Lyrics from “Barulho” by Roque Ferreira (2007)

Fazendo tanto barulho // Making such a fuss
Você vai acordar meu orgulho // You’re going to awaken my pride
Que tanto dorme por nós // Which has slept so much, for us
Tudo relevo e tolero // I take and tolerate everything
Mas já falei ‘Eu não quero // But I’ve told you ‘I don’t want
Que me levante a voz’ // You to raise your voice with me’

Apesar das divergências // In spite of our differences
Com todas as disavenças // With all of the strife
A gente não separou // We never separated
Porque meus olhos fechei // Because I shut my eyes
E sem rancor, perdoei // And, without rancor, forgave
Os seus crimes de amor // Your crimes of love

Pode mentir à vontade // You can lie as much as you wish
Eu sei que fidelidade // I know that faithfulness
Não é seu forte afinal // Is not your forte, after all
E mesmo que eu quisesse // And even if I wanted to
Ainda que eu pudesse // Even if I could
Não ia fazer igual // I wouldn’t act the same

Porque só beijo quem amo // Because I only kiss those I love
Só abraço quem gosto // I only embrace those I like
Só me dou por paixão // I only give myself with passion
Eu só sei amar direito // I only know how to love perfectly
Nasci com esse defeito // I was born with that defect
No coração // Of the heart

— Commentary —

Roque Ferreira has over 400 songs recorded by renowned samba singers including Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Zeca Pagodinho, Alcione, Roberto Ribeiro,  João Nogueira, and Maria Bethânia.
Roque Ferreira has over 400 recorded songs, many of them released by such renowned samba singers as Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Zeca Pagodinho, Alcione, Roberto Ribeiro, João Nogueira, and Maria Bethânia.

Roque Ferreira was born on March 12, 1947, in Nazaré das Farinhas, Bahia, and began composing music after moving to Salvador at age 14.  In the samba world he is among the most revered contemporary composers of Bahian samba. To hear more, listen to his 2004 album Tem samba no mar, and here’s a great 1989 album of sambas from Bahia, including Ferreira’s “Na força do meu rojão” at minute 28.

Still, in spite of his success as a composer, a fair number of less involved samba savants haven’t even heard his name, since so many of his most famous songs were released by other artists.

Samba darling Clara Nunes was in large part responsible for bringing Ferreira’s music to a wider audience in Brazil: she released his “Apenas um adeus” in 1979, and “Coração valente” in 1981. By 1984, Beth Carvalho, known as the “patroness of samba,” had released his composition “Doce de cajá,” and in 1986, João Nogueira released “Triste regresso.”

Today Ferreira has more than 400 recorded songs, released by renowned sambistas including Alcione, Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Zeca Pagodinho, Roberto Ribeiro, Zélia Duncan, Teresa Cristina, Mart’nália, João Nogueira, Amélia Rabello and Maria Bethânia. Bethânia, who grew up in Bahia and went on to become one of Brazil’s most beloved singers of all time, has recorded seven of Roque Ferreira’s songs, including “Barulho” and “Lágrima.”

As Rosas Não Falam

Lyrics from “As Rosas Não Falam” (The Roses Don’t Talk) by Cartola

Album:  Cartola II (1976)

My heart beats again with hope

Because the summer is coming to an end


I return to the garden

With the certainty that I should cry

Because I know well that you don’t want to come back to me

I wail to the roses

How silly, the roses don’t talk

The roses simply exude the perfume that they steal from you

You ought to come

To see my joyless eyes

And, who knows, you might dream my dreams

At last


— Interpretation —

Cartola and Zica in the home they built together in Mangueira, with a rose bush in the garden.

As the story goes, this song was inspired by an exchange between Cartola and his wife, Zica.  Zica planted a rosebush in the couple’s garden in Rio de Janeiro, and after some time passed, she looked out one morning to see the bush in full bloom. Thrilled, she asked Cartola how so many roses had bloomed, and he responded, “How should I know? The roses don’t talk.”

Cartola was inspired by his poetic response and wrote one of his greatest successes as a “birthday present” to himself, a few days before his sixty-seventh birthday.

Although he was a popular sambista since his youth, Cartola never achieved much commercial or financial success, and only recorded his first LP in 1974, at age sixty-five. He said he had been losing motivation – seeing everyone around him recording LPs – and couldn’t even believe he had finally recorded a disk until he held it in his hands.  Moved by the achievement, he eagerly went back to composing and came out with his second LP, with “As Rosas Não Falam,” in 1976.

The main source for this post was Cartola: Os Tempos Idos, by Marília Barboza da Silva and Arthur de Oliveira Filho.

Post by Victoria Broadus (About)

Quem Me Vê Sorrindo

Lyrics from “Quem Me Vê Sorrindo” by Cartola

Album:  Cartola (1974)

He who sees me smiling thinks that I’m happy

But my smile is for consolation

Because I know how to hold back, for no one to see

The weeping of my heart

That I shed (tears) for this love, perhaps

You didn’t understand, and if I say so, you don’t believe it

After being crushed,  still sobbing

I became cheerful, and I’m singing

He who sees me smiling thinks that I’m happy

But my smile is for consolation

Because I know how to hold back,  for no one to see

The weeping of my heart

I understood the error of all humanity

Some cry out of pleasure, and others out of longing

I swore – and I will never break my vow

I will hide every cry

He who sees me smiling…

— Interpretation —

Another jewel from Cartola, reminding himself and his listeners not to wallow in their sorrows. This was among the first songs Cartola ever recorded:

In 1940, the world-renowned maestro Leopold Stokowski embarked on the American goodwill ship S.S. Uruguay with the All American Youth Orchestra, which he had organized, and a group of technicians from Columbia records.  The delegation was helping to carry out  President Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy, intended to improve relations between the United States and Latin America during World War II.

Stokowski’s delegation traveled to Latin America to perform and record regional music from each country, which would then be contributed to an album and an upcoming Pan-American Folklore Conference. Unfamiliar with Brazilian music, Stokawski asked the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos to help him choose and gather the country’s most talented musicians. Villa Lobos, to this day considered as perhaps Brazil’s most brilliant classical composer, recommended Cartola.

Aboard the S.S. Uruguay, Cartola recorded his songs for the first time with the team from Columbia records.  He sang “Meu amor,” “Primeiro amor,”  “Tristeza,” and “Quem me vê sorrir”;  “Quem me vê sorrir” made the final cut, and was released on the album Columbia Presents – Native Brazilian Music – Leopold Stokowski.  

The album didn’t reach Brazil, and Cartola only heard it many years later. But a year and a half after recording, he received a small sum in payment — enough to buy three packs of cheap cigarettes.

Remarking on the album, Carlos Drummond de Andrade observed, “By recording [Cartola’s] samba “Quem me vê sorrir” (with Carlos Cachaça), the maestro Leopold Stokowski didn’t do Cartola any favors; he just recognized how much musical inventiveness can be found in the most humble tiers of our population.”

On the 1974 album Cartola, the song’s title is “Quem me vê sorrindo.”

To see more on Cartola’s life and music, take a look at these posts.

Main source for this post: Cartola: Os Tempos Idos by Marília Barboza da Silva and Arthur de Oliveira Filho