Padeirinho da Mangeira: “Favela” – “Vida de Operário” – “Cavaco Emprestado” – “Modificado” – “Como será o ano 2000” – “O Grande Presidente”

“Favela” by Padeirinho & Jorginho Pessanha (1966)


Numa vasta extensão // On a vast expanse
Onde não há plantação // Where there’s nothing planted
Nem ninguém morando lá // And no one living there
Cada pobre que passa por ali // Every poor man who passes by
Só pensa em construir seu lar // Can only think of building a home
E quando o primeiro começa // And when the first begins
Os outros depressa procuram marcar // The others rush to try to mark
Seu pedacinho de terra pra morar // Their little piece of land to live on
E assim a região // And that’s how the region
sofre modificação // Undergoes modification
Fica sendo chamada de a nova aquarela // Ends up being called the “new watercolor”
E é aí, é aí que o lugar // And that’s when, that’s when the place
Então passa a se chamar favela // Starts being called “favela”

“Vida de Operário” by Padeirinho & Quincas do Cavaco (first recording 1966 – Jamelão)
(video unavailable)

Ora vejam // Now look
Com é a vida de um operário // What the life of a factory-hand is like
Sai todos os dias no mesmo horário // He leaves every day at the same exact time
Fazendo ginástica pra trabalhar // Doing acrobatics to get to work
Ele pega o trem do subúrbio // He catches the suburban train line
Tão superlotado // So overcrowded
Que pra viajar tem que ir pendurado //That to take it he has to hang off of it
Arriscando a vida pra lá e pra cá  // Risking his life all over the place
E as vezes  // And sometimes
Quando ele chega um pouco atrasado // When he arrives just a little late
Por causa do trem que ficou enguiçado // On account of the train that broke down
O patrão não deixa ele mais pegar // His boss doesn’t let him take it anymore
Mas as vezes quando ele pega // But sometimes when he takes it
Ele perde o Domingo // He loses his Sunday
Porque o patrão que ele tem é mendigo // Because the boss he has is a miser
E nunca lhe deu uma colher de chá // And never gave him even a tea
(Azar do Valdemar) // (What tough luck for Chuck)


“Cavaco emprestado” by Padeirinho (1974)

Você quebrou // You broke
Meu cavaco de estimação // My pet cavaco
E não pagou // And didn’t pay
Por que razão? // Why was that?
Agora mesmo quero indenização // I want indemnity right now
Porque se não, se não, se não // Or else, or else, or else
Se não não, sei não… // Or else I don’t even know what…
Você pegou // You took
Meu cavaquinho emprestado // My cavaquinho on loan
Viajou pra todo lado //And traveled everywhere
E nem sequer me convidou // And didn’t even invite me
Ganhou dinheiro // You made money
Tirou onda de artista // Played the star
Quero pagamento a vista // I want my full cash payment
Do meu cavaquinho // For my cavaquinho
Que você quebrou // That you broke


“Modificado” by Padeirinho (1962; first recording 1980s)

Vejo o samba tão modificado // I see samba so modified
Que eu também fui obrigado // That I’m also obliged
A fazer modificação // To make modifications
Espero que vocês não me censurem // I hope you don’t censor me
O que eu quero é que todos procurem // All I want is that you all try
Ver se eu não tenho razão // And see if I’m not right –
Já não se fala mais no sincopado // No one talks about syncopated anymore
Desde quando o desafinado // Since when was out-of-tune
Aqui teve grande aceitação // So accepted here
E até eu também gostei daquilo // And I even liked that too
Modificando o estilo // Modifying the style
Do meu samba tradição // Of my samba tradition
Gosto de um samba ritmado pra sambar // I like a rhythmic samba to swing to
Também gosto de um sincopado pra dançar // And I like a syncopated samba to dance
Mas agora tudo é diferente // But now everything’s different
Já não se fala mais naquele samba de ritmo quente // No one talks anymore about those sambas with hot rhythms

