Although he left this world May 4,1937, Noel de Medeiros Rosa is not forgotten. On the contrary, there seems to have been a renaissance of his life and work in the past several years. His songs have been the object of several artists who chose to dedicate whole CD's to his music. Johnny Alf, pre-bossa nova musician and singer known for his jazzy harmonies, recorded a CD filled with the beautiful songs, and about the same time, Ivan Lins launched two CD's with Rosa songs as well as the history of each one of them printed in the liner notes.
Cristina Buarque, sister of Chico, has with Henrique Cazes also contributed to the recent Noel Rosa revival with a CD with 15 cuts, many of which are less known songs. One must mention the mammoth collection by Almir Chediak, Songbook of Noel Rosa, well over an hour of songs recorded by a great many Brazilian singers, such as Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa, Djavan, and others. And recently, at a grand Brazilian concert in London, Caetano Veloso sang Rosa's O X do Problema, The Crux of the Problem. There also exist re-mastered CD's of Rosa, himself, originally recorded on 78 rpm records, and Rosa was excellent at interpreting his own music, the hallmark of which was his irreverent and colloquial style.
So, who was this Noel Rosa whose music is so greatly loved by young and old more than 60 years after his death at only 26, and how did such a young man come to write songs with the emotional depth of someone much older?
Son of Manoel Garcia de Medeiros Rosa, manager of a shirt factory and Marta de Azevedo, a teacher, little Noel was born December 11, 1910 in the chalet on Rua Teodoro Silva in Vila Isabel, Rio de Janeiro.
It was a difficult birth, during which the little boy was taken with forceps, and as a consequence, Noel suffered a broken jawbone, which left his jaw forever crooked and deformed. He also suffered partial paralysis of the right side of his face, which left him timid in public, never letting other people see him eat. Forever worried about her oldest son, Mrs. Marta begged him not to stay out late in the street, but to return to the house.
Knowing that Noel would surely go to a party on Saturday night, she hid all his clothes. When his friends arrived to pick him up, Noel shouted, "With what clothes?" (Com que roupa?) Thus his mother involuntarily inspired his first great hit recorded for Carnaval in 1931, where it sold 15,000 copies. He was self conscious about his face, but at the same time, he accentuated the deformity in the caricatures he made of himself, and under the influence of drink and musical numbers, he would let his hair down allowing his intelligent and sarcastic humor to surface.
He rarely had any moneyjust what he received from his compositions and some help from his mother. But everything he made was spent on his Bohemian lifestyle with women, drink, and smokeexacerbating a chronic lung condition and leading to tuberculosis.
While Noel was still very young, his father left Vila Isabel, Rosa's Rio neighborhood, and went to work on a coffee farm in Araçatuba, while his mother opened a school in her house to support her children. Taught in his mother's school, Noel entered the Maisonnette School and then São Bento, where he stayed until 1928. His nickname was Queixinho, Little Jaw.
He started playing the mandolin by ear and soon went on to the guitar, which he learned from his father, but as a whole, he was mostly self taught. While he was still in Colégio São Bento, he benefited from a decree by President Getúlio Vargas, who had assumed power during the revolution of October 1930, providing dispensation for the evaluation and approval of students. Noel Rosa thus got his bachelor's degree.
At about sixteen years of age, he had already composed a song and was becoming known for his guitar playing and frequented get-togethers at Bar dos Cem Réis near his house.
In 1929, when he finished high school, he prepared to get into medical school, but without putting aside his guitar and serenades. In fact, the only thing that really came of his medical school days was the samba Coração, Heart, although with anatomical errors. Eventually, the music won out over the medicine, and he never finished his studies. So, while the world of patients lost a doctor, the world of music lovers gained one of the great songwriters of all times.
Young Noel Rosa "hung out" with the sambistas of Estácio de Sá and of the morros (hills), learning from them the rhythm and style of their compositions and songs. About the same time, some students at the Colégio Batista and inhabitants of Vila Isabel had formed a musical group called Flor do Tempo, Flower of the Time, which performed at family and other functions.
Invited to record in 1929, the group was revised and renamed Bando dos Tangarás. The members of the group were João de Barro, Almirante, Alvinho, and Henrique Brito in addition to Rosa who, despite his young age, was already well known as a good guitarist. Thus, he participated in the first recordings of Bando dos Tangarás. It was during the same year that he composed his first songs, Minha Viola, My Viola, an embolada, a Brazilian expression denoting poetry set to music, and Festa no Céu, Feast in Heaven, which he recorded on the record Parlophon.
