a man
Manchaste o meu nome e tudo quanto te ofertei // You tarnished my name and everything I gave you
Jogaste fora, como moeda sem valor, um grande amor // You threw away, like a coin without value, a great love
Quem me encontrou, me valorizou // The one who found valued me

— Commentary —

Candeia on the guitar in 1969, with Martinho da Vila behind him.
Candeia on the guitar in 1969, with Martinho da Vila behind him.

Today, August 17, 2015, would have been Candeia‘s 80th birthday; he died of a heart attack at age 43 on November 16, 1978.

Because of his tremendous impact and short life, Candeia has been called a “lightning bolt that passed through Brazilian popular music.” Candeia achieved such greatness in such short time in part because he was born into the Portela samba school in Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, in 1935. His father, Candeia Senior, was involved in the founding of the samba school, and Candeia grew up with birthday parties and holidays celebrated with feijoada, cachaça and pagodes that lasted for days. By age 15 he was a composer for Portela, and by age 17 he had his first Portela carnival championship under his belt, with  “As seis datas magnas” (Candeia & Altair Prego).

Candeia’s life was short and tough: he spent his last 13 years in a wheelchair, paralyzed by gunshot wounds from a road-rage brawl.  But the hardship of being bound to a wheelchair made his music richer and fuelled his social activism, and his untimely death makes his lyrics more poignant to listeners today:  His moving verses about life, race, social justice, love, samba, beer and betrayal are some of Brazil’s most beloved.

For more on Candeia, go to this earlier, more thorough post:  https://lyricalbrazil.com/2014/01/17/coisas-banais-and-preciso-me-encontrar/.

Here’s Candeia’s close friend Waldir 59 recently singing “Vem amenizar”, with Teresa Cristina, a contemporary samba singer and composer:

Source: Luiz Antônio Simas fala sobre Candeia; Candeia: Luz da Inspiração by João Baptista M. Vargens

Um ser de luz

Lyrics from “Um ser de luz” by Paulo César Pinheiro, Mauro Duarte, & João Nogueira (1983)

Um dia // One day
Um ser de luz nasceu // A being of light was born
Numa cidade do interior // In a country town
E o menino Deus lhe abençoou // And the divine infant blessed her
De manto branco ao se batizar // In a white blanket upon being baptized
Se transformou num sabiá // She became a sabiá
Dona dos versos de um trovador // Mistress of the verses of a troubadour
E a rainha do seu lugar // And queen of her place

Sua voz então a se espalhar // Her voice then, spreading out
Corria chão // Covered land
Cruzava o mar // Crossed the sea
Levada pelo ar // Carried by the air
Onde chegava espantava a dor // Wherever it arrived it scared pain away
Com a força do seu cantar // With the power of its song

Mas aconteceu um dia // But one day
Foi que o menino Deus chamou // The divine infant beckoned
E ela se foi pra cantar // And she went to sing
Para além do luar // Over beyond the moonlight
Onde moram as estrelas // Where the stars live
E a gente fica a lembrar // And we always remember
Vendo o céu clarear // Watching the sky brighten
Na esperança de vê-la, sabiá // In the hopes of seeing her, sabiá

Sabiá // Sabiá
Que falta faz sua alegria // Oh how your cheer is missing here
Sem você, meu canto agora é só // Without you, my song is just
Melâncolia // Melancholy

Canta meu sabiá,// Sing my sabiá
Voa meu sabiá // Fly my sabiá
Adeus meu sabiá…// Goodbye my sabiá
Até um dia… // Until some day…

— Commentary —

claranunes

Today – August 12, 2015 – would have been Clara Nunes’s 73rd birthday.

Clara Nunes & Paulo César Pinheiro.
Clara Nunes & Paulo César Pinheiro.

Paulo César Pinheiro recalls meeting Clara Nunes around 1974, through his friend and partner Mauro Duarte. Paulo and Clara married in 1975, and remained married until Clara’s death on April 2, 1983, at age 40.

Clara, who came to Rio from rural Minas Gerais as a teenager, recorded over 20 of Paulo’s compositions, becoming the “mistress” of his verses. Shortly after her death, together with Mauro Duarte and João Nogueira, Paulo wrote “Um ser de luz.” A couple of notes: A sabiá is a thrush with a beautiful song, the national bird of Brazil; “Menino Deus” was one of Paulo’s songs that Clara sang; “in a country town” refers to Clara’s childhood in Minas Gerais.

clara3