Quero voltar pra Bahia (I want to go back to Bahia)

Lyrics from “Quero Voltar Pra Bahia (I Want To Go Back To Bahia)” by Paulo Diniz/Odibar (1970)

I don’t want to stay here
I wanna to go back to Bahia

Eu tenho andado tão só // I’ve been so alone lately
Quem me olha nem me vê // People look at me and don’t even see me
Silêncio em meu violão // My guitar’s fallen silent
Nem eu mesmo sei por qu. // And I don’t even know why
De repente ficou frio // It suddenly grew cold
Eu não vim aqui para ser feliz // I didn’t come here to be happy
Cadê o meu sol dourado? // Where’s my golden sun?
Cadê as coisas do meu país? // Where are the things from my country?

I don’t want to stay here
I wanna to go back to Bahia.

Eu tenho andado tão só // I’ve been so alone lately
Quem me olha nem me vê// People look at me and don’t even see me
Silêncio em meu violão // My guitar’s fallen silent
Nem eu mesmo sei por que // And I don’t even know why
Via Intelsat eu mando // Via Intelsat, I send
Notícias minhas para “O Pasquim” // News of myself to “O Pasquim”
Beijos pra minha amada // Kisses to my love
Que tem saudades e pensa em mim // Who misses me and pines over me

I don’t want to stay here
I wanna to go back to Bahia.

— Commentary —


This 1970 soul sensation was inspired by Caetano Veloso, who was depressed in exile in London at the time. Legions of fans embraced it as an anthem pleading for Caetano’s return to Brazil.

Caetano and Gil displayed the image 

As the song exploded, Brazil was living through the direct aftermath of decree Ato Institucional V (AI-5), issued on 13 December 1968, which shut down the national Congress, abolished habeas corpus, and essentially opened the path for Brazil’s military regime to expand its systematic repression, censorship, and persecution of anyone perceived as a leftist sympathizer or societal provocateur. That same month, Caetano and Gil were arrested, ostensibly for having featured tropicalist artist Helio Oiticica’s image of a marginal — representing 23-year-old Cara de Cavaloshot dead two months earlier by a Rio police death squad — with the caption “Be an outlaw, be a hero!” in a December 1968 show in Rio de Janeiro.

Caetano in London, c. 1970.

The two were thrown in jail for two months, placed on house arrest for four more, and then forced into exile in 1969.  Caetano missed Brazil tremendously; he has called his 1971 album recorded in London “a document of depression.” (For more on this period, see “Back in Bahia” [Gilberto Gil, 1972]; “Panis et Circenses” [1968] and “Expresso 2222” [Gilberto Gil, 1972].)

As Brazil plunged into the AI-5-era known as the anos de chumbo (years of lead), Paulo Diniz released this song, infused with his strong northeastern accent and Caribbean sounds, providing a perfect example of the new twists that Brazilians brought to soul music, inspired by 60’s R&B, Motown and James Brown’s funk.

Pasquim, mentioned in the song, was a leftist magazine with a weekly circulation of about 200,000, established in 1969 as an outlet of resistance against the military dictatorship.

Main source for this post: Vale Tudo: Tim Maia, by Nelson Motta


Lyrics from “Carinhoso” by Pixinguinha and João de Barro (1936)

Meu coração// My heart,
Não sei por que// I don’t know why
Bate feliz// Beats happily
Quando te vê// When it sees you
E os meus olhos ficam sorrindo// And my eyes can’t stop smiling
E pelas ruas vão te seguindo// And, through the streets, they go on following you
Mas mesmo assim// But even so
Foges de mim// You avoid me

Ah! se tu soubesses como eu sou tão carinhoso// Ah, if you only knew how loving I am
E o muito e muito que te quero// And just how much I want you
E como é sincero meu amor// And how sincere my love is
Eu sei que tu não fugirias mais de mim// I know you wouldn’t run from me anymore
Vem, vem, vem, vem // Come, come, come, come…
Vem sentir o calor dos labios meus// Come feel the warmth of my lips
À procura dos teus// Seeking yours
Vem matar esta paixão// Come quench this passion
Que me devora o coração// Which devours my heart
E só assim, então// And only then
Serei feliz, bem feliz// Will I be happy – very happy

