Lyrics to “Maracangalha” by Dorival Caymmi (1956)

Good Audio Version (Dorival Caymmi)

I’m going to Maracangalha, I’m going
I’m going in a white uniform, I’m going
I’m going in a straw hat, I’m going
I’m going to invite Anália, I’m going
If Anália doesn’t want to go, I’ll go alone, I’ll go alone, I’ll go alone!
If Anália doesn’t want to go, I’ll go alone, I’ll go alone, I’ll go alone – without Anália –
But I’ll go! (3x)

— Interpretation —

Dorival Caymmi recorded "Maracangalha" for Odeon Records in 1956.
Dorival Caymmi recorded “Maracangalha” for Odeon Records in 1956.

 is a little hamlet in Dorival Caymmi’s home state of Bahia.  Caymmi’s good friend Zezinho used to do business at a sugar mill there, Cinco Rios, and began using the excuse “I’m going to Maracangalha” whenever he left home and didn’t feel like telling his wife where he was going.

Dorival Caymmi, in his white shirt and straw hat
Dorival Caymmi, in his white shirt and straw hat.

Caymmi remembered this story one day in 1955 when he was at his apartment in São Paulo painting a self-portrait. (Caymmi was an avid painter; the background painting for this site is by him.) He began to sing the phrase “Eu vou para Maracangalha,” and quickly put together lyrics and music about a man who says he’s off to Maracangalha wearing a white suit and straw hat – traditional samba garb – and with a woman on his arm, if she should choose to join. As Caymmi sang to himself, his neighbor Cenira came to the window to ask Caymmi’s wife, Stella, about the pretty little tune he was singing. Caymmi told them both that he was writing a song about a guy who goes out to have fun — “He’s going to Maracangalha, and he’s going to invite Anália,” he explained. Cenira asked why he wasn’t inviting Cenira, rather than Anália. But Cenira didn’t fit with the rhythm of the song, so Caymmi begged forgiveness — Anália would be invited, this time.

Hamlet of Maracangalha in São Sebastião do Passé, Bahia.
Hamlet of Maracangalha in São Sebastião do Passé, Bahia.

Dorival Caymmi was known for taking months or years to perfect his sambas. He took nine years to finish João Valentão, for instance. But this one came to him all at once that afternoon. He put it aside until the next year, when he returned to Rio de Janeiro and recorded it at Odeon records. The song achieved instant success. It became a Carnaval hit the next year, 1957, and with its playfully rebellious spirit it continues to be among the most well-known and best-loved sambas.

Lyrics in Portuguese

Eu vou prá Maracangalha
Eu vou!
Eu vou de liforme branco
Eu vou!
Eu vou de chapeu de palha
Eu vou!
Eu vou convidar Anália
Eu vou!
Se Anália não quiser ir
Eu vou só!
Eu vou só!
Eu vou só!
Se Anália não quiser ir
Eu vou só!
Eu vou só!
Eu vou só sem Anália
Mas eu vou!…(3x)

Eu vou só!…(16x)

Main source for this post: A Canção no Tempo: 85 anos de músicas brasileiras, vol 1: 1901-1957, by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello


Lyrics from “Marina” by Dorival Caymmi (1947)

Good Audio Version (Danilo Caymmi)

Marina, morena
Marina, you’ve made yourself up
Marina, do anything, but do me a favor
Don’t paint that face that I fancy
That I fancy, and is only mine
Marina, you’re already pretty
With what God gave you
I’m annoyed, I’ve grown angry
I can’t speak anymore
And when I’m angry, Marina, I don’t know how to pardon
I’ve forgiven many things – you couldn’t find another like me
I’m sorry, Marina, morena, but I’m cross (Repeat)

I’m cross with you, I’m cross with you…

— Interpretation —

Dorival Caymmi (L) singing with his son Dori in Rio de Janeiro, 1996. Photo via Dorival Caymmi: O Mar e o Tempo.

Dorival Caymmi began this song by writing the final verse: “Eu tô de mal com você” (I’m cross with you, or I’m on bad terms with you). The lines were inspired by Caymmi’s 3-year-old son, Dori, who had just grumpily informed his father, “eu tô de mal com você”; Caymmi found his son’s words poetic and started the song. That’s as far as Dori’s inspiration goes, though: In the song, a jealous husband becomes cross with his wife for wearing makeup, saying he’s already forgiven many things, but this? Unforgivable.

Dori, Stella, and Nana Caymmi in Rio de Janeiro, 1946. Photo via Dorival Caymmi: O Mar e o Tempo.

The subject matter caused Caymmi some trouble. As Stella Caymmi relates in Dorival Caymmi: O Mar e o Tempo, after Caymmi performed the song at a show in Brazil one night, a drunk man approached him claiming to be Marina’s husband, and looking for a fight.

Like most of Caymmi’s songs, “Marina” is exquisitely simple – a testament to Caymmi’s meticulous song-writing process. Because he often spent years on a single song (João Valentão, for example, took him nine years to write), Caymmi’s body of work totaled just over a hundred songs. But as fellow Bahian Caetano Veloso remarked, each of the songs is a “perfect jewel.”

