Não quero mais amar a ninguém

Lyrics from “Não quero mais amar a ninguém” by Carlos Cachaça, Cartola and Zé da Zilda (Zé com fome), 1936



I no longer wish to love anyone
I wasn’t happy, fate didn’t will
My first love
It died like the flower, yet a bud
Leaving thorns that tore up my heart
(repeat)
A seed of love, I know that’s what I’ve been since birth
But without life and radiance, that’s my lot
I tried for the first time to make a dream reverberate
‘Twas a kiss that was born and died, without ever being given
(repeat)
Sometimes I burst out laughing upon remembering the past
I never thought of love, I never loved nor was I loved
If you judge that I’m lying, I can swear by it
It was a mere dream that came and went, and nothing more

— Interpretation —

Carlos Cachaça, right, with Cartola and Nelson Cavaquinho.
Carlos Cachaça, right, with Cartola, center, and Nelson Cavaquinho.

The 1978 documentary “Os avós do samba” identifies Carlos Cachaça as the foremost symbol of the history of samba, or as he called himself, the “archive and library of Mangueira,” the historic hillside neighborhood and the samba school he helped to found in 1929. The documentary then turns to his wife, Menininha (at minute 04:35), to ask her her favorite song by her husband; she begins to sing, “Não quero mais amar a ninguém.” That’s her favorite, she states; a second favorite, she couldn’t pick:


Carlos Cachaça being honored by Rio's most celebrated sambistas at his 96th birthday party. Photo via Almanaque do Samba.
Carlos Cachaça being honored by Rio’s most celebrated sambistas at his 96th birthday party. Photo via Almanaque do Samba.

Carlos Moreira de Castro got his nickname at age 17 to differentiate him from another Carlos on the Mangueira hillside who was  less fond of the sugar-cane liquor. In the documentary above, Menininha relates that her husband, then 76, long ago stopped drinking cachaça. (Maybe that’s how he lived to be 97.) But in spite of his healthier habits, she remarks, he “still doesn’t make it home some nights.”

So where does he sleep? “Aí é que a cobra fuma – não sei!,” she responds. (Literally, “that’s when the snake smokes — I don’t know.” The phrase is similar to the Portuguese, “Aí é que o bicho pega,” roughly and dryly translatable in English as, “Now there you’ve got me!”)  

The line from this song, “Semente de amor eu sei que sou desde nascença,” translated here as “A seed of love, I know that’s what I’ve been since birth,” was celebrated and archived by the Brazilian Academy of Letters.  

A prolific poet and lyricist throughout his life, Carlos Cachaça’s first and only solo album was recorded in 1976, when he was 74 years old.  He worked for the railway to make a living, and was relatively unknown during the Golden Age of radio in Brazil, from around 1932 to the mid 1950s. The exception was Aracy de Almeida‘s 1936 recording of this song:


For more on the friendship and partnership between Carlos Cachaça and Cartola, see Acontece and Alvorada.

Paulinho da Viola sings “Não quero mais amar a ninguem”:


Lyrics in Portuguese

Não quero mais amar a ninguém
Não fui feliz, o destino não quis
O meu primeiro amor
Morreu como a flor, ainda em botão,
Deixando espinhos que dilaceram meu coração.

Semente de amor sei que sou desde nascença,
Mas sem ter a vida e fulgor, heis minha sentença,
Tentei pela primeira vez um sonho vibrar,
Foi beijo que nasceu e morreu, sem se chegar a dar,.
(bisa a primeira parte)
Às vezes dou gargalhada ao lembrar do passado,
Nunca pensei em amor, nunca amei nem fui amado,
Se julgas que estou mentindo, jurar sou capaz,
Foi simples sonho que passou e nada mais

Main sources for this post: documentary Os avos do samba (1978) and O Almanaque do Samba by André Diniz

Maringá

Lyrics from “Maringá” by Joubert de Carvalho (1932), recorded by Gastão Formenti:


It was in a caravan that the cabocla Maringá ended up being the migrant who caused the greatest stir
And along with her came someone who begged that she never forget the caboclo who stayed behind

