“Vento de maio” (1966) and “Vento de maio” (1979)

“Vento de maio” by Gilberto Gil (music) and Torquato Neto (lyrics), 1966 

Oi você, que vem de longe // Hey you [girl] who’s come from so far away
Caminhando há tanto tempo // Been walking for so long now
Que vem de vida cansada // You, arriving tired of life
Carregada pelo vento // Carried in by the wind
Oi você, que vem chegando // Hey you, who’s just getting here
Vá entrando, tome assento // Come on in, take a seat
Desapeie dessa tristeza // Dismount from that sorrow
Que eu lhe dou de garantia // Cause I give you this guarantee
A certeza mais segura // With the utmost certainty
Que mais dia, menos dia // That one of these days
No peito de todo mundo vai bater a alegria // Joy will beat in everyone’s chest
Oi, meu irmão, fique certo // Hey, my brother, be confident
Não demora e vai chegar // It won’t take long and is sure to come
Aquele vento mais brando // That gentler wind
E aquele claro luar // And that bright moonlight
Que por dentro desta noite // That within this night
Te ajudarão a voltar // Will help you make your way back
Monte em seu cavalo baio // Get up on your bay horse
Que o vento já vai soprar // Cause the wind’s about to blow
Vai romper o mês de maio // The month of May is gonna break
Não é hora de parar // It’s not the time to stop
Galopando na firmeza // Galloping on steadily
Mais depressa vais chegar // You’ll get there more swiftly

“Vento de maio” by Telo Borges & Márcio Borges (1979) 

Vento de maio rainha de raio estrela cadente // Wind of May, queen of rays, falling star Chegou de repente o fim da viagem  // Suddenly the end of the trip has arrived
Agora já não dá mais pra voltar atrás // Now there’s no going back
Rainha de maio valeu o teu pique // Queen of May, your insistence served
Apenas para chover no meu piquenique // only to rain on my picnic
Assim meu sapato coberto de barro // Leaving my shoe covered in mud
Apenas pra não parar nem voltar atrás // only to keep me from stopping or going back
Rainha de maio valeu a viagem // Queen of May, the trip was great
Agora já não dá mais… // Now it can’t go on
Nisso eu escuto no rádio do carro a nossa canção // But meanwhile I hear our song on the car radio
Sol girassol e meus olhos abertos pra outra emoção // Sun, sunflower, and my eyes open for another emotion
E quase que eu me esqueci que o tempo não pára // And I almost forgot that time doesn’t stop
Nem vai esperar // Nor will it wait
Vento de maio rainha dos raios de sol // Wind of May, queen of the sun’s rays
Vá no teu pique estrela cadente até nunca mais // Go on get lost falling star, until never
Não te maltrates nem tentes voltar o que não tem mais vez // Don’t mistreat yourself or try to go back to what no longer has a chance
Nem lembro teu nome nem sei // I don’t even remember your name, I don’t even know
Estrela qualquer lá no fundo do mar // Just one of those stars in the depths of the sea
Vento de maio rainha dos raios de sol // Wind of May, queen of the sun’s rays
Rainha de maio valeu o teu pique // Queen of May, your insistence served
Apenas para chover no meu piquenique // only to rain on my picnic
Assim meu sapato coberto de barro // Leaving my shoe covered in mud
Apenas pra não parar nem voltar atrás // only to keep from stopping or going back

— Commentary —

Torquato & Gil, 1960s.
Torquato & Gil, late 1960s.

Torquato Neto wrote the lyrics for the first “Vento de maio” here in partnership with Gilberto Gil just before the Tropicália movement they were such an important part of took off.

Gil, Ana Duarte and Torquato at Torquato's wedding in 1966.
Gil, Ana Duarte and Torquato at Torquato’s wedding in 1966.

Neto (November 9, 1944 – November 10, 1972) was a lyricist, poet and journalist born in the arid northeastern Brazilian city of Teresina, Piauí.  He was fascinated with poetry and activism from a young age: At eleven, he requested the complete works of Shakespeare from his parents; at fifteen, he was kicked out of his school in Teresina for his political rabble-rousing. Neto then spent three years studying in Salvador (1960-63), where he first became acquainted with the Bahian musicians Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé, Caetano Veloso and Caetano’s sister, Maria Bethânia, and Gal Costa, along with the Bahian lyricist and poet José Carlos Capinan, who would also become a pivotal player in Tropicália.