“Como será o ano 2000” by Padeirinho (first recorded by João Nogueira, 1983)


Como será daqui para o ano 2000? // What will it be like by the year 2000?
Como será o nosso querido Brasil? // What will our dear Brazil be like?
Como será o morro sem os barracôes? // What will the hillside without the shacks be like?
Como será o Rio sem as tradições? // And Rio without its traditions?
Será que no ano 2000 as escolas de samba irão desfilar? // I wonder if the samba schools will parade in the year 2000?
Será que haverá carnaval? Será? // I wonder if there’ll be Carnival? Could it be?
Daqui para o ano 2000 só Deus sabe como será // By the year 2000, only god knows what it’ll be like
E o povo do Brasil verá // and the Brazilian people will see
Como será? // What will it be like?


“O Grande Presidente” (1956)


No ano de 1883 // In the year of 1883
No dia 19 de Abril // On the 19th day of April
Nascia Getúlio Dorneles Vargas // Getúlio Dorneles Vargas was coming into this world
Que mais tarde seria o governador do nosso Brasil // And would come to be governor of our Brazil
Ele foi eleito a deputado // He was elected deputy
Para defender as causas do nosso país // To defend our nation’s causes
E na revolução de 30 ele aqui chegava // And in the revolution of ’30 he was arriving here
Como substituto de Washigton Luiz // To take the place of Washington Luiz
E do ano de 1930 pra cá // And from year of 1930 to now
Foi ele o presidente mais popular // He was the most popular president
Sempre em contato com o povo // Always in touch with the people
Construindo um Brasil novo // Building a new Brazil
Trabalhando sem cessar // Working incessantly
Como prova em Volta Redonda a cidade do aço // And as proof, in Volta Redonda, the city of steel
Existe a grande siderúrgica nacional // We have the great national steel industry
Que tem o seu nome elevado no grande espaço // Which bears his name raised high in space
Na sua evolução industrial // In its industrial evolution
Candeias a cidade petroleira // Candeias, the “petroleum city”
Trabalha para o progresso fabril // Works for industrial progress
Orgulho da indústria brasileira // The pride of Brazilian industry
Na história do petróleo do Brasil // In the history of Brazilian oil

Ô Ô // Oh, Oh
Salve O estadista idealista e realizador BIS // Save the idealist statist and man of action
Getúlio Vargas  // Getúlio Vargas
O grande presidente de valor // The great president of valor
Ô Ô

— Commentary —

Padeirinho da Mangueira.
Padeirinho da Mangueira.

Só muitos anos depois entendi a grande importância do Padeirinho no contexto da cultura popular. Ele deixou registrado com música, ritmo e rimas, a linguagem das comunidades mais baixas da sociedade.

—  Only many years later would I come to understand the tremendous importance of Padeirinho in the context of popular culture. He left records – through music, rhythms, and rhymes – of the language of the lowest classes of our society. —
– Nelson Sargento

Padeirinho was one of Mangueira’s most versatile sambistas of all time, excellent with improvisation and humorous critical observation of social ills. He was an expert in the slang of Rio’s favelas, and used the “language of the morro”  to tell his syncopated stories about life in Rio’s lower social rungs in the mid-twentieth century.

His greatest idols were his elders in Mangueira:  Geraldo Pereira, Cartola, and Nelson Cavaquinho, especially. And his sambas represent a mixture of the styles of these three legendary samba composers, including romantic songs, syncopated critical sambas (“Vida de operário,” for example) in the style of Geraldo Pereira, and sambas de enredo like “O Grande Presidente.”

padeirinho_2-e1434740239974He may be most remembered for his cheeky use of slang from the morros in songs, as the Nelson Sargento quotation above points out. Many sambistas at the time hesitated to lace local dialect into lyrics: they were trying to conform to a more clean-cut image to appeal to larger audiences and appease authorities. But Padeirinho made several successful sambas that relied on slang from his community, including “Mora no assunto” – his first samba to be recorded, by Jamelão, in the early ’50s –  “Deixa de moda,” and “Nota de duque,” one of the most popular sambas on the morro in the late 1950s. Around then Padeirinho came to the conclusion that he should provide a translation so some more people could understand him, and he wrote one of his most popular sambas, “Linguagem do morro,” which provides a clever list of concepts that were called by different names on the morro.