Caymmi’s songs can be split into three categories: Bahian-inspired beach songs and sambas de roda, and urban sambas with a more Carioca tone, of which “Marina” was one of the first.  The song, released together with “Lá vem a Baiana,” is one of Caymmi’s greatest hits, and was recorded by four singers — Dick Farney, Francisco Alves, Nelson Gonçalves, and Caymmi himself — which was quite rare at a time when recording studios tended to allow just one singer to release a given song.

Lyrics in Portuguese

Marina, morena
Marina, você se pintou
Marina, você faça tudo
Mas faça um favor
Não pinte esse rosto que eu gosto
Que eu gosto e que é só meu
Marina, você já é bonita
Com o que deus lhe deu
Me aborreci, me zanguei
Já não posso falar
E quando eu me zango, marina
Não sei perdoar
Eu já desculpei muita coisa
Você não arranjava outra igual
Desculpe, marina, morena
Mas eu tô de mal…

De mal com você
De mal com você.

Main Sources:  A Canção no Tempo: 85 Anos de Músicas Brasileiras vol. 1: 1901 – 1957 by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello, and Dorival Caymmi: O Mar e o Tempo, by Stella Caymmi.

Saudade da Bahia

Lyrics from “Saudade da Bahia” by Dorival Caymmi (1957, Odeon)

1973 footage of Caymmi singing “Saudade da Bahia,” aired in a tribute after his death on Aug. 16, 2008:

Ai,  what longing I feel for Bahia
Ai, if I’d listened to what mama said
“Dear, don’t go leaving your mother worried
We do as our heart commands
But this world is made up of malice and illusion”
Ai, if I’d listened, today I wouldn’t suffer
Ai, from this longing in my breast
Ai, if feeling longing is some sort of defect
I at least deserve the right
To have someone with whom I can confess
Put yourself in my place, and look how an unhappy man suffers
He had to unburden himself
Telling everyone that which no one says
See, what a situation
And see how a poor heart suffers
That poor guy who believes
That glory and money bring happiness

— Interpretation —

Caymmi and his guitar, Rio de Janeiro, 1980

The Bahian singer-songwriter Dorival Caymmi (April 30, 1914 – August 16, 2008) wrote this samba on a melancholy, sultry summer day in Rio de Janeiro in 1947. Caymmi, “annoyed by the agitation of the city,” composed the lyrics in his head as he sat alone in Bar Bibi, in Leblon; he asked the barman for a piece of paper to write down the lyrics, so as not to forget them.

Original lyrics for “Saudade da Bahia,” written at Bar Bibi, in Rio de Janeiro, in 1947. In these lyrics a few words are different: Caymmi says “If I had thought…” which became “If I had listened,” and “…this emptiness in my breast” which turned into “this longing in my breast.” Source: Dorival Caymmi, O Mar e o Tempo

He then held on to the paper for ten years, reticent to share the raw, wistful lyrics with the public. After all, Caymmi prided himself on his optimism and his ability to deflect “brown and black feelings.” According to his wife Stella, he never complained.

These lyrics revealed a different side of him. Fortunately, as Stella observes in Dorival Caymmi: O Mar e o Tempo, it’s a side that everyone can identify with, which is part of what made the song such a timeless success (along with the beautifully matched melody and lyrics, she points out).

After Caymmi’s 1956 hit “Maracangalha,” Odeon Records director Aloysio de Oliveira was eager to release another sure-fire hit from Caymmi in 1957.  De Oliveira had heard “Saudade da Bahia” at Caymmi’s home, and insisted that the singer record the song. Caymmi resisted initially, but de Oliveira won out, and “Saudade da Bahia”was released in May of that year.

The song recalls a poem from 1859 written by one of Caymmi’s favorite poets, Casimiro de Abreu, called “Meus Oito Anos” (My eight years):  “Oh, what longing I feel/for the aurora of my life/Of my dear childhood/That the years won’t bring back.”

Of course, longing is a simplified translation of saudade, a word that encompasses feelings of yearning, longing, nostalgia, heartache, homesickness, and simply missing something — people, places, things, moments, etc.

Beloved Bahian singers Caetano Veloso, Dorival Caymmi, and Gilberto Gil at Copacabana Palace

Lyrics in Portuguese

Ai, ai que saudade eu tenho da Bahia
Ai, se eu escutasse o que mamãe dizia
“Bem, não vá deixar a sua mãe aflita
A gente faz o que o coração dita
Mas esse mundo é feito de maldade e ilusão”
Ai, se eu escutasse hoje não sofria
Ai, esta saudade dentro do meu peito
Ai, se ter saudade é ter algum defeito
Eu pelo menos, mereço o direito
De ter alguém com quem eu possa me confessar
Ponha-se no meu lugar
E veja como sofre um homem infeliz
Que teve que desabafar
Dizendo a todo mundo o que ninguém diz
Vejam que situação
E vejam como sofre um pobre coração
Pobre de quem acretida
Na glória e no dinheiro para ser feliz

Main sources for this post:  Dorival Caymmi: O Mar e o Tempo by Stella Caymmi, and A Canção no Tempo:  85 Anos de Músicas Brasileiras, vol. 1: 1901 -1957 by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello