“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..

“Vem amenizar”; “O Mar Serenou”; “Ouro Desça do seu Trono/ Mil Reis”

Lyrics from “Vem amenizar” by Candeia and Waldir 59 (1978)

Vem amenizar a minha dor, amor // Come alleviate my pain, my love
Tu és entre elas a mais bela flor // You are, among them, the most beautiful flower
Vem porque só eu te quero bem // Come, because only I want the best for you
És a vida da minha vida, querida // You’re the life of my life, dear

Vem dar lenitivo ao meu pobre coração// Come give relief to my poor heart
Que tanto sofre a esperar por teu amor // That suffers so much for your love
Vem suavizar esta paixão // Come soften this passion
E exterminar toda esta dor // And exterminate this pain
Ora, vem por favor // Now, come, please…


Lyrics from “O mar serenou” (Candeia, 1975)


O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia //It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea

O pescador não tem medo // The fisherman isn’t afraid
É segredo se volta ou se fica no fundo do mar // It’s a mystery if she comes back or stays in the depths of the sea
Ao ver a morena bonita sambando // Upon seeing the beautiful morena dancing samba
Se explica que não vai pescar // He tells himself he won’t go fishing –
Deixa o mar serenar // Let the sea be serene

O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia // It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea

A lua brilhava vaidosa // The moon shone brightly, vain,
De si orgulhosa e prosa com que deus lhe deu // Full of herself, showing off what God gave her
Ao ver a morena sambando // When she saw the morena dancing samba
Foi se acabrunhando então adormeceu o sol apareceu // She lost spirit, fell asleep, and the sun appeared

O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia // It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea

Um frio danado que vinha // A bitter cold coming
Do lado gelado que o povo até se intimidou // From the frigid side left the people intimidated
Morena aceitou o desafio sambou // But the morena accepted the challenge, danced
E o frio sentiu seu calor e o samba se esquentou // And the cold felt her warmth, and the samba heated up

O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia // It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea

A estrela que estava escondida // The star that was hidden
Sentiu-se atraída depois então, apareceu // Felt drawn in and then came out
Mas ficou tão enternecida // But she became so enraptured
Indagou a si mesma a estrela afinal será ela ou sou eu //She asked herself, ‘who’s the star, after all, me or her?’

O mar serenou quando ela pisou na areia // The sea turned serene when she stepped on the sand
Quem samba na beira do mar é sereia // It’s a siren who dances samba at the edge of the sea


Lyrics from “Ouro, Desça do Seu Trono” (Paulo da Portela, Candeia – 1978) & “Mil Reis” (Candeia & Noca da Portela, 1978)

Ouro Desça Do Seu Trono // Gold, come down off your throne
Venha Ver O Abandono // Come see the forlornness
De Milhões De Almas Aflitas, Como Gritam // Of millions of suffering souls, how they cry
Sua Majestade, A Prata // Her Majesty, Silver [Money]
Mãe Ingrata, Indiferente E Fria // Thankless Mother, Indifferent and Cold
Sorri Da Nossa Agonia // Smirks at our agony

Diamante, Safira E Rubi // Diamond, Saphire, Ruby
São Pedras Valiosas // Are valuable stones
Mas Eu Não Troco Por Ti // But I wouldn’t trade you for them
Porque És Mais Preciosa // Because you’re even more precious
De Tanto Ver O Poder // After so many times seeing power
Prevalecer Na Mão Do Mal // In the hand of evil
O Homem Deixa Se Vender //
A Honra Pelo Vil Metal // Man lets his honor be sold for vile metal
(refrain)

Nessa Terra Sem Paz Com Tanta Guerra // In this land without peace, with so much war
A Hipocrisia Se Venera // Hypocrisy is venerated
O Dinheiro É Quem Impera // Money reigns
Sinto Minha Alma Tristonha // I feel my soul heavy with sorrow
De Tanto Ver Falsidade // From seeing so much falseness
E Muitos Já Tem Vergonha // And many have grown ashamed
Do Amor E Honestidade // Of love and honesty
(refrain)

— Mil Reis —

Hoje tu voltas aqui com semblante a sorrir // Today you return here, a smile on your face
Esperando que eu te receba e te dê // Expecting me to receive you and give you
Muitos beijos de amor // Many kisses full of love
Esquecendo afinal o que entre nós se passou // Forgetting, let’s face it, what happened between us
Foi você quem errou // You were the one who went wrong
Te ajoelhas aos meus pés, mas não vales mil réis // You kneel at my feet, but you’re not worth 1,000 reis
Te conheço, afinal // After all, I know you
Não mereço perder tantos anos da vida // I don’t deserve to lose so many years of my life
Tentarei te esquecer, perdida // I’ll try to forget you, you’re lost
Perdida porque não honraste um homem // Lost because you didn’t honor a man
Manchaste o meu nome e tudo quanto te ofertei // You tarnished my name and everything I gave you
Jogaste fora, como moeda sem valor, um grande amor // You threw away, like a coin without value, a great love
Quem me encontrou, me valorizou // The one who found valued me

— Commentary —

Candeia on the guitar in 1969, with Martinho da Vila behind him.
Candeia on the guitar in 1969, with Martinho da Vila behind him.