–Commentary —

Partitura Carinhoso
Pixinguinha’s score for a 1947 orchestration of “Carinhoso”
Pixinguinha composed “Carinhoso” in 1917, at age 19, but since it didn’t conform to the strict standards for choro at the time (it had only two parts, while the standard was three, following the same structure as polka) he set it aside for over ten years.
“Carinhoso” was first released in December 1928 by the Orquestra Típica Pixinguinha-Donga, and was recorded two more times in its instrumental version, by the Orquestra Victor Brasileira in 1929 and by the mandolinist Luperce Miranda in 1934 – both times registered mistakenly as “Carinhos.”
Heloísa Helena_1937
Heloísa Helena, the actress and singer who requested that her friend Braguinha put lyrics to Carinhoso for her performance in the 1936 show “Parada das Maravilhas”

Still, the song that would go on to become “the song of the 20th century,” in the words of Paulinho da Viola, didn’t make much of an impact until Braguinha (Carlos Alberto Ferreira Braga, also known as João de Barro) composed the lyrics in 1936, upon request by the actress and singer Heloísa Helena.

Helena wanted a new song to perform with the show Parada das Maravilhas, and she suggested that Braguinha add lyrics to “Carinhoso.” Braguinha agreed, and immediately went to see Pixinguinha and hear him play “Carinhoso” at the dance hall El Eldorado (now Centro Cultural Carioca). That same night, he hurriedly wrote lyrics for the song that went on to become perhaps the best-known and one of the ten most recorded MPB songs of all time.
 In the documentary Paulinho da Viola: Meu Tempo é HojePaulinho da Viola remarks,”[Carinhoso] was written in 1917 and traversed the century to such an extent that in any Brazilian bar if someone picks up a guitar and starts playing, everyone is able to sing along.”
Braguinha’s biographer Jairo Severiano observes that the lyrics are nothing too special – not among Braguinha’s best, which is not surprising considering the rush with which he wrote them. And top radio voices Francisco Alves and Carlos Galhardo passed up the opportunity to record the song before it was offered to Orlando Silva,  who recorded “Carinhoso” along with Pixinguinha’s beautiful waltz “Rosa,” with lyrics by Otávio de Souza, in 1937. At the time, even Orlando Silva apparently wasn’t too convinced by the lyrics: he reportedly requested alternative lyrics from the composer Pedro Caetano.
But after the resounding success of the recording, Orlando Silva claimed in several interviews that he was the one who had requested that Braguinha put lyrics to the song. Both Pixinguinha and Braguinha denied this claim.
Source for this post: Yes, nós temos Braguinha by Jairo Severiano (1987)

“Pelas ruas da cidade” & “Reserva de domínio”

“Pelas ruas da cidade” – Paulo César Pinheiro (1980)

Ando pelas ruas da cidade // I stroll down the city streets
Meio abandonado de carinho// Rather forsaken of love
Como a lamentar a mocidade// As if lamenting the youth
Que desperdicei pelo caminho// That I wasted along the way
Ando pelas ruas da cidade// I stroll down the city streets
Só, mas livre como um passarinho//Alone, but free as a bird
Tenho no meu peito uma saudade que me dói// I carry in my breast a saudade that hurts
Mas prefiro viver sozinho// But I prefer to live alone
Inda relembro as minhas horas de felicidade// I still remember my moments of happiness
E como joguei tudo fora sem necessidade// And how I threw it all away for nothing
Mas nada do que eu fiz na vida// But nothing that I did in life
Foi contra a vontade// Was against my will
Duro é ter nos ombros// It’s hard to bear on your shoulders
O peso da idade// The weight of age
Nem feliz nem triste// Neither happy nor sad
Só sem novidade// Merely with nothing new to tell
Ando pelas ruas da cidade// I stroll down the city streets

Reserva de Domínio” – Mauro Duarte & Paulo César Pinheiro (1985)

Um coração tão machucado como o meu// A heart as hurt as mine
Não tem mais força pra aguentar uma outra dor // No longer has the strength to stand a new wound
já está cansado de aventuras // it’s tired of wild affairs
foram tantas amarguras // there’ve been so many bitter stories
tá difícil de encarar um novo amor // it’s hard to face a new love
Mas sei que muitas insistências vão surgir // But I know that many demands will emerge
Com a carência que hoje existe por aí // With the loneliness that’s around today
Pois a alma aflita pelo tédio // Because the soul afflicted with tedium
Mediante a tanto assédio // Under such assail
Se também se descuidar vai sucumbir // Must take care, or it will succumb as well
Mas tem que suportar// But one needs to just bear it
sem se preocupar // Without paying any mind
Com as palavras atiradas pelo chão // to the words tossed on the ground
Com promessas pertubando o coração // to promises disquieting the heart
São juras e mais juras desvairadas // There are vows, and more frantic vows
Que eu presumo aparecer// That I suspect will surface
Mas pra não sofrer // But so as not to suffer
Tenho que me armar // I need to arm myself
Pro domínio não perder // So as not to lose control
Sei que água mole em pedra dura // I know that soft water on hard rock
Tanto bate até que fura // Beats until it bores through
É o que não pode acontecer //And that’s just what can’t happen

— Commentary-

Mauro Duarte and Paulo César Pinheiro’s friendship and musical partnership brought about some of the most beautiful MPB songs. Mauro also introduced Paulinho Pinheiro to Clara Nunes, his wife and muse until her untimely death in 1983.

Paulo César Pinheiro is best known for his ingenious lyrics for songs written with brilliant composers like Baden Powell, Mauro Duarte, Mauricio Tapajós, Eduardo Gudin, Guinga, João Nogueira, and many more of the most renowned names in Brazilian popular music of the past fifty years.

But he recalls that his partner Mauro Duarte observed that he often revised the melodies he was working with, either working on them with his partners or tweaking and adding to them after he’d received them.

One day as Paulinho and Mauro worked on a song together, Mauro remarked, “You’re doing just about everything alone, why don’t you start composing songs on your own, without a partner? You know how to do it, chefia.”  

Mauro’s suggestion rattled around in Paulinho’s head until one day, as he rambled down the beach in Leblon, he began whistling a tune, recalling and mimicking phrases he’d heard Copinha play on the flute. He quickly ended up with a beautiful tune for a samba, and says by the time he got home, he had the whole song written in his head, and ran to record it. That was the first of over 150 songs Paulo César Pinheiro went on to compose on his own, a beautiful response to the coaxing of his close friend and partner Mauro Duarte.

In turn, a few years later, Pinheiro came up with a tune that everyone loved but that he just couldn’t find words for. No theme came to him; it was as if he had a block with that specific melody. Mauro would sing the tune back to Paulinho when they met up, and ask him eagerly about how the lyrics were coming along. So Paulinho decided to challenge Mauro the same way Mauro had challenged him: “Why don’t you write the lyrics? If you like this samba so much, and are in such a hurry, take a pen to it.”

Mauro accepted the challenge. A little over a week later he brought the song back to Paulinho, bashfully apologizing for the lyrics before he sang them, saying he wasn’t sure if they’d turned out ok. Paulinho grew nervous: he didn’t want to hurt his friend’s feelings.

But as Mauro sang, Paulinho recalls, “He gave me goosebumps. He’d gotten it so perfectly right. The lyrics were beautiful. I was surprised and content, and he even more so. And that’s how, for the first time, on a melody of mine, the lyrics were written by someone else.”

Source for this post: Paulo César Pinheiro: Histórias das Minhas Canções