In spite of a very short life, Noel Rosa became one of the most fertile composers of his time, perhaps of all time. Within a period of less than ten years, he came to compose some 250 songs, among them numerous successes, which are now considered Brazilian classics. After the initial recording, he returned to the studio to record the first of his great hits, "Com Que Roupa?", With What Clothes?
In July of 1931, he debuted in the review Mar de Rosas, Sea of Roses, by Gastão Penalva and Velho Sobrinho, whose repertoire included the sambas "Cordiais Saudações," Cordial Greetings, "Mulata Fuzarqueira," Funloving Mulatto Woman, and "Mão no Remo," Hand on Oar, all by Noel Rosa. The first two were recorded by himself, and the last, made in partnership with Ary Barroso, was sung by Sílvio Caldas.
After a couple of engagements at Rádio Educadora and Mayrink Veiga in 1931, Noel started at Rádio Philips, where from February 1932 he worked at stage manager of the Programa Casé, but he also performed as a singer alongside Marília Batista, Almirante, João de Barro, and others.
He joined with Lamartine Babo and Mário Reis in the group Ases do Samba, which performed in São Paulo, where they achieved some success, encouraging them to do a tour of the south. In Porto Alegre, they performed at the Cine Teatro Imperial along with pianist Nonô, Mário Reis, Francisco Alves, and mandolin player, Peri Cunha.
He left behind six recordings with Marília Batista and some duets with João Petra de Barros, I. G. Loyola, Arthur Costa, Ismael Silva, and Léo Vilar. Noel did not have a good singing voice, but he knew how to interpret his own songs, and through the richness of the poetry of his compositions he managed to have some cases of great success during his time.
Noel Rosa's importance was already clear during his lifetime. Not only was the volume of 250 songs in a time span of 8 years impressive and enviable, the genius of the musician and lyricist was immenseas attested to in the words of Orestes Barbosa, writer, to Nássara, "You know something, Nássara? The guy without a jaw is a genius."
Alongside Almirante and Bando dos Tangarás, he introduced the "kitchen" like the percussion with cans made in the recording "Lataria," Canned Food, as well as in the percussion instruments like the pandeiro, reco-reco, cuíca, and surdo, among others* in the performances.
In addition to his interest in and fondness for percussion instruments, Noel Rosa also had a fascination with the malandros, those living on the fringe of society with their cunning and criminal behavior. They came from the morros, hills of Rio and brought their own style of music with them. Rosa incorporated their style of composing into his own, marking definitively the dissemination and acceptance of samba as music of quality, contributing to eliminating the concept that samba was música negra, black music; coisa de negro, thing of the negro, or coisa de bárbaro, thing of the barbarian.
On the other hand, Noel used his talent to realize in his songs a brilliant social chronicle of Rio de Janeiro, which was becoming rapidly urbanized. He portrayed social injustice throughout the country, politics, and love affairs, as well as the cultural changes brought on by mass media, in particular "talkies" and radio.
Some radio and newspaper reporters came up with their own nicknames of him, such as the "Bernard Shaw of Samba," "the philosopher of Samba," and those referring to his physical deformity. In his work he left behind a cultural history of the late 20's into the mid 30's. The influence of Rosa is felt throughout Brazilian cultural life. Examples can be seen in the work of Chico Buarque, the different theater productions dealing with his life and work, as well as the numerous re-recordings by Brazilian and foreign artists alike.
Noel Rosa, however, was also a tormented man, who could not picture himself living a life without the Bohemian lifestyle, the criminal element, the bars and cabarets, the brothels. Since the beginning of his adolescence, he had frequented these houses of ill repute, like the ones in Mangue. He was also intimately familiar with all the greatest drinking places. This was his way of loving life, and even though he knew that the tuberculosis was destroying his lungs, he never abandoned his cigarettes, drinks, or lifestyle.
He was an insatiable seducer, always involving himself with several women at a time. The cost of this was a forced marriage to Laurinda, whom he did not love, after which he declared himself a mortal enemy of marriage. He had an intense love affair with Ceci, for whom he left as the last compositionamong many written for her"Último Desejo," Last Wish, in which he remembered the day they met at Festa de São João, at the Cabaret Apollo, creating a kind of samba-testament. Their relationship was a long and tumultuous one.
He had some famous feuds going with two well known malandros at the time, Kid Pepe and Zé Pretinho. Rosa had worked in partnership with Kid Pepe on "O Orvalho vem caindo," The Dew Comes Falling, but had no desire to continuea fact that made the "gentleman" very angry, and he went on to make threats against Rosa. Zé Pretinho, with whom Noel was cultivating a sincere friendship, freed him from the threats by letting Kid Pepe know that he was carrying a revolver.
It was some time later when Noel was traveling and left a song with Zé, so that he might complete it and prepare it for recording. He was none too happy when he returned and found that the song had been recordednot only without his namebut naming his enemy, Kid Pepe, as co-composer. His response and revenge was the one he always managed best, he composed "Século do Progresso," Century of Progress.
Another feud, which caused a great "musical controversy," was short but with a lot of commentary. This feud was with composer Wilson Batista in regards to a samba of his, "Lenço no Pescoço," Scarf, in which he elevated the criminal element to a level, where Rosa felt it did not belong. He was severely criticized for this in a newspaper article by Orestes Barbosa and in a song by Rosa, "Rapaz Folgado," Cheeky Devil. Wilson responded with "Mocinho da Vila," The Little Boy from Vila, in which he came down on the composer and his neighborhood.
This inspired Rosa to write one of his most beautiful songs "Feitiço da Vila," see lyrics. Wilson Batista was not beaten and composed "Conversa Fiada," All Talk, for which Noel Rosa had an answer in "Palpite Infeliz," see lyrics. But instead of acknowledging his inability to compete with Noel Rosa, and at the same time perhaps recognizing a long term advantage from the feud, Wilson wrote Frankenstein da Vila referring to Noel's physical appearance, but the latter did not respond. One day, they ran into each other at Café Leitão. Wilson showed Noel "Terra de Cego," Land of the Blind. Noel wrote a different lyric for the song, and thus was born "Deixa de Ser Convencido," Don't Be So Cocksure. Thus ended the famous controversy.
Noel Rosa was a scathing critic of the customs and politics of his time. He was fascinated with the shady side of life, while suddenly turning into its severest critic. He was unhappy with the exploitation of poor composers by those, who bought songs. This influenced Ismael Silva to free himself from Francisco Alves. He was able to rise above the frivolity of Wilson Batista, perhaps because he recognized a budding composer, who would still be writing beautiful songs.
As a boy, he wrote pornographic lyrics for the national anthem. As a man, he continued in the same vein through his ad-libs with Marília Batista, such as in the song "De Babado;" his improper excuses to Ademar Casé for his tardiness, as well as the many titles he gave to the same song "Cem Mil Réis," A Hundred Thousand Réis (Brazilian unit of currency). He counted on the inattentive ear of the radio show host and thus won the bonus for the most unpublished songs in a week on his program.
Ricardo Van Steen, one of the major directors of shorts and commercials in Brazil, is preparing to confront the challenge of his first feature length film. If everything works out as planned, he intends to start in July of this year on the life of Noel Rosa, not his whole life, but rather the last two years, when he already knew that his life was ending due to illness. Steen has worked on the project for six years, four of those on the screenplayan adaptation of João Máximo and Carlos Didier's biography.
He says of the book, "The book is wonderful, although a bit hard to read, a thesis on Rosa and his time." For years the director has been paying for the rights to the adaptation and the image of Noel Rosa. He figures he has already invested some $60,000. The total production cost is estimated at between $3 and 3.5 million. So far he figures that he and producer Carlos Dantas of Movi&Art, have collected 40% of the total and expect to finish raising the funds very shortly.
Van Steen admits that he is a little worried about the challenge of making a feature film after "telling stories in 30 seconds," referring to his commercials. In an interview, he talks about the manner in which Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman, said he made his films as if he were constructing one of those great cathedrals. Van Steen is concerned that he will leave something that his son can be proud of. It is Steen's intention to paint a picture of the artist living life with intensity, pressed for time.
The question of what is better, living with intensity or for an extended period, is the thread that goes through the film. Poeta da Vila (Village's Poet, as Rosa is often called) is about that. Set in 1930's Rio de Janeiro, it portrays a young man, 22 years of age. Noel lived a Bohemian lifestyle, fragile, drank a lot and did everything to excess. He contracted tuberculosis, which at the time had no possibility of cure, and that led to his early demise. Van Steen sees the parallel in our times in the premature deaths of many artists he, himself, has known from AIDS. And the scenery, of course, Rio, the Marvelous City, Noel Rosa's city with its casinos, the fringe element in their white suits living their most glorious moments. In the cabarets of Lapa, Mário de Andrade and Madame Satã seated at the same table, while in the room next door Cartola is playing snooker with Araci de Almeida and Villa-Lobos. It is this mythical Rio that Van Steen wants to depict.
The film will portray Noel with his facial deformity as what he wasan incredibly seductive manwho wrapped women around his little finger with his grace and charm. Two of them stand out in his life: Laurinda, the wife, and Ceci, the singer whom Noel met a week after his marriage and with whom he fell hopelessly in love.
As a step in the preparation for making Poeta da Vila, Van Steen tested his ability, directing the short Com Que Roupa?, in 1996. It won a prize for photography at the Festival de Gramado. Van Steen feels that a film about music should be made with musicians. Therefore, he chose Luís Felipe de Lima to play Noel. In addition to being an actor, he is a musician and performs in samba shows in Rio, playing and singing Noel Rosa. Singer and composer, Luís Melodia will play Papagaio, taxi driver and best friend of Noel's, and the narrator of the story. Translated from an article in Estado de São Paulo by Luiz Carlos Merten
Sem Tostão A Crise não é BoatoCanções de Noel Rosa with Cristina Buarque and Henrique Cazes. On Kuarup Produções www.kuarup.com.br
Tel (021)220 1623 Fax (021)220 0494
Arising from the great familiarity of Cristina Buarque with the universe of samba and from the experience of Henrique in more than 15 years with the Conjunto Coisas Nossas, Group of Our Things, the duo has put together a view of the many facets of "O Poeta da Vila."
The chronicler, who has not lost his current-day appeal, the humorist, the creator of parody, the anti-romantic, the innovator of form, and finally the genius, who in only 26 years and little more than 8 years of musical works, influenced forever Brazil's popular music. The above from the Kuarup website
The CD consists of 15 cuts, among which are several medleysbringing the grand total to almost 30 songs. The classics that "everybody" knows, are there: "Três Apitos," "O X do Problema," "Quem Dá Mais," "Último Desejo," and "Feitiço da Vila." But there are also some less known songs, which make this CD an even more interesting projectsomething to widen the Noel Rosa horizon of every MPB (Musica Popular BrasileiraBrazilian Popular Music) fan out there. These other songs include "Mulato Bamba," Mulatto Bully; "Para me Livrar do Mal," To Free Me from Evil; "Triste Cuíca," Sad Cuíca; "Século do Progresso," Century of Progress, and "Você por Exemplo," You for Example, and others.
Noel Rosa is the simple title of a recent CD with Johnny Alf and Leandro Braga on Lumiar Discos, www.lumiar.com.br produced by Almir Chediak who has given us so much in his collection of "Songbooks" in book and CD form.
Says Chediak about the CD: "One of the objectives of this fourth Letra e Música is to call attention to the excellent composer that was Noel Rosa. When you speak of him, you quickly highlight his lyricist side, which is so worthy of admiration, but Noel created such beautiful and innovative melodies. Those who set out to compare his work to that, which had been produced until then, will see that they are looking at a creator who revolutionized music.
To interpret Noel Rosa, here is Johnny Alf, another great creator and innovator of MPB, composer, singer, and pianist, who is known, among other things, as the precursor of bossa nova. Alongside Johnny Alf is arranger and pianist Leandro Braga, one of the great talents emerging in recent years, who has devoted himself to his harmonizing of extreme good taste to the essentially Brazilian musical language." Johnny Alf himself contributed with a compositionthe last cut on the CDNoelRosa do Samba, Noel, Rose of Samba."
NoelFeitiço da Vila
As we speak, a musical is filling the theaters in Brazil, most recently in São Paulo, authored and directed by Andreia Fernandes. It portrays, in song, dance, and comedy, Noel Rosa's life from the difficult start until the much too early death of tuberculosis. One walks away with a feeling of elation, not at all the tragedy that his birth and short life might indicate. There is little indication that this man was hindered by his handicap. The musical has a wonderful cast of actors and singers, most notably Marcelo Serrado as Noel, Edson Montenegro as a malandro, whose great baritone voice carries and fills the room. The wonderful Maria Odette Garnier is Dona Marta, Noel's mother, whose strength is constantly tested and whose unconditional support must have been a great comfort to Noel. Says the author and director of the musical