In days of old, an unrivaled joy reigned over the people of the city of Pombal
But the drought came, all the rain went away, leaving only the water of my eyes
When they cry
Maringá, Maringá
After you departed everything became so sad here that I began to imagine
Maringá, Maringá
For happiness to happen, this longing must go strike somewhere else
Maringá, Maringá
Come back here to my sertão, so that the heart of a caboclo can be at peace again

— Interpretation —

In 1972, Maringá mayor José Valente dedicated a bust to Joubert de Carvalho, with the inscription, "City that was born of a song."
In 1972, Maringá mayor José Valente dedicated a bust to Joubert de Carvalho, with the inscription, “City that was born of a song.”

This song holds the rare distinction of having a Brazilian city named in its honor.

Av BRasil Maringá 1953
Avenida Brasil in Maringá, Paraná, Brazil, 1953.

In the mid-1940s,  the British-owned Companhia de Melhoramentos do Norte do Paraná built a planned city in the southeastern state of Paraná, Brazil. When it came time to give the city a name, in 1947, Elizabeth Thomas – wife of the company’s president – suggested “Maringá,” the name of one of her favorite Brazilian songs.(Some sources report she heard the workers singing it as they built the city.) The name stuck, and Maringá is now the third-largest city in Paraná.

The composer Joubert de Carvalho was a doctor by profession (a pioneer of psychosomatic medicine in Brazil), and in 1932 he had his heart set on becoming physician for Brazil’s Instituto dos Marítimos. To pursue this coveted government position, he turned to a friend in high places: José Americo de Almeida, Minister of Transport and Public Works for President Getulio Vargas‘s interim government (1930 – 1934). An official working in Almeida’s cabinet, Rui Carneiro, suggested that the composer might improve his chances by writing a song about the drought devastating the northeast:  Almeida was from the northeastern state of Paraíba, and would surely appreciate the gesture.

Without delay, Carvalho composed this song about Maria from Ingá, abbreviated to Maringá.  Ingá is a town near Campina Grande, Paraíba,  one of the most desperately drought-stricken areas at the time. The song also makes reference to the city of Pombal, Paraíba.

Every year in the interior of Ceará, the "Drought Walk" (Caminhada da Seca) pays tribute to migrants who fled the drought of 1932.
Every year in the interior of Ceará, the “Drought Walk” (Caminhada da Seca) pays tribute to migrants who fled the drought of 1932.

Gastão Formenti recorded “Maringá” in June 1932 and the song indeed helped Joubert de Carvalho ingratiate himself with Americo de Almeida and get the post he wanted at the Maritime Institute, where he ended up becoming a director.  Americo de Almeida, meanwhile, is remembered as a savior for the northeast during and after the drought. When rains finally began again, around December 1932, conditions of poor hygiene and malnutrition led to the outbreak of vicious epidemics.  Almeida organized the Medical Commission for Collaboration in Assistance and Prophylactic Medicine for Flagelados (drought victims) as a disaster-relief effort. Much thanks to Americo’s dedication, the government managed to keep the plague in check within a few months.

The drought of 1932 was one of the worst of the century for Brazil's northeast. Above, migrants who passed away while trying to escape.
The drought of 1932 was one of the worst of the century for Brazil’s northeast. Above, migrants who passed away while trying to escape.

Caboclo(a) loosely means someone of mixed white and Indian blood. Sertão refers to the dry hinterlands of Brazil’s northeastern region.

Joubert de Carvalho was born in Uberaba, Minas Gerais, on March 3, 1900. He moved to São Paulo with his family at age 13, the same year he composed his first song: “Cruz vermelha,” inspired by a children’s hospital in São Paulo. His interest in medicine and composing never waned: a few years later he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he studied medicine and continued composing, as he did throughout his long medical career at the Instituto dos Marítimos.  He died on September 20th, 1977.

Lyrics in Portuguese

Foi numa léva
Que a cabocla Maringá
Ficou sendo a retirante
Que mais dava o que falá.