Today, August 17, 2015, would have been Candeia‘s 80th birthday; he died of a heart attack at age 43 on November 16, 1978.

Because of his tremendous impact and short life, Candeia has been called a “lightning bolt that passed through Brazilian popular music.” Candeia achieved such greatness in such short time in part because he was born into the Portela samba school in Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, in 1935. His father, Candeia Senior, was involved in the founding of the samba school, and Candeia grew up with birthday parties and holidays celebrated with feijoada, cachaça and pagodes that lasted for days. By age 15 he was a composer for Portela, and by age 17 he had his first Portela carnival championship under his belt, with  “As seis datas magnas” (Candeia & Altair Prego).

Candeia’s life was short and tough: he spent his last 13 years in a wheelchair, paralyzed by gunshot wounds from a road-rage brawl.  But the hardship of being bound to a wheelchair made his music richer and fuelled his social activism, and his untimely death makes his lyrics more poignant to listeners today:  His moving verses about life, race, social justice, love, samba, beer and betrayal are some of Brazil’s most beloved.

For more on Candeia, go to this earlier, more thorough post:  https://lyricalbrazil.com/2014/01/17/coisas-banais-and-preciso-me-encontrar/.

Here’s Candeia’s close friend Waldir 59 recently singing “Vem amenizar”, with Teresa Cristina, a contemporary samba singer and composer:

Source: Luiz Antônio Simas fala sobre Candeia; Candeia: Luz da Inspiração by João Baptista M. Vargens

Foi um rio que passou em minha vida

Lyrics from “Foi um rio que passou em minha vida” by Paulinho da Viola (1969)

If some day my heart is consulted
To find out if it ever went astray
It will be tough to deny
My heart has a compulsion for love; love isn’t easy to find
The mark of my dashed dreams is deep, is deep
Only a love can erase it…
And yet, aiii, and yet, there’s a special story
That in just a short time left an everlasting imprint on my heart
It was one day during Carnival
I was weighed down with a certain sorrow, not thinking of new love
When someone I don’t remember announced: Portela, Portela
And the samba that brought daybreak captured my heart
Ah, my Portela, when I saw you go by
I felt my heart race — my whole body enraptured
My joy return
I can’t define that blue
It wasn’t of the sky
It wasn’t of the sea
It was a river that passed through my life
And my heart let itself be carried away
It was a river that passed through my life
And my heart let itself be carried away

— Interpretation —

Odeon EP, 1969
Odeon EP, 1969
Paulinho da Viola saw the title "Por onde andou meu coração" (Where my heart has gone, roughly) and was inspired to compose this samba, which begins with musings about his heart having gone astray.
Paulinho da Viola saw the title “Por onde andou meu coração” (Where my heart has gone, roughly) and was inspired to compose this samba, which begins with musings about his heart having gone astray.

Walking down Rua México in downtown Rio one day in 1969, Paulinho da Viola looked in the window of a book shop and a title jumped out at him: “Por Onde Andou Meu Coração” (Where My Heart Has Gone, roughly). He liked something about the phrase, and it stuck in with him.

Paulinho had recently composed the lyrics for a tremendous hit for his rival samba school Mangueira, “Sei lá, Mangueira,” and he was feeling a bit guilty about the success of this samba. So as he recounts, when he got home that day, he started playing around with his guitar and composed this samba, using the book’s title as inspiration for this beautiful song dedicated to his beloved samba school Portela.  Portelenses fell in love with the song immediately, and it has become his best known and loved composition of all time. (For more on the story behind the song, see this post on “Sei lá, Mangueira.”)

Paulinho recalls that he initially wrote the samba with a different melody, which he explains and sings for what he says is the first time in this recent video of his show in Circo Voador.  Paulinho da Viola started singing “la-iá, la-iá, la-iá la-iá” at the end of the song after hearing Jair Rodrigues’s recording, and he recalls Jair always joked that this meant he was Paulinho’s partner in the composition.

Lyrics in Portuguese

Se um dia
Meu coração for consultado
Para saber se andou errado
Será difícil negar
Meu coração
Tem mania de amor
Amor não é fácil de achar
A marca dos meus desenganos
Ficou, ficou
Só um amor pode apagar
A marca dos meus desenganos
Ficou, ficou
Só um amor pode apagar…

Porém! Ai porém!
Há um caso diferente
Que marcou num breve tempo
Meu coração para sempre
Era dia de Carnaval
Carregava uma tristeza
Não pensava em novo amor
Quando alguém
Que não me lembro anunciou
Portela, Portela
O samba trazendo alvorada
Meu coração conquistou…
Ah! Minha Portela!
Quando vi você passar
Senti meu coração apressado
Todo o meu corpo tomado
Minha alegria voltar
Não posso definir
Aquele azul
Não era do céu
Nem era do mar
Foi um rio
Que passou em minha vida
E meu coração se deixou levar
Foi um rio
Que passou em minha vida
E meu coração se deixou levar
Foi um rio
Que passou em minha vida
E meu coração se deixou levar!