Lyrics from “Só vendo que beleza” by Henricão and Rubens Campos (1942)
I have a little house out at Marambaia
It’s on the shore of the beach, gotta see it to believe such beauty
There’s a vine that in the springtime blooms bounteous Dollar Princesses
When summer comes, I sit on the veranda, pick up my guitar and start to play
And my moreno who’s always in a good mood sits down next to me and starts to sing
When afternoon falls a swell of swallows swoops in a swarm, making it summer
And out in the woods a thrush warbles a beautiful melody, to delight my heart
At six o’clock the chapel bell rings the Ave Maria chimes
And the moon rises from behind the ridge, announcing the end of daytime
I said I have a little house out at Marambaia…
— Interpretation —
This was the song that brought fame to the celebrated radio singer Carmen Costa, along with the hit “Está chegando a hora,” an adaptation of the Mexican classic “Cielito Lindo,” which she released on the same album in 1942. Costa had moved from the interior of Rio de Janeiro to the capital in 1935, at age 15, where she began working as a maid in Francisco Alves’s home. Alves encouraged her to pursue singing, and she participated in several amateur radio contests, forming a duo with the composer and singer Henricão in 1937. Upon Henricão’s suggestion, she dropped her given name, Carmelita Madriaga, and began going by Carmen Costa. Costa was among the first singers to record Luiz Gonzaga, releasing “Chamego” in 1944 and “Sarapaté” in 1945. She married an American in 1945 and spent the next four years in the United States. Upon returning to Brazil in 1949 she met and began a romance with the composer Mirabeau Pinheiro, who together with Lúcio de Castro, Heber Lobato, and Marinósio Filho composed Carmen’s greatest Carnival hit, “Cachaça” (1953), which she recorded with Colé.
“Só vendo que beleza” counts among the most widely known compositions by Henricão and Rubens Campos. Henrique Felipe de Costa, or Henricão (Jan. 11, 1908 – Jun. 11, 1984) was born in Itapira, São Paulo. After moving to Rio de Janeiro he began composing with Rubens Campos (Aug. 16, 1912 – Nov. 3, 1985); the pair collaborated with Nelson Cavaquinho on the first of Cavaquinho’s sambas to be recorded, “Não faça a vontade dela,” released by Alcides Gerardi in 1939. The pair’s composition “Está chegando a hora” was adopted as a theme to end Carnival dances and also remains a popular song that the crowd sings at the end of football matches in Brazil.
“Só vendo que beleza” came as part of a series of countryside-themed songs, including “Minha palhoça” (1935) and “No rancho fundo” (1931). The song’s popularity inspired Henricão and Rubens Campos to compose a follow-up (which was not nearly as popular), called “Casinha de Marambaia,” which begins at minute 3:14 in the clip of both songs below. “Só vendo que beleza” was eventually recorded by Elis Regina and Maria Bethânia, among others.
A number of Carnival songs use the proverb “uma andorinha não faz verão” (one swallow does not make a summer), including João de Barro‘s 1931 march by just that name: “Uma andorinha não faz verão.” In this song, by contrast, a bunch of swallows fly together, making it summertime. “Só vendo” (just seeing) essentially means “you gotta see it to believe it/understand.”
Lyrics in Portuguese
Eu tenho uma casinha lá na Marambaia
Fica na beira da praia, só vendo que beleza.
Tem uma trepadeira que na primavera
Fica toda florescida de brincos de princesa.
Quando chega o verão eu sento na varanda,
Pego o meu violão e começo a tocar.
E o meu moreno que está sempre bem disposto
Senta ao meu lado e começa a cantar.
Quando chega a tarde um bando de andorinhas
Voa em revoada fazendo verão
E lá na mata um sabiá gorjeia
Linda melodia pra alegrar
Às seis horas o sino da capela
Toca as badaladas da Ave Maria
A lua nasce por de trás da serra
Anunciando que acabou o dia.
Eu tenho uma casinha lá na Marambaia
Main source for this post: A Canção no Tempo: 85 anos de músicas brasileiras, vol 1, by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello.