Rosa Maria

Lyrics from “Rosa Maria” by Éden Silva and Aníbal Silva (1948)


Good Audio Version (Gilberto Alves)

One day I came across Rosa Maria
At the edge of the sea, sobbing
I asked what happened, and Rosa Maria answered:
Our love has died.

I still don’t know how to explain
The reason Rosa Maria rejects my heart
I did everything for her
Could it be she’s found another friend?

— Interpretation —

In 1954, the newly formed Salgueiro samba school surprised the public and its competitors, coming in third place in Rio's Carnival competition with the samba-enredo "Romaria à Bahia."
In 1954, the newly formed Salgueiro samba school surprised the public and its competitors, coming in third place in Rio’s Carnival competition with the samba-enredo “Romaria à Bahia.”

Éden Silva, known popularly as Caxiné, was one of the most celebrated samba composers of Rio de Janeiro’s tremendously popular Salgueiro samba school.  The school was founded in 1953, uniting two of the three sambas schools — Azul e Branco and Depois eu digo — from Morro do Salgueiro in the city’s Tijuca neighborhood; another neighborhood school, Unidos do Salgueiro, rejected the merger, and did not last long. As Djalma Sabiá recounts in this documentary, the unification represented an effort to end competition among the neighbors and make the neighborhood samba school more competitive city-wide. It worked: In 1954, Salgueiro came in third place in Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, with the samba-enredo “Romaria à Bahia,” by Abelardo, Juca and Duduca do Salgueiro.

The school’s motto, which also dates to the 1950s and was created by the school’s president at the time, Nelson de Andrade, reflects a certain humility and the school’s original mission of eliminating neighborhood rivalries. It translates to “Neither better nor worse, just a different school.”

Salgueiro is renowned for being the first samba school to tell the stories of Afro-Brazilians like Zumbi dos Palmares (1960 – Quilombo dos Palmares), Xica da Silva (1963 – Xica da Silva), and Chico Rei (1964 – Chico Rei) in Carnival parade themes.

“Rosa Maria” is still one of the most popular sambas by Salgueiro composers, along with another of Caxiné’s songs, “Falam de mim,” which was composed together with Aníbal Silva and Noel Rosa de Oliveira. Silva was elected “Cidadão Samba” (Samba Citizen) in 1946 by the press in Rio de Janeiro, and his samba “Brasil, fonte das artes“(1956), composed with Djalma Sabiá and Nilo Moreira, became the first samba-enredo to be recorded by a professional singer when Emilinha Borba, known as the “Radio Queen,” recorded it for Continental Records in 1956.

In 1969, Paulinho da Viola and Maria Bethânia recorded the song for the French documentary Saravah:

Lyrics in Portuguese

Um dia
Encontrei Rosa Maria
Na beira da praia
A soluçar
Eu perguntei o que aconteceu
Rosa Maria me respondeu
O nosso amor, morreu
Não sei ainda explicar
Qual a razão
De Rosa Maria desprezar
Meu coração
Eu fazia-lhe toda vontade
Será que ela tem outra amizade