Padeirinho was born Osvaldo Vitalino de Oliveira on March 5, 1927, in Laranjeiras, Rio de Janeiro; he earned the nickname “padeirinho” because his father was a padeiro – a baker. He moved with his father to the samba stronghold of Morro da Mangueira when he was ten, and began to compose around age thirteen. 

Padeirinho never had the chance to go to school and felt ashamed of his illiteracy. Through samba — finding rhymes and constructing lyrics — he taught himself to read and write. He began singing his sambas in canteens around the community for whoever would listen. He also began drinking at a very young age in those canteens, and samba and alcoholism would remain two constants in his life.

Padeirinho with his wife Cremilda. The couple had twelve children together.
Padeirinho with his wife Cremilda. The couple had twelve children together.

Padeirinho used to say 1947 was “his year”: that year, an older brother-in-law brought him to sing for the composers at Mangueira, where he performed his samba “Mangueira desceu para cantar,” and he officially entered the composers’ wing of the school.  He married his wife Cremilda that year – they stayed together until their deaths forty years later –  and he landed a steady job as a stevedore at Rio’s port, alongside many sambistas including Aniceto do Império, one of the leaders of the stevedores’ union. Another sambista and founder of Império Serrano samba school, Eloy Antero Dias, set Padeirinho up with the job, and there were so many sambistas on the docks – imperianos in particular – that Dona Ivone Lara said Império Serrano should actually be called the Union of Stevedores.

Bloco Clube do Samba" 1980, L-R: Eliseu do Tamborim, Padeirinho (center), Franco Paulino & João Nogueira in the window.
Bloco Clube do Samba” 1980, L-R: Eliseu do Tamborim, Padeirinho (center), Franco Paulino & João Nogueira in the window.

Mangueira at the time was a hotbed of samba, and as Padeirinho continued composing, big name recording artists became his fans and recorded his songs, beginning with Jamelão in Rio and Germano Mathias in São Paulo. Other samba legends who released Padeirinho’s sambas include João Nogueira, Paulinho da Viola, Beth Carvalho, Candeia, Martinho da Vila, Moacyr Luz, Xangô da Mangueira, Clementina de Jesus and Elza Soares.

In 1987, forty years after “his year,” Padeirinho was supposed to record his first album. But his wife Mida died in late 1986. Padeirinho, weak and heartbroken, died two months later, in January 1987.

Padeirinho reportedly composed “Favela” as he observed, from his home atop Morro da Mangueira, the favela dos Esqueletos rising up before him. (The favela was torn down to make space for the UERJ campus later on.)

“Modificado” is a response to bossa nova. In 1959, Padeirinho went twice to São Paulo and returned home frustrated, saying he had been hoping to hear Germano Mathias’s recording of his song “Zé da pinga” on the radio, but instead only heard Celly Campelo’s “Estúpido Cupido,” some other pop songs, and bossa nova, which everyone was talking about, albeit with mixed reactions. Padeirinho’s fellow sambistas around Mangueira hated the new style: samba with totally different sounds, rhythmic inflections and accents. But despite his frustration, Padeirinho didn’t mind it, and defended it as “samba all the same.”  In response to all the fuss, he wrote his humored syncopated critique of this new, modified samba: “Modificado,” which makes reference to the bossa nova song “Desafinado“(out of tune).