E junto dela
Veio alguem que suplicou
Prá que nunca se esquecesse
De um caboclo que ficou

Antigamente
Uma alegria sem igual
Dominava aquela gente
Da cidade de Pombal.

Mas veio a seca
Toda chuva foi-se embora
Só restando então as água
Dos meus óio quando chóra.

Estribilho
Maringá, Maringá,
Depois que tu partiste,
Tudo aqui ficou tão triste,
Que eu garrei a maginá:

Maringá, Maringá,
Para havê felicidade,
É preciso que a saudade
Vá batê noutro lugá.

Maringá, Maringá,
Volta aqui pro meu sertão
Pra de novo o coração
De um caboclo assossegá.

Main Sources for this post:  Correspondence with Jairo Severiano; Como e Porque Nascem as Canções, Radio Batuta, Instituto Moreira Salles

Trilogia do Alumbramento

Lyrics from Trilogia do Alumbramento: “Súplica” (1979), “O poder da criação” (1980), and “Minha missão” (1981) by João Nogueira and Paulo César Pinheiro



Good Audio Versions: Súplica, O poder da criação, Minha missão

“Súplica”

The body, death takes away
The voice vanishes in the wind
Pain rises into the darkness
The name, the works immortalize
Death blesses the spirit, the breeze brings music
Which in life, is always the strongest light
Which illuminates life beyond death
Come to me, oh music, come in the air
Hear my plea from where you are
I know well it may not be the only one
Come to me, oh music, come dry the people’s tears
Everyone already suffers too much, help the world to live in peace

“O poder da criação”

No, no one makes samba just because they choose to
No force in the world interferes with the power of creation
No, it’s not necessary to be happy, nor afflicted
Nor to take refuge in the most beautiful place in search of inspiration
No, it’s a light that comes all of a sudden, with the speed of a falling star
That ignites the mind and the heart
Yes, it makes one think there’s a greater force that guides us
That’s in the air
It comes in the middle of the night, or in the light of day
It comes to torment us

And the poet lets himself be carried away by that magic
And a verse starts to come, and a melody starts to come
And the people begin to sing… Lalalaiá….

“Minha missão”

When I sing, it’s to alleviate my tears
And the tears of those who’ve already suffered so much
When I sing, I feel the radiance of a saint
I’m kneeling at the feet of God
I sing to announce the day, I sing to brighten up the night
I sing to denounce the scourge, I also sing against tyranny
I sing because in a melody I kindle in the heart of the people
The hope for a new world, and the struggle to live in peace

Of the Poder da Criação (power of creation), I’m a continuation
And I want to express gratitude that my Súplica (plea) was heard
I’m a messenger of music
My song is a mission, it has the force of prayer
And I fulfill my duty to those who live in tears
I live to sing, and I sing to live

When I sing, death runs through me
And I belt out a song from my throat
Cause the cicada, when it sings, dies
And wood when it dies, sings

— Interpretation —

João Nogueira and Paulo César Pinheiro (seated) composed over 50 sambas together. They celebrated their partnership with the release of the album Parcerias in 1994, which features 17 of their top hits.
João Nogueira and Paulo César Pinheiro (seated) composed over 50 sambas together. They celebrated their partnership with the release of the album Parcerias in 1994, which features 17 of their top hits.

This trilogy was inspired  by an argument that Paulo César Pinheiro witnessed one day at Odeon Records in Rio de Janeiro. Pinheiro looked on as a grumpy director at the studio scolded a maestro who had let his cigarette ashes fall on the floor. The studio was swank and sparkling; Prince Charles had been flown in to inaugurate it. But as Paulo César Pinheiro watched the tiff between director and maestro, he reflected on how silly it was: The posh studio that the director was so concerned with protecting would be gone one day, and the names on a plaque on the wall, including Prince Charles’s, would fade away. The music that was being recorded there was what really mattered –  it would last forever, and immortalize the artists’ names.

The three songs in the trilogy are dedicated to three essential moments in the process of composing a song: a reverence for music, which inspires the desire to compose; the moment of creation; and the act of singing the song. Continue reading “Trilogia do Alumbramento”