Chico_TorquatoIn 1965, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso moved to São Paulo and spent a lot of time between there and Rio, and that’s when their collaboration with Neto really got going. In 1966, Elis Regina and Jair Rodrigues recorded Neto’s and Gil’s “Louvação,” and the song became Neto’s first big hit as a lyricist. That same year, Wilson Simonal released “Vento de Maio”, and in 1967 it became an even bigger success with Nara Leão’s recording of the song as the title track of her album.

Torquato Neto, Caetano Veloso, and José Carlos Capinan.
Torquato Neto, Caetano Veloso, and José Carlos Capinan.

1967 was the year that Tropicália blasted onto the Brazilian music scene, beginning with Caetano’s “Alegria, Alegria” and Gil’s “Domingo no Parque.” On the seminal collaborative album from that movement — Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis (1968) — three of the biggest hits had lyrics by Neto: the Tropicália anthem “Geleia Geral,” with Gil; and “Mamãe Coragem” and “Deus vos salve esta casa santa,” with Caetano; that year, with Gil, Neto also released the hit “Marginalia II.”

Torquato Neto at Rio's D'Engenho de Dentro Psychiatric Hospital.
Torquato Neto at Rio’s D’Engenho de Dentro Psychiatric Hospital.

It’s no coincidence that Neto died a day after his twenty-eighth birthday. He committed suicide after struggling with depression throughout his twenties, leaving a note with a flurry of disconnected thoughts that ended by asking those who found him not to wake his three-year-old son.




– “Vento de Maio” (Telo Borges & Márcio Borges, 1979) –

L-R:  Mané Buxa, Milton Nascimento, Jaceline (on floor), Lô Borges, Célio Cabral, Telo Borges, Duca Leal and Márcio Borges at Milton Nascimento's house in Três Pontas, Minas Gerais, 1971.
L-R: Mané Buxa, Milton Nascimento, Jaceline (on floor), Lô Borges, Célio Cabral, Telo Borges, Duca Leal and Márcio Borges at Milton Nascimento’s house in Três Pontas, Minas Gerais, 1971.
Milton Nascimento in the middle and Telo Borges at right in Belo Horizonte in 1973, celebrating 35 years of marriage for the Borges's parents.
Milton Nascimento in the middle and Telo Borges at right in Belo Horizonte in 1973, celebrating 35 years of marriage for the Borges’s parents.

“Vento de maio” (1979) is Telo Borges‘s first recorded composition. Telo, born January 22, 1958, is the younger brother of Márcio Borges (b. January 31, 1946)  and Lô Borges (b. January 10, 1952). The older Borges brothers became famous when Telo was still just a kid, through their participation in Brazil’s famed music festivals of the late 1960s.  Their careers especially took off in the early 1970s, after their release of the groundbreaking 1972 album Clube da Esquina alongside Milton Nascimento and other clube da esquina (“corner club”)  musician pals from Minas Gerais. In this song, Telo makes several references to the song “Um girassol da cor do seu cabelo” from that album, by Lô Borges and Márcio Borges (and one of the first songs on this blog). References include “our song comes on the radio, sol, girassol“; “just one of those stars in the depths of the sea”; and even the way the song revolves around wind and solar rays : “Girassol…” begins with “vento solar e estrela do mar” (solar wind and starfish).

Around the time Clube da Esquina was released, Telo began to spend his vacations at Milton’s house in Rio, and participated in the recording of Milton’s 1973 album Milagre dos Peixes. At age 17 he composed “Vento de maio,” which he says was about a romance he was living at the time. Elis Regina recorded the song together with Lô Borges on her 1980 LP Elisbringing greater recognition to Telo, who went on tour with Lô that year as part of the Projeto Pixinguinha.



Beijo Partido

Lyrics from “Beijo Partido” (1975) by Toninho Horta (Antônio Mauricio Horta de Melo)
Album: Nana Caymmi (Nana Caymmi,1975) and Minas (Milton Nascimento, 1975)

Good Audio Version

You know, I don’t have faith in this madness of mine
And I say I don’t like someone who ruins me, in pieces
And God only knows about you
And I don’t deserve a broken kiss
Today’s nothing more than a day lost in time
And I’m far from all that I know
That’s not spoken of anymore
I know I’ll be for you what I don’t care to know
Today I’m nothing more than a shattered vessel in my chest
And I scream look at the broken kiss
Where must the queen be, lucidity hid her away…

— Interpretation —

Regine Méllac, Wagner Tiso, Toninho Horta, Milton Nascimento, an unnamed French journalist and Fernando Brant, on a radio interview during European tour. Paris, 1980.