“O Grande Presidente” is one of the finest examples of the kind of bombastic samba-enredo that dominated Carnival in the 1950s and 1960s, full of statements about opulence, magnificence and glory. Mangueira came in third place that year, behind Império Serrano (Caçador de Esmeraldas, by Silas de Oliveira & Mano Décio) and Portela. This specific kind of samba is called a “samba-lençol” (sheet samba) since it covers the story of the person being paid tribute to from top to bottom, start to finish. The samba pays tribute to Getúlio Vargas, Brazil’s controversial populist leader who governed Brazil from 1930-1945 as a dictator and 1951-1954 as a democratically elected president. Vargas came to power in the revolution of 1930 mentioned in the song, and made a big push to industrialize Brazil, as the samba says. In August 1954, growing unrest signalled an impending military overthrow of Vargas. Before that could happen, he shot and killed himself in Catete Palace. Because of his populist principles, Vargas was known as the “father of the poor,” and Padeirinho’s samba in tribute to him, composed shortly after Vargas’s death, is widely considered one of the most beautiful samba-enredos of all time.

Main source for this post: Padeirinho da Mangueira: Retrato sincopado de um artista by Franco Paulino

Ministério da Economia

Lyrics from “Ministério da Economia” by Geraldo Pereira and Arnaldo Passos (1951)


Mister President, your Excellency has shown that it’s for real
Now everything’s gonna be a steal
Now the poor man can go ahead and eat

Mister President, well that’s just what the people wanted
The Ministry of the Economy seems like it will solve things

Mister President, thank God I’m not gonna eat any more cat
Beef on butchers’ hooks is in abundance
Now I can go ahead and live with my love
I’m going to go get my nega to come live with me
Because I’ve seen there’s no more danger, she’s not going to die of hunger

Life was so tough that I sent my nega so fetchin’
Off to Copacabana, to stick her breasts in the madame’s kitchen
Now I’m going to get my nega, cause I like her so dog-gone much
The cats are the ones that’ll crack up laughing
From joy, up there on the hillside

— Interpretation —

Rocinha favela c. 1950. Image via Favelatemmemoria.com.br.
Rocinha favela c. 1950. Image via Favelatemmemoria.com.br.

First a few notes on the translation: Nega is a term of endearment in Portuguese, featured in this post; it refers to the singer’s wife.  “…To stick her breasts in the madame’s kitchen” literally means to work in the kitchen, and just to clarify, the cats are cracking up laughing from joy because they’re no longer going to get eaten, thanks to the Ministry of the Economy.

In 1950, Getulio Vargas, populist president-dictator of Brazil from 1930 – 1945,  ran for and won back the presidency.   Shortly after taking office in 1951, he announced the creation of a new government agency for economic advisement and planning.  But in spite of Vargas’s populist rhetoric about the boons of this economic planning office, Geraldo Pereira, an Afro-Brazilian sambista who grew on Morro da Mangueira, was highly skeptical of how this new agency would help him, so he wrote this sarcastic song about it.

GeraldoPereira
In the late 1940s Ary Barroso remarked, “I am not a sambista, Geraldo Pereira is a sambista.” Above, Geraldo Pereira.

Expressing his frustrations through sharply critical popular sambas, Pereira was one of the most notable composers who reclaimed samba from the state that had largely co-opted it during Getulio Vargas’s dictatorship.

While in power from 1930 – 1945, Vargas supported and exploited the expanding broadcast industry in Brazil to build his popularity.  One of the ways he did this was by heavy-handedly promoting samba-exaltação,  patriotic sambas like Ary Barroso‘s seminal “Aquarela do Brasil” that exalted Brazil’s natural beauty, cultural richness and purported racial harmony. These sambas portrayed the idealized image what it meant to be Brazilian that Vargas wanted people to believe in; and for a decade or so, with Vargas’s help, such patriotic sambas dominated the genre.

But Vargas was deposed in 1945, and under Eurico Dutra’s presidency from 1945-1950, the government withdrew from popular culture. By the time Vargas returned to power in 1951, his reign was too tenuous to exercise the same kind of control over music, and the stark contrast between samba-exaltação’s celebration of Brazil’s beauty and harmony and the dire situation of Rio’s hillside favelas made these celebratory sambas more and more laughable.

Throughout the 1940s, as favelas expanded on Rio’s hillsides, the government repeatedly promised and failed to deliver basic services. Residents became increasingly cut off, economically and socially, from the rest of the city below. This situation, combined with reduced state control over popular culture, made space for Afro-Brazilian sambistas from the favelas, like Geraldo Pereira and Wilson Batista, to create hits with popular songs scoffing at the government’s rhetoric and laying bare the tragic realities of life in the hillside slums.

Other such sambas are “Acertei no milhar” (Wilson Batista and Geraldo Pereira, 1940), “Chico Brito”  (Wilson Batista, 1950) and “Escurinho” (Geraldo Pereira, 1955). For more on this theme, the best source is Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil by Bryan McCann.

Lyrics in Portuguese

Seu Presidente,
Sua Excelência mostrou que é de fato
Agora tudo vai ficar barato
Agora o pobre já pode comer
Seu Presidente,
Pois era isso que o povo queria
O Ministério da Economia
Parece que vai resolver
Seu Presidente
Graças a Deus não vou comer mais gato
Carne de vaca no açougue é mato
Com meu amor eu já posso viver
Eu vou buscar
A minha nega pra morar comigo
Porque já vi que não há mais perigo
Ela de fome já não vai morrer
A vida estava tão difícil
Que eu mandei a minha nega bacana
Meter os peitos na cozinha da madame
Em Copacabana
Agora vou buscar a nega
Porque gosto dela pra cachorro
Os gatos é que vão dar gargalhada
De alegria lá no morro

Main sources for this post:  Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Model Brazil by Bryan McCann; A Canção no Tempo: 85 anos de músicas brasileiras by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello; and Desenvolvimento Econônomico e Reformas Institucionais no Brasilby Salvador Werneck Vianna.

O Sol Nascerá (A Sorrir)

Lyrics from “O Sol Nascerá (A Sorrir)” by Cartola and Élton Medeiros

Album: Nara (Nara Leão, 1964); Cartola (1974)

—–

Smiling…

I intend to live life

Because crying

I saw my childhood lost

Smiling…

I intend to live life

Because crying

I saw my childhood lost

When the storm ends

The sun will come out

When this longing ends

I’ll have someone else to love

Smiling…

I intend to live life

Because crying

I saw my childhood lost (repeat)

— Interpretation —

Like Samba da Bênção,” the lyrics of “O Sol Nascera (A Sorrir)” convey a simple but powerful optimism: Although sadness is inevitable, it will pass, and it’s not worth letting day-to-day hardships keep you from living a blissful life.

As Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello point out in vol. 2 of A Canção no Tempo,  Cartola’s career can be divided into two phases: the “poor phase,” from in 1930s through the 1950s, in which he recorded only 14 songs, and the “rich phase,” from 1964 – 1980, when he was rediscovered and revered, and recorded most of his songs.

The release of “O Sol Nascerá” in 1964 symbolizes the beginning of Cartola’s rich phase. The song was also Élton Medeiros’s first hit.

Cartola and Élton composed “O Sol Nascerá” in 1962, at Cartola’s house. According to Élton, the two had just finished composing the now forgotten samba “Castelo de Pedrarias” when their friend Renato Agostini arrived with his wife and challenged them to compose another samba, then an there.

They quickly composed “O Sol Voltará” (“the sun will come back”); when the song was recorded two years later, Oloísio de Oliveira, of Odeon Records, suggested they change it to “O Sol Nascerá” (“the sun will rise,” literally or “the sun will be born”). Élton said he thought the change was an improvement.

Growing up in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Cartola dealt with his share of hardships, a few of which are outlined in the interpretation section of “O mundo é um moinho.” Yet his and Élton’s positive outlook in this song is contagious,  and thankfully so.

Main source for this post: A Canção no Tempo: 85 Anos de Músicas Brasileiras, vol. II: 1958-1985, by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello (São Paulo, Editora 34: 1998)

Post by Victoria Broadus (About)