“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

“Coisas banais” and “Preciso me encontrar”

Lyrics from “Coisas banais” by Candeia and Paulinho da Viola (1970)


Look here, that’s not how we treat what we have
If our love is true, pride, vanity and disaffection are mundane things
That only serve to hurt our love
If you wish to leave, take the longing, take the pain
And leave peace
When love is true, it’s not implored, nor held back by mundane things
Look here…


Lyrics from “Preciso me encontrar” by Candeia (1976)



Let me go, I need to wander
I’ll go around, seeking
To laugh, so as not to cry (repeat)
I want to watch the sun rise, to see the rivers’ waters flow
To hear the birds sing
I want to be born, I want to live
Let me go, I need to wander
I’ll go around, seeking
To laugh, so as not to cry
If anyone asks after me, tell them I’ll only come back after I find myself
I want to watch the sun rise, to see the rivers’ waters flow
To hear the birds sing
I want to be born, I want to live… (repeat)

— Interpretation —

Candeia singing with Martinho da Vila.
Candeia singing with Martinho da Vila.

Antônio Candeia Filho, known popularly as Candeia, lived a short and rough life: He died suddenly at age 43 after having spent the last 13 years of his life in a wheelchair.  But just as the hardship of being bound to a wheelchair made his music richer, his tragic early death makes his lyrics all the more poignant to listeners today. His moving poetic verses about life, race, social justice, love, samba and beer are some of Brazil’s most beloved, although — in part because of his short life —  people often don’t know they were written by Candeia.

Candeia was born on August 17, 1935, in the Oswaldo Cruz neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. His father, Jairo, was a flautist, and from a very young age Candeia was surrounded by musicians. He learned to play guitar and cavaquinho and began to frequent the neighborhood samba school Portela. He played capoeira and participated in Candomblé rituals, developing an interest in Afro-Brazilian culture and social awareness that deepened later in his life.

Candeia, Waldir 59, e Darcy in the "Ala dos Impossíveis"
Candeia, Waldir 59, e Darcy in the “Ala dos Impossíveis.” Photo via Portela Archives.

At 22, Candeia passed the test to enter the police force, where he earned a reputation for being harsh and unforgiving. Bars in Lapa reportedly closed up when he came around because everyone left in fear; his close friend and musical partner Waldir 59 recounts that mutual friends warned him to stop hanging around Candeia so much: “He pardoned no one. He even put his adoptive brother Ronaldo in jail.”

The run-in that left Candeia in a wheelchair happened on December 13, 1965. He left a party at Portela to bring a girl home (his wife, dona Leonilda, said the accident would never have happened if he’d brought her to the party instead of fooling around). Waldir 59 went with him — mostly because he was worried about Candeia leaving in such a drunken state.  As they drove down the final stretch of Marquês de Sapucaí Avenue – the avenue that hosts  Rio’s Carnival parades – nearing Av. Presidente Vargas, Candeia crashed into a fish truck. He pulled around, got out, and saw that his fender was bent;  then he drew his gun and shot the truck’s tires. He threatened the men in the front of the truck, and as Waldir 59 recounts in the biography Candeia: Luz da Inspiração, the “Italian in the back of the truck” shot Candeia down.

The five gunshot wounds left Candeia paralyzed from the waist down.  His friend and biographer João Baptista remarked, “I think Candeia began to rethink some things after he was paralyzed,”and writes that the vast majority of his interviewees agreed that Candeia’s music became much stronger – both lyrically and socially – after the accident.

For a while Candeia believed he might walk again. But nearly two years to the day after the shooting, he wrote that he and his family members were losing hope for recovery, continuing, “I’m gradually losing interest in the present and the future; I see myself tied up in a boat headed slowly toward the precipice. In spite of all these adversities, I will continue to fight, do my exercises and take my medicine. I will never give in to despondency or despair.”

CANDEIA-34 conversa de botequimOne way Candeia dealt with his isolation and fought off despondency was by hosting more and more lively samba parties, or pagodes, at his house. Friends remember his phone calls: “Come on over — I’ll pay for the taxi.”