In Portuguese, the phrase for “broken heart” is coração partido.  In 1973, the recently heartbroken Toninho Horta, 24 at the time, composed the music for “Beijo Partido” — Broken Kiss.  For two years, the song had no lyrics, until  Toninho sat down at the piano one day in 1975 and quickly penned the heavyhearted verses.

The music showcases Toninho’s signature style of a simple melodic line backed by an exquisite, intricate harmony. The line “E Deus é quem sabe de ti” (translated as “God only knows about you”) – with its ascending melody and delicately descending harmony – captures this style, which captivated and influenced musicians around the world.

Nana Caymmi recorded “Beijo Partido” for her 1975 album Nana Caymmi; shortly thereafter, Milton Nascimento, a fellow Mineiro and member of the Clube da Esquina, recorded it on his album Minas.  Toninho plays guitar and piano on Milton’s recording, and provides back-up vocals that he says were meant to “reinforce the mysterious atmosphere in the musical setting demanded by the arrangement.”

Toninho Horta was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, on December 2, 1948. His father played guitar and his mother played guitar and mandolin. As a boy, he accompanied his older brother, the bass player Paulo Horta, to Belo Horizonte’s famed Ponto dos Músicos (Musicians’ Point), where the city’s most talented and dedicated musicians came together daily to talk about music and play. There, many of the members of Clube da Esquina met and began playing together. (Marilton Borges points out that today, “who’d have guessed it,” a church stands where the Musicians’ Point used to be, on Rua Alfonso Pena between Tupinambás and Curitiba.) Toninho went to Ponto dos Músicos to listen to and learn from one of the most revered guitarists playing there in the early 1960s, Chiquito Braga. By age 13, Toninho had begun composing.

In Os sonhos não envelhecem, Márcio Borges – Milton Nascimento’s first partner – credits Toninho with getting him accepted to his first MPB festival.  In 1967, Márcio submitted a number of songs written with Milton for Globo’s Festival Internacional da Canção.  He was frustrated and jealous when he found out  that none of these songs had qualified, though three of Milton’s other songs had made the cut: “Morro Velho,” “Travessia” with Fernando Brant, and “Maria, Minha Fé.” But shortly after Márcio received this disappointing news,  the young Toninho brought him a song and asked for lyrics. Márcio wrote hurriedly, eager for another chance to qualify for the festival; the song became “Nem é Carnaval,” and passed.*

Left to Right: Fernando Brant, Márcio Borges, and Toninho Horta in 2011, at the opening of Belo Horizonte’s SESC Palladium.

“Nem é Carnaval” was cut in the first round of the festival; nonetheless, it provided Márcio with a convenient opportunity to introduce Fernando Brant to Toninho. In preparation for the festival, Márcio and Toninho had to have photos taken to send to the organizers, and so did Fernando Brant. Márcio worked it out so that all of them had their pictures taken together. He introduced the two, and the musicians moved closer to consolidating the original Clube da Esquina.

Toninho achieved international recognition when the first Clube da Esquina album was released, in 1972. By 1977 he was placed among the top ten guitarists in the world by the British journal Melody MakerHe continued working with Milton and other musicians from Clube da Esquina throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s. He moved to New York City in 1990, released a number of albums in the United States and Japan, and returned to Brazil in 1999. These days, he continues to play; manages a record label — Minas Records; and is working on publishing the Livrão da Música Brasileira, a compilation of over 700 scores inspired by the American Real Book.

Lyrics in Portuguese

Sabe, eu não faço fé nessa minha loucura
E digo eu não gosto de quem me arruína em pedaços
E Deus é quem sabe de ti
E eu não mereço um beijo partido
Hoje não passa de um dia perdido no tempo
E fico longe de tudo o que sei
Não se fala mais nisso
Eu sei, eu serei pra você o que não me importa saber
Hoje não passo de um vaso quebrado no peito
E grito olha o beijo partido
Onde estará a rainha
Que a lucidez escondeu, escondeu …

Main sources for this post:  A Canção no Tempo: 85 Anos de Músicas Brasileiras, vol. 2, by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello; Os sonhos não envelhecem: Historias do Clube da Esquina, by Márcio Borges; and the website, Museu do Clube da Esquina

*In Os sonhos não envelhecem, Márcio says the song they wrote together in 1967 was “Correntes,” but that was actually their submission to the 1969 festival.