Lyrics from “Barulho” by Roque Ferreira (2007)

Fazendo tanto barulho // Making such a fuss
Você vai acordar meu orgulho // You’re going to awaken my pride
Que tanto dorme por nós // Which has slept so much, for us
Tudo relevo e tolero // I take and tolerate everything
Mas já falei ‘Eu não quero // But I’ve told you ‘I don’t want
Que me levante a voz’ // You to raise your voice with me’

Apesar das divergências // In spite of our differences
Com todas as disavenças // With all of the strife
A gente não separou // We never separated
Porque meus olhos fechei // Because I shut my eyes
E sem rancor, perdoei // And, without rancor, forgave
Os seus crimes de amor // Your crimes of love

Pode mentir à vontade // You can lie as much as you wish
Eu sei que fidelidade // I know that faithfulness
Não é seu forte afinal // Is not your forte, after all
E mesmo que eu quisesse // And even if I wanted to
Ainda que eu pudesse // Even if I could
Não ia fazer igual // I wouldn’t act the same

Porque só beijo quem amo // Because I only kiss those I love
Só abraço quem gosto // I only embrace those I like
Só me dou por paixão // I only give myself with passion
Eu só sei amar direito // I only know how to love perfectly
Nasci com esse defeito // I was born with that defect
No coração // Of the heart

— Commentary —

Roque Ferreira has over 400 songs recorded by renowned samba singers including Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Zeca Pagodinho, Alcione, Roberto Ribeiro,  João Nogueira, and Maria Bethânia.
Roque Ferreira has over 400 recorded songs, many of them released by such renowned samba singers as Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Zeca Pagodinho, Alcione, Roberto Ribeiro, João Nogueira, and Maria Bethânia.

Roque Ferreira was born on March 12, 1947, in Nazaré das Farinhas, Bahia, and began composing music after moving to Salvador at age 14.  In the samba world he is among the most revered contemporary composers of Bahian samba. To hear more, listen to his 2004 album Tem samba no mar, and here’s a great 1989 album of sambas from Bahia, including Ferreira’s “Na força do meu rojão” at minute 28.

Still, in spite of his success as a composer, a fair number of less involved samba savants haven’t even heard his name, since so many of his most famous songs were released by other artists.

Samba darling Clara Nunes was in large part responsible for bringing Ferreira’s music to a wider audience in Brazil: she released his “Apenas um adeus” in 1979, and “Coração valente” in 1981. By 1984, Beth Carvalho, known as the “patroness of samba,” had released his composition “Doce de cajá,” and in 1986, João Nogueira released “Triste regresso.”

Today Ferreira has more than 400 recorded songs, released by renowned sambistas including Alcione, Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Zeca Pagodinho, Roberto Ribeiro, Zélia Duncan, Teresa Cristina, Mart’nália, João Nogueira, Amélia Rabello and Maria Bethânia. Bethânia, who grew up in Bahia and went on to become one of Brazil’s most beloved singers of all time, has recorded seven of Roque Ferreira’s songs, including “Barulho” and “Lágrima.”

Falsa Baiana

Lyrics from “Falsa Baiana” by Geraldo Pereira (1944)

Good Audio Versions: João Gilberto, Gal Costa

[This] baiana, who goes into the samba and just stands there
Doesn’t samba, doesn’t dance, doesn’t move or nothing
Doesn’t know how to leave the youth in a craze

[The] baiana is the one who goes into the samba any which way
That moves, that shakes, twists her hips into a knot
Leaving the young’uns’ mouths watering

The phony baiana, when she goes into the samba,
No one goes out of their way, no one claps
No one opens the circle, no one yells “Oba, Salve a Bahia, Lord”
But we like it when a baiana dances samba just right
From the top on down, she rolls her little eyes, saying,
“I’m a daughter of São Salvador”

— Interpretation —

Geraldo Pereira, image via Funarte

Dona Isaura, the wife of the composer Roberto Martins, takes the dubious honor of being the inspiration for this song. On the second to last night of Carnaval in 1944, Martins was at a bar chatting with Geraldo Pereira when Dona Isaura showed up, dressed up as a baiana (a woman from the state of Bahia, where the population is predominantly of African descent). In contrast to Bahian women, who are reputed for being joyful and exuding positive energy – and for knowing how to dance samba “just right” – Dona Isaura was in a sour mood that night, prompting her husband to observe to Geraldo, “Check out the phony baiana.” Martins’s observation got Pereira thinking about how to distinguish a true baiana from an impostor, and he wrote his greatest hit based on that premise.

Baiana dancing
What would appear to be a true baiana, dancing.

Pereira’s innovative style of syncopated samba and the rhythm within the lyrics themselves had a strong influence on João Gilberto, who, in turn, went on the make this song doubly famous with his bossa nova version, released on the 1973 LP João Gilberto.  

