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)

A Jardineira

Lyrics from “A Jardineira” by Benedito Lacerda and Humberto Porto (1938)

Good Audio Version (Orlando Silva)

Oh, gardening girl, why are you so sad?
Why, what has befallen you?

It was the camellia that fell from the branch, gasped twice and then died… (repeat)

Come, gardening girl, come, my love!
Don’t stay sad — this world is all yours.
You are much lovelier than the camellia that died.

— Interpretation —

Carnival revelers in Rio de Janeiro, 1939. Image via Arquivo Nacional, Rio de Janeiro.
Carnival revelers in Rio de Janeiro, 1939. Image via Arquivo Nacional, Rio de Janeiro.

“A Jardineira” was a hit in Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival of 1939, and has since proven an enduring popular favorite. The song, a marchinha (a style described in this post), was recorded by Orlando Silva – “the greatest Brazilian singer of all time” according to João Gilberto – and it qualified for Rio de Janeiro’s official Carnival contest in 1939.

Image via A História Vai ao Cinema.
Image via A História Vai ao Cinema.

The Carnival contest was organized by the Rio City Council and the Department of Press and Propaganda (DIP),the most fascist agency in Getulio Vargas’s authoritarian Estado Novo regime. After the regime’s establishment in 1937, the DIP had taken control of many aspects of Carnival festivities and popular music more broadly.

Also in the running for best marcha was “Florisbela,” by Frazão and Nássara, sung by Silvio Caldas. That year, organizers had decided the competition would be judged by popular vote, rather than a jury. Martins, Nássara, and Caldas saw an opportunity: they gathered famous friends around the entrances to voting booths to encourage arriving voters to pick “Florisbela,” perhaps in exchange for an autograph. Unsurprisingly, “Florisbela” won the marcha category, and another of Nássara’s submissions – the samba “Meu consolo é você,” composed with Roberto Martins and sung by Orlando Silva – took the prize for best samba.

Benedito Lacerda was outraged.  But according to Silva, he need not have worried: In an interview recorded before his death in 1978, Silva points out that “A Jardineira” traversed generations in a way that “Florisbela” didn’t, adding,  “When the dance gets a little cold, the maestro brings ‘Jardineira’ and everyone, even tables get up and dance.” 

“A Jardineira” – a lighthearted allegory for romantic heartache – and “Florisbela” are both mentioned in Ary Barroso’s 1939 hit “Camisa Amarela.” Continue reading “A Jardineira”