Mascarada/ Minhas Madrugadas/ Injúria/ Recado/ O Sol Nascerá (A Sorrir)/ Jurar com Lagrimas/ Rosa de Ouro

Lyrics from “Mascarada” by Zé Kéti and Élton Medeiros (1964)


Vejo agora esse teu lindo olhar/ I see your beautiful gaze
Olhar que eu sonhei/ A sight I dreamed of
E sonhei conquistar/ And dreamed of winning over
E que num dia afinal conquistei, enfim/ And that in the end one day I won over at last Findou-se o carnaval/ Carnival ended
E só nos carnavais/ And only during Carnivals
Encontrava-me sem/ I’d find myself unable
Encontrar este teu lindo olhar, porque/ To find your beautiful gaze, because
O poeta era eu/ I was the poet
Cujas rimas eram compostas/ Whose rhymes were composed
Na esperança de que/ Of the hope that
Tirasses essa máscara/ You’d remove that mask
Que sempre me fez mal/ That always caused me pain
Mal que findou só/ Pain that ended only
Depois do carnaval/ After Carnival

Lyrics from “Minhas Madrugadas” (Paulinho da Viola/ Candeia, 1965)

Vou pelas minhas madrugadas a cantar/ I go along through my late nights, singing
Esquecer o que passou/ To forget all that happened
Trago a face marcada/ I show wear and tear
Cada ruga no meu rosto/ Every wrinkle on my face
Simboliza um desgosto/ Represents a hardship

Quero encontrar em vão o que perdi/ I want to find in vain what I lost
Só resta saudade/ Only saudade remains
Não tenho paz/ I have no peace
E a mocidade/ And my youth
Que não volta mais/ That will never return

Quantos lábios beijei/ How many lips I kissed
Quantas mãos afaguei/ How many hands I caressed
Só restou saudade no meu coração/ Only saudade is left in my heart
Hoje fitando o espelho/ Looking in the mirror today
Eu vi meus olhos vermelhos/ I saw my bloodshot eyes
Compreendi que a vida/ And understood that the life
Que eu vivi foi ilusão/ I lived was an illusion

Lyrics from “Injúria” by Élton Medeiros and Cartola

Pois é/ That’s right
Tudo começou assim/ That’s how it all started
Alguém se vingou em mim/ Someone took revenge on me
Inventando o que eu não pratiquei/ Making up something I hadn’t done
Pois é/ That’s right
Só deus sabe o quanto amei/ Only god knows how much I loved
Por te amar tanto chorei/ For loving you how I cried
E chorando levo a coisa até o fim/ And crying I take the thing to its end
Não sei como foste acreditar/ I don’t know how you came to believe
Em mentira tão vulgar/ In such a vulgar lie
De um sujeito tão vulgar também/ From such a vulgar guy what’s more
Sofri a maior decepção/ I’ve suffered the greatest disillusion
Tentarei te esquecer/ I’ll try to forget you
Pois te amar foi ilusão/ Because loving you was an illusion
Não sei porque foste derrubar/ I don’t know why you went and knocked down
O castelo que eu fiz/ The castle I built
Em meu castelo era tão feliz/ In my castle I was (or you were) so happy


Lyrics from “Recado” by Paulinho da Viola and Casquinha (1965)

Leva um recado/Take a note
A quem me deu tanto dissabor/ To the one who caused me such bitterness
Diz que eu vivo bem melhor assim/ Say that I live much better like this
E que no passado fui um sofredor/ And that in the past I was a wretch
E agora já não sou/ And now I’m not anymore
O que passou, passou/ The past is the past
E agora já não sou/ And now I’m not anymore
O que passou, passou/ The past is the past
{bis}

Vai dizer à minha ex-amada/ Go and tell my ex-love
Que é feliz meu coração/ That my heart is happy
Mas que nas minhas madrugadas/ But that in my late nights
Eu não esqueço dela, não/ I haven’t forgotten her
Leva um recado!/ Take a note


Lyrics from “O Sol Nascerá (A Sorrir)” by Cartola and Élton Medeiros (1963)

A sorrir/ Smiling
Eu pretendo levar a vida/ I intend to lead my life
Pois chorando/ Because crying
Eu vi a mocidade/ I saw my boyhood
Perdida/ Lost

Finda a tempestade/ Once the storm’s over
O sol nascerá/ The sun will come out
Finda esta saudade/ Once this saudade is over
Hei de ter outro alguém para amar/ I’ll find someone else to love


Lyrics from “Jurar Com Lágrimas” by Paulinho da Viola (1965)

Jurar com lágrimas/ Swearing with tears
Que me ama/ That you love me
Não adianta nada/ Won’t get you anywhere
Eu não vou acreditar/ I won’t believe it
É melhor nos separar/ It’s better for us to split up

Não pode haver felicidade/ There can’t be bliss
Se não há sinceridade/ If there’s no sincerity
Dentro do nosso lar/ In our home
Se aquele amor não morreu/ If that love hasn’t died
Não precisa me enganar/ You don’t need to try to fool me
Que seu coração é meu/ That your heart is mine


Lyrics from “Rosa de Ouro” by Paulinho da Viola, Élton Medeiros and Hermínio Bello de Carvalho (1965)

Ela tem uma rosa de ouro nos cabelos/ She has a golden rose in her hair
E outras mais tão graciosas;/ And others too so lovely
Ela tem outras rosas que são os meus desvelos/ She has other roses that are my devotion
E seu olhar faz de mim um cravo ciumento/ And her gaze turns me into a jealous thorn
Em seu jardim de rosas/ In her garden of roses
Rosa de ouro, que tesouro/ Golden rose, what a treasure
Ter essa rosa plantada em meu peito!/ To have this rose planted in my heart
Rosa de ouro, que tesouro/ Golden rose, what a treasure
Ter essa rosa plantada no fundo do peito!…/ To have this rose planted deep in my heart…

 

— Commentary —

Screenshot 2018-08-09 at 1.10.29 PM
Paulinho da Viola and Élton MedeirosPhoto via Instituto Moreira Salles.

I translated all of these together because they’re all recorded as a single medley track on the album Samba na Madrugada (1966). In April 1966, just before leaving for the First Festival of Black Arts in Dakar, Senegal, Paulinho da Viola and Élton Medeiros hurriedly recorded the albumwhich became an enduring samba classic.  (It was supposed to be called Na Madrugada, but the record company misprinted the name, and it stuck.)

According to Élton Medeiros, in an interview recorded in 1985 for the General Archive of the City of Rio de Janeiro, he and Paulinho recorded the album in a single night on the eve of their trip to Africa, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.  Medeiros laughed as he recalled the other musicians joking that “Benil [Santos, the album’s producer] thinks you’re going to die on that plane,” because Santos was in such a rush to record everything before they left.

Medeiros said that by the middle of the night he was exhausted, and the album included moments of him falling asleep, including at the beginning of the first song in this ‘potpourri,’ or medley, “Mascarada.” He said he could be heard nodding off as the song began but that they were in too much of a rush to do a retake.

In 1968, the renowned music critic Luiz Carlos Maciel wrote in the Rio daily Correio da Manhã that the album transmitted a “pleasant spontaneity,” with performances offering the “freshness of improvisation”; Medeiros’s description of the recording session helps to explain that vibe. Maciel praised Samba na Madrugada as a model samba album, beginning, “O samba carioca has its traditions. And almost all of them can be found on this LP by Paulinho da Viola and Élton Medeiros.” He wrote that the collection of sambas revealed “roots on the morro” — the favela — “but a trunk nurtured by the asphalt,” or more refined city below.

Medeiros recalled that he and Paulinho were in a bit of a fight at the time with Zé Kéti, with whom they had been performing and recording as A Voz do Morro since they all began to frequent Cartola’s restaurant Zicartola together in 1964. So they abandoned A Voz do Morro and decided, upon Benil Santos’s urging, to record an album on their own.

The trombonist on the album is Raul de Barros, who also traveled with the Brazilian delegation to the festival in Senegal. Élton Medeiros played trombone as a teenager, and had always been a vocal admirer of the instrument. He stopped playing when the friend whose trombone he had borrowed asked for it back; after that, he said he went into a botequim and bought a matchbox — a cheaper and more portable instrument. He can be heard playing matchbox on this recording.

A couple notes on the other songs here: “Recado” was the first samba Paulinho da Viola played when he went in late 1964 to Portela Samba School. When the composers there asked him to show them one of his compositions, he played the first part of “Recado” twice and recalls that Casquinha jumped in with the second part on the spot.

Cartola and Élton Medeiros also composed “O Sol Nascerá (A Sorrir)” on the spot when challenged to compose a samba one night at the house on Rua das Andradas that prefigured Zicartola.

Main source for this post:  Élton Medeiros depoimento para o Projeto Memória Músical Carioca, Arquivo Geral da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro, 4 July 1985.

“O mundo é assim” – “Nascer e florescer” – “Quantas lágrimas”

Lyrics from “O mundo é assim” by Alvaiade (first released in 1975) and “Nascer e florescer” by Manacéia (first released in 2000)


“O mundo é assim”

O dia se renova todo dia // The day starts anew every day
E eu envelheço cada dia e cada mês // While I grow older by the day and by the month
O mundo passa por mim todos os dias // The world passes through me every day
Enquanto eu passo pelo mundo uma vez // While I pass through the world only once
(2 x)
A natureza é perfeita // Nature is absolute
Não há quem possa duvidar // No one can question that
A noite é o dia que dorme // Night is the day in slumber
O dia é a noite ao despertar // Day is the night upon waking

“Nascer e florescer”

Não tenho ambição neste mundo, não // No, I have no ambition in this world
Mas sou rico, da graça de Deus // But I’m rich, by the grace of god
Tenho em minha vida um amor de valor  // In my life I have a love of great worth
E meu tesouro encantador// My enchanting treasure
Sei que reclamas em vão // I know you object in vain
Porque não tens a compreensão // Because you don’t understand
Que o mundo é bom // That the world is good
Para quem sabe viver // For those who know how to live
E se conforma com que Deus lhe dá // And accept what god gives them
A nossa vida é nascer e florescer // Our life is to be born and to bloom
Para mais tarde morrer // To then go on to die

— Commentary —

Velha Guarda da Portela
Front row, L-R: Alvaide, Manacéia, Osmar do Cavaquinho and Olímpio da Cuíca. Velha Guarda da Portela, 1970s.

Alvaiade (Oswaldo Silva) was one of Portela’s most important composers in the school’s early years. A trusted friend of founder Paulo da Portela, Alvaiade took a leading role in the school after Paulo’s bitter departure in 1941. He was one of few early portelenses born and raised in the school’s largely rural (at the time) neighborhood, Oswaldo Cruz; many others, including Paulo, had moved out to Oswaldo Cruz from the central port area of Rio after urban reforms reduced the housing supply in the early 1900s. (For more on that, see this post.)

Like Manacéia, Alvaiade had a special talent for composing exquisite, poignant lyrics using the simplest language, giving voice to the “wisdom of the people,” as the Portela website boasts.

Brazil was introduced to Alvaiade’s fellow portelense Manacéia through the 1970 album Portela Passado de Glória,  produced by Paulinho da Viola. The album compiled fourteen unreleased, decades-old sambas by some of the school’s founders and earliest composers —  including Manacéia’s “Quantas Lágrimas” — and officially launched the Velha Guarda da Portela as a group in itself.  Four years later, Cristina Buarque, Chico Buarque’s sister, achieved national recognition – and greater recognition for Manacéia – with her recording of “Quantas Lágrimas” on her first solo album, Cristina. From the 1940s until his death in 1995, Manacéia was one of the school’s most esteemed composers, alongside his brothers Mijinha and Aniceto da Portela, and “Quantas Lágrimas” became a lasting favorites of the Velha Guarda:

Ah, quantas lágrimas eu tenho derramado// Oh how many tears I’ve shed
Só em saber que não posso mais // Just for knowing that I can’t
Reviver o meu passado // Relive my past
Eu vivia cheio de esperança // I used to be so full of hope
E de alegria eu cantava eu sorria // and joy; I sang, I smiled
Mas hoje em dia eu não tenho mais // But these days I no longer have
A alegria dos tempos atrás // That joy of days gone by (2x)
Só melancolia os meus olhos trazem // My eyes carry only melancholy
Ai quanta saudade a lembrança traz // Ah how much saudade memory brings
Se houvesse retrocesso na idade // If there were a way to turn back age
Eu não teria saudade // I wouldn’t miss
Da minha mocidade….// My youth..

Lupicínio Rodrigues: “Eu não sou de reclamar” – “Nervos de aço” – “Não sou louco” – “Vingança” – “Caixa de Ódio” – “Cadeira Vazia”

“Eu não sou de reclamar” (1952)


Eu não sou de reclamar // I’m not one to complain
Eu não sou // I’m really not
Mas o que estou sofrendo // But what I’m suffering
É demais // Is just too much
Nos lugares onde eu vou // In the places I go
Quem conhece quem eu sou // Anyone who knows who I am
Diz que sou o mais covarde dos mortais // Says I’m the most cowardly of all mortals
E queriam que eu matasse // And they thought I should kill
O crime não compensa // But crime doesn’t pay
Só Deus dá a sentença // Only God gets the final say
ao pecador. // over the sinner
Se eu matasse não podia esperar // If I killed, I wouldn’t be able to look forward to
Ver algum dia // Some day seeing
As lágrima cruéis do meu amor // The cruel tears of my love

Se queriam que eu matasse // If they wanted me to kill
O crime não compensa // Crime doesn’t pay
Só Deus dá a sentença  // Only God gets the final say
ao pecador // over the sinner


“Nervos de aço” (1947)

Você sabe o que é ter um amor, meu senhor? // Do you know what it is to have a love, my fellow?
Ter loucura por uma mulher // Be mad about a woman
E depois encontrar esse amor, meu senhor // And then find that woman, my fellow
Ao lado de um tipo qualquer? // By the side of some nobody?
Você sabe o que é ter um amor, meu senhor // Do you know what it is to have a love, my fellow?
E por ele quase morrer // And nearly die for that love
E depois encontrá-lo em um braço // And then find her in an arm
Que nem um pedaço do seu pode ser?// That can’t be even a little bit yours?
Há pessoas de nervos de aço // There are people with nerves of steel
Sem sangue nas veias e sem coração // Without blood in their veins, without hearts
Mas não sei se passando o que eu passo // But I don’t know if, going through what I’m going through
Talvez não lhes venha qualquer reação // It’s possible they wouldn’t have a reaction
Eu não sei se o que trago no peito // I don’t know if what I have in my chest
É ciúme, é despeito, amizade ou horror // Is jealousy, spite, friendship or horror
Eu só sei é que quando a vejo // I only know that when I see her
Me dá um desejo de morte ou de dor // It fills me with a desire for death or pain


“Não sou louco” (1950)


Eles me chamam de louco // They call me crazy
Porque eu bebo, senhor // Because I drink, oh lord
Depois que bebo saio na rua // And after I drink I go out in the street
Gritando por meu amor // Screaming for my love
Louco, não senhor!  // Crazy, no sir!
Eu não sou louco! // I’m not crazy!
É que um coração magoado // It’s just that an injured heart
Não fala baixo nem bebe pouco // Doesn’t speak softly or drink lightly
Se eles soubessem a minha situação // If they only knew my situation
O quanto me custa aturar o meu coração… // How hard it is to stand my heart
Iriam compreender que eu não sou louco! // They would understand that I’m not crazy
É que um coração magoado // It’s just that an injured heart
Não fala baixo nem bebe pouco // Doesn’t speak softly or drink lightly

“Vingança” (1951)