He wrote touching verses about his situation, most famously in “Preciso me encontrar,” “De qualquer maneira” (“I’ll sing no matter what, no matter what, my enchantment, I’ll samba…seated in a king’s throne, or here in this chair…”) and “Pintura sem arte” (“I feel like a fallen leaf, I’m the goodbye of one who’s departing, for whom life is a painting without art…”)

He also dedicated himself to activism, defending Afro-Brazilian culture and fighting the prioritization of  outsiders’ — often rich, white outsiders — interests in samba schools:

Candeia was a fixture of Portela samba school, a close friend and partner of Waldir 59, Paulinho da Viola, and Monarco (who laments he only wrote one samba with Candeia, “Portela, uma familia reunida“).  He began composing sambas at a very young age, and became while he became best known for his partido alto-style sambas — with improvised verses mixed in with a refrain — his samba-enredos were tremendously popular as well, and brought Portela six Carnival titles, in 1953 (“Seis datas magnas” composed with Altair Marinho, won perfect scores in all categories), 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959 and 1965, the latter five all composed with Waldir 59.

Candeia at Quilombo samba school, c. 1977.
Candeia at Quilombo samba school, c. 1977.

But in the 1970s Candeia grew fed-up with grave problems he identified within the school. As Tantinho da Mangueira relates in this documentary clip, “people began to hang around the samba schools who had  nothing to do with samba, as far as we were concerned.”  Candeia felt samba was in danger of going from being a genuine popular manifestation to being a mere consumer product. He and other Portelenses wrote a letter to the president of Portela complaining that the leadership had grown too autocratic, and was pushing imitation rather than innovation — seeking to copy whatever was commercially popular at the time.  Candeia offered suggestions for how to take Portela back down the right path, but felt his concerns were not heard. So he founded a new samba school and cultural center, Grêmio Recreativo de Arte Negra e Samba Quilombo (Quilombos were runaway slave settlements, as described in this post), inaugurated in January 1976 in Coelho Neto, Rio de Janeiro. In December of that year the school received a US$20,000 grant from the Inter-American Foundation in the United States to fabricate Carnival costumes, school uniforms and educational materials about Afro-Brazilian history and culture. Almost every night Quilombo hosted debates and conferences about Afro-Brazilian contributions to Brazilian culture and national identity.  And in Carnival 1977, with the participation of stars like Paulinho da Viola, Martinho da Vila, Xangô, Clementina de Jesús, and others, the school’s parade was a hit.

Candeia’s untimely death from a heart attack on November 16, 1978, inspired a number of sambas in his honor, including “Silêncio de um bamba,” by his friends Wilson Moreira and Nei Lopes, and “O sonho não acabou,” by Luiz Carlos da Vila.

Lyrics in Portuguese: Coisas banais
Repare bem, não é assim
Que a gente faz com o que tem
Se a gente ama de verdade
Orgulho, vaidade, desamor
São coisas banais que só têm utilidade
Pra machucar o nosso amor

Se quiseres ir embora, leve a saudade
Leve a dor e deixe a paz
Quando o amor é de verdade, não se implora
Nem se prende a coisas banais
Repare bem

Lyrics in Portuguese: Preciso me encontrar

Deixe-me ir
Preciso andar
Vou por aí a procurar
Rir pra não chorar
Deixe-me ir
Preciso andar
Vou por aí a procurar
Rir pra não chorar

Quero assistir ao sol nascer
Ver as águas dos rios correr
Ouvir os pássaros cantar
Eu quero nascer
Quero viver

Deixe-me ir
Preciso andar
Vou por aí a procurar
Rir pra não chorar
Se alguém por mim perguntar
Diga que eu só vou voltar
Depois que me encontrar

Quero assistir ao sol nascer
Ver as águas dos rios correr
Ouvir os pássaros cantar
Eu quero nascer
Quero viver

Deixe-me ir
Preciso andar
Vou por aí a procurar
Rir pra não chorar

Deixe-me ir preciso andar
Vou por aí a procurar
Rir pra não chorar
Deixe-me ir preciso andar
Vou por aí a procurar
Rir pra não chorar

Main source for this post: Candeia: Luz da Inspiração by João Baptista M. Vargens