Geraldo Pereira was born in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais,  in 1918, and moved to Rio de Janeiro’s renowned Morro da Mangueira  in 1930. He died in 1955, at age 37, from a hemorrhage that was rumored to have been caused by a fight with an almost mythical marginal figure of the carioca night, the drag artist and capoeirista known as Madame Satã (Madam Satan). Although even Satã took advantage of this story, the most reliable sources say Pereira actually died from an untreated intestinal disease that was aggravated by his drinking habits.

How to dress up as a falsa baiana.
How to dress up as a falsa baiana.

Lyrics in Portuguese

Baiana que entra no samba e só fica parada
Não samba, não dança, não bole nem nada
Não sabe deixar a mocidade louca
Baiana é aquela que entra no samba de qualquer maneira
Que mexe, remexe, dá nó nas cadeiras
Deixando a moçada com água na boca

A falsa baiana quando entra no samba
Ninguém se incomoda, ninguém bate palma
Ninguém abre a roda, ninguém grita ôba
Salve a bahia, senhor

Mas a gente gosta quando uma baiana
Samba direitinho, de cima embaixo
Revira os olhinhos dizendo
Eu sou filha de são salvador

Main source for this post: A Canção no Tempo: 85 Anos da músicas brasileiras by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Melo

Back in Bahia

Lyrics from “Back in Bahia” by Gilberto Gil
Album: Expresso 2222 

Over there in London, once in awhile, I felt far away from here
Once in awhile, when I felt far away, I would find myself
Pulling my hair, nervous, wanting to hear  Cely Campelo to keep from falling
In that pit, into which I saw my comrade, from Porto Belo, fall
In that lack of judgment, which I had no reason to take joy in
In that lack of warmth, of color, of salt, of sun, of heart,  To feel
So much longing, preserved in an old silver trunk inside of me

I say in a silver trunk because silver is the color of moonlight
Of the moonlight that I missed so much together with the sea
Sea of Bahia, whose green, once in awhile, it did me good to remember
So different from the green, also so beautiful, of the lawns, the fields over there
Island of the North, where I don’t know if for luck or for punishment I ended up landing
For some time, which in the end, passed hurriedly, as all things must pass
Today I feel as if going there were necessary to return so much more alive
With life more lived, divided between there and here.

— Interpretation —

In January 1972, Gilberto Gil returned to his home state of Bahia after three years in exile in London. As he explains in the book Gilberto Gil: Todas as Letras, shortly after arriving, he went to a festival in Santo Amaro, where Dona Canô – mother of Caetano Veloso and Maria Bethânia – was having a party. He was overwhelmed by the sight of so many people so dear to him, who “emanated cheer,” and reflected on how much he had longed for these kinds of moments when he was in London. Inspired, he began writing “Back in Bahia” in his head and finished the song the following day, in Salvador. The music relies on traditional sounds and rhythms from northeastern Brazil;  the verses use rhythmic and internal rhymes, also typical of northeastern songs, and almost all have 16 syllables  (e.g. the final line: “de vida mais vivida dividida pra lá e pra cá”).

Gil mentions Celly Campelo, who sang “Banho de Lua” —  a Brazilian rock hit from the late 1950s — in a few songs, including “Back in Bahia” and “Retiros Espirituais.” In the verse ” So different from the green, also so beautiful, of the lawns, the fields over there,” the Portuguese line finishes with “campos de lá,” which is an allusion to the romantic poet Gonçalves Dias‘s famous poem “Canção do Exilio” (Song of Exile).

Gilberto Gil, who was introduced on this site in the post on “Panis et Circenses,” was born Gilberto Passos Gil Moreia in Salvador, Bahia, on June 26, 1942. He spent his childhood in Ituaçu, in the interior of Bahia, where he became interested in music listening to Orlando Silva and Luiz Gonzaga. He moved to Salvador at age 9 and began studying accordion; in the late 1950s, inspired by João Gilberto, he began playing guitar.

In 1962, Gil made his first solo recording and met Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethânia, and Gal Costa. They began to perform together, and in the next couple of years all ended up moving to São Paulo, where Gil and the rest met prestigious singer-songwriters and poets like Chico Buarque and Torquato Neto.  Gil became famous when he sang on the television program “O Fino da Bossa,” which was presented by Elis Regina; he quit his job at the company Gessy-Lever (now Unilever), signed a contract with Phillips, and released his first LP – Louvação – in 1967. In 1968 he released the LPs Gilberto Gil and Tropicalia ou Panis et Circenses, together with Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Torquato Neto, Os Mutantes, Tom Zé and Nara Leão (for more about the Tropicalist movement, see the post on Panis et Circenses). In 1969, the military government determined that Gil and Caetano were subversives and forced them into exile.

Source for this post: Gilberto Gil, Todas as letras

Post by Victoria Broadus (About)