Eu gostei tanto, // I was so, so pleased
Tanto quando me contaram // When they told me
Que lhe encontraram // That they found her
Bebendo e chorando // Drinking and crying
Na mesa de um bar // At a bar table
E que quando os amigos do peito // And when close friends
Por mim perguntaram // Asked about me
Um soluço cortou sua voz, // A sob strangled her voice
Não lhe deixou falar.// Didn’t let her speak
Eu gostei tanto,// I was so, so pleased
Tanto, quando me contaram // When they told me
Que tive mesmo de fazer esforço // That I actually had to make an effort
Prá ninguém notar // For no one to notice
O remorso talvez seja a causa // Maybe remorse is the cause
Do seu desespero // Of her despondency
Ela deve estar bem consciente // She’s got to be well aware
Do que praticou, // Of what she’s done
Me fazer passar tanta vergonha // Humiliating me
Com um companheiro // With a friend
E a vergonha // And shame
É a herança maior que meu pai me deixou; // Is the greatest inheritance my father left me
Mas, enquanto houver força em meu peito // But as long as there’s strength in my chest
Eu nao quero mais nada // I want nothing more –
Só vingança, vingança, vingança // Only revenge, revenge, revenge
Aos santos clamar // Imploring the saints
Ela há de rolar como as pedras // She’s sure to roll like the stones
Que rolam na estrada // That roll down the road
Sem ter nunca um cantinho de seu // Without ever having their own little home
Pra poder descansar // To take rest in


“Caixa de ódio” (first recording – 1966)

Tem coisas que as vezes tão fácil julgamos // There are things we sometimes think are so easy
Que até nos achamos capaz de fazer // That we even feel we could do them
Até num coqueiro as vezes trepamos depois não achamos por onde descer // We even climb up a coconut tree, and then can’t find the way down
Um arranhãozinho uma simples batida //A little scratch, a light blow
Tem feito ferida capaz de matar // Have caused wounds that can kill
Por isso que eu sempre vos disse querida // That’s why I’ve always told you, dear
Que a gente na vida deve se cuidar // That in life, we need to take care
Você por exemplo jamais pensaria // You, for example, would never have thought
Que uma fantasia em um carnaval // That a Carnaval capriccio
Um simples prazer de uma noite de orgia // The simple pleasure of a night of revelry
Pudesse algum dia causar tanto mal // Could cause such ruin one day
Matar um amor que já tem tantos anos // Killing a love that’s lasted so many years
Criar um inferno dentro do seu lar // Creating a hell in your own home
Fazer do meu peito uma caixa de ódio // Making, of my chest, a box of scorn
Como um coração que não quer perdoar // Like a heart that won’t forgive  (2x)

“Cadeira vazia” (Lupicínio Rodrigues & Alcides Gonçalves, 1950)

Entra meu amor fique a vontade // Come in, my love, make yourself at home
E diz com sinceridade o que desejas de mim // And tell me, with sincerity, what you want from me
Entra podes entrar a casa é tua // Come in, you can come in, the house is yours
Já que cansaste de viver na rua // Now that you’ve grown weary of living a vagrant life
E os teus sonhos chegaram ao fim // And your dreams have come to an end
Eu sofri demais quando partiste // I suffered so much when you left
Passei tantas horas tristes // I spent so many morose hours
Que não gosto de lembrar esse dia // That I don’t like to remember that day
Mas de uma coisa pode ter certeza // But you can be sure of one thing
Teu lugar aqui na minha mesa // You have a place here at my table
Tua cadeira ainda está vazia // Your chair is still empty
Tu es a filha pródiga que volta // You’re the prodigal daughter who returns
Procurando em minha porta // Seeking at my door
O que o mundo não te deu // What the world didn’t provide you
E faz de conta que eu sou o teu paizinho // And you make believe I’m your daddy
Que há tanto tempo aqui ficou sozinho // Who’s  been alone here for so long
A esperar por um carinho teu // Waiting for your love
Voltaste estás bem, estou contente // You’ve come back, you’re well- I’m content
Só me encontraste um pouco diferente // You’ve just found me a little different
Vou te falar de todo coração // I’ll tell you, with all my heart
Não te darei carinho nem afeto // I won’t give you love or affection
Mas pra te abrigar podes ocupar meu teto // But for shelter you may stay under my roof
Pra te alimentar podes comer meu pão // And for nourishment you may eat my bread (2x)

— Commentary —

Lupicinio is still known as the
Lupicínio is still known as the “Criador do dor-de-cotovelo” – the creator – or God – of songs about jealousy and heartache.

