“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.

 

 

Nanã

Lyrics from “Nanã” by Moacir Santos and Mário Telles (1964)

When I saw Nanã tonight
I saw my goddess by the moonlight
Every night I gazed at Nanã – the most beautiful thing to behold
What joy to finally find this goddess come just for me
Nanã
And now all I can say is my life is only Nanã
Is Nanã
Nanã

(Let’s go)
Tonight, of my delirium, I saw a new tomorrow born
Day came, with a new sun
Sun from the light that comes from
Nanã
To worship Nanã is to be happy
I feel peace in this love
It’s all I ever dreamed of
My life is only Nanã
It’s Nanã…

— Interpretation —

Moacir Santos lived in the Los Angeles area from the late 1960s until his death in 2006.
Moacir Santos lived in the Los Angeles area from the late 1960s until his death in 2006.

One evening in the early 1960s, as he took one of his customary strolls through Parque Guinle in the Laranjeiras neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro,  Moacir Santos — the renowned instrumentalist, arranger, composer and music professor from rural Vila Bela, Pernambuco, who moved to Rio de Janeiro in the late 1940s and Los Angeles in the late 1960s  — hummed to himself. And he liked what he heard. He sang low: “nã nã nã” (the ã is the nasal sound in Portuguese), a tune that resolved in two very low notes that helped him structure the melody.

Santos began to play his new tune on the clarinet in informal get-togethers with Tom Jobim and Baden Powell; on one of those occasions, Nara Leão was there with her future husband, the filmmaker Cacá Diegues.  Diegues loved what he heard, and had Nara Leão record the song — still without lyrics — for his 1963 film Ganga Zumba. 

Vinicius de Moraes tried his revered hand at lyrics for the song, but Moacir Santos rejected them on the grounds that they were “too sensual” — he didn’t want to think about his Nanã being peeped at as she bathed, apparently part of Vinicius’s verses.  Moacir justified himself, explaining, “Nanã is a mixture of onomatopoeic sounds and the name of an African goddess.”

Nanã is actually the supreme god in certain African sects, and a female orixá in Afro-Brazilian religions, mother of all other orixás and the oldest goddess of the waters, most often syncretized with the Catholic Saint Anne, the mother of Mary.

The lyricist Mário Telles wrote the lyrics for the song that would stick, and the singer Wilson Simonal, at the height of his popularity in the 1960s, recorded “Nanã” in 1964. (In the 1970s, Simonal’s popularity plummeted as a result of his alleged support for the military dictatorship and his open criticism of leftist musicians.)

coisasMoacir Santos gave his student Sérgio Mendes the task of orchestrating “Nanã” and “Coisa no. 2” — the latter from Santos’s only Brazilian album, Coisas (1965), on which each track is just named “Coisa no. 1”; “Coisa no. 2,” etc. (“Thing 1; thing 2…”).  Santos suggested the unusual ensemble of two trombones and a saxophone, which ended up inspiring the original make-up of Sérgio Mendes & Bossa Rio. As a sextet, the group went on to record “Nanã” – along with “Coisa No.2” — on the iconic 1964 album Você ainda não ouviu nada!. 

 

sergio-mendes-bossa-rio1

Lyrics in Portuguese

Essa noite quando olhei Nanã
Vi a minha deusa ao luar
Toda a noite eu olhei Nanã
A coisa mais linda de se olhar
Que felicidade achar enfim
Esta deusa só prá mim, Nanã
E agora eu só sei dizer
Toda a minha vida é Nanã, é Nanã…

Nesta noite no delírios meus
Vi nascer um novo amanhã
Veio o dia com um novo sol
Sol da luz que vem de Nanã
Adorar nanã é ser feliz
Tenho a paz e o amor e tudo o que eu quis
E agora eu só sei dizer
Toda a minha vida é Nanã, é Nanã…

Main source for this post: A Canção no Tempo: 85 anos de músicas brasileiras, vol. 2, by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello

Diz que fui por aí

Lyrics from “Diz que fui por aí” by Zé Kéti and Hortêncio Rocha (1964)

If anyone asks after me, tell them I went out
Carrying my guitar under my arm
On any corner, I’ll stop
At any little bar, I’ll go in
And if there’s reason – that’s another samba I’ll compose
If they want to know if I’ll come back, tell them yes
But only after this saudade leaves me

I’ve got a guitar to keep me company,
I’ve got lots of friends, I’m popular
I’ve got the madrugada as my companion
This saudade hurts, and eats away at my heart
I’m in the city, I’m in the favela,
I’m around, always thinking of her.

— Interpretation —

Zé Kéti in front of the Lapa Arches in Rio.
Zé Kéti in front of the Lapa Arches in Rio.

ze_kéti_tocando fosforoIf he were alive, today would be Zé Kéti’s 93rd birthday. Kéti’s 1964 samba “Diz que fui por aí” proved such a classic that it’s still one of the most common songs to hear at rodas de samba in Rio de Janeiro these days; however — maybe in part as a legacy of Kéti’s unassuming personality — it’s not widely known the song is his. Nara Leão recorded “Diz que fui por aí” on her 1964 album NaraIt was the first of a number of Kéti’s songs that Nara — known as the “muse of bossa nova” (a role she ended up vehemently rejecting) — would record, thus symbolically uniting Rio’s bossa nova and MPB circles with sambistas and sambas from the morro. On the same album, Nara also recorded Cartola‘s “A Sorrir” and Nelson Cavaquinho‘s “Luz negra.”

I’ve left saudade in Portuguese, along with madrugada, which essentially translates as something between the late late night and the “wee hours” of the morning. For more on Zé Kéti, see this post: “A Voz do Morro” and “Acender as Velas.”

Lyrics in Portuguese

Se alguém perguntar por mim
Diz que fui por aí
Levando o violão debaixo do braço

Em qualquer esquina eu paro
Em qualquer botequim eu entro
Se houver motivo
É mais um samba que eu faço

Se quiserem saber se eu volto
Diga que sim
Mas só depois que a saudade se afastar de mim

Tenho um violão para me acompanhar
Tenho muitos amigos, eu sou popular
Tenho a madrugada como companheira

A saudade me doi, o meu peito me roi
Eu estou na cidade, eu estou na favela
Eu estou por aí
Sempre pensando nela