Lupicínio Rodrigues was born in the poor neighborhood of Ilhota, Porto Alegre, on a rainy September 16, 1914. He was an unlikely dark-skinned samba composer in the overwhelmingly white southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, far-removed from the samba stronghold of Rio de Janeiro.  And while his soft-spoken, pleasant demeanour won him many friends, but it was the bitter broken-heartedness of his lyrics that won him fans across Brazil beginning in the late 1930s. His lyrics were so rawly evocative of the writhing of love gone bad that he earned the eternal appellation of “God of dor-de-cotovelo”  — the sentiment that translates literally to elbow pain, and encapsulates the mixture of disconsolateness,  jealousy, spite and confused affection that tends to follow romantic disillusionments. (Elbow pain because of too much time hunched on one’s elbows, head in hands.)

As I wrote in this previous post, through Lupicínio, the expression came to define a musical genre that expresses and even aggrandizes such suffering. Carlos Rennó says in his profile of the singer, “It’s been said that in all of Lupicínio Rodrigues’s songs, he either betrays or is betrayed.” And according to Lupicínio, whose commentary was published in Augusto de Campos‘s  book Balanço da Bossa, everything he sang about was “the truth – my life.”

Lup_PortoAlegreIndeed, in the 1970s, Lupicínio said he wasn’t even sure why he earned his nickname  but he remembered that when he had a program on Radio Record, everyone would be in tears when he finished, so the host naturally began to refer to him as “god of the dor-de-cotovelo.” Again, his measured, no-frills explanation was that he “was, in fact, suffering a lot at the time.”

Lupicínio’s first hit was the 1938 samba “Se acaso você chegasse,” which also happens to be one of his few more upbeat sambas. The song reportedly made its way from Porto Alegre to Rio de Janeiro by the mouths of sailors, and Lupicínio used to say he was shocked when he heard his song in Porto Alegre, floating in on the radio waves from Rio de Janeiro. A year later, suffering from breakup, Lupicínio went to spend a few months in Rio de Janeiro, where he briefly became a fixture in the city’s samba nightlife, and got to know singers like Francisco Alves, who would go on to record many of his greatest successes.

Lupicínio liked to say there were two types of dor-de-cotovelo: State and Federal. “State” dor-de-cotovelo came when you met someone for a “love for a night,” and then felt longing for them later on; federal was something deeper — the pain “we never forget, that we carry with us forever”: He says “Vingança” expresses an “eternal dor-de-cotovelo” of his. It’s also the kind of pain he expresses in “Nervos de aço,” which he wrote after finding his first fiancée in the arms of another man.

“Cadeira vazia” was written, he recounted, for a girl who had left Rio Grande do Sul to go to Rio de Janeiro but wrote a letter (to him, presumably) saying how much she missed home; he responded with the song.

He was such a specialist in his art of this kind of southern Brazilian blues that even more than forty years after his death, and with only about one hundred compositions to his name, his works continue to be re-interpreted and released by contemporary Brazilian singers like Arrigo Barnabé, who released the album Caixa de ódio, with only Lupicínio’s songs, and Arnoldo Antunes, who released Lupicínio’s “Judiária” in a hard-rock adaptation.  Among the “old guard,” two of the most celebrated and appropriate singers of Lupicínio’s songs are Elza Soares, who did a Lupicínio tour in 2014, for his centenary, and Jamelão. The withering raw emotion of Lupicínio’s songs went out of vogue during the age of Bossa Nova and the politically wrought years of the dictatorship, but has swung back in full force, a tribute to Lupicinío’s expert expression of the timeless traits of romantic suffering.

On August 27, 1974, Lupicínio  – known affectionately as Lupi – died from heart failure. It was a dreary, rainy day, similar to the day he was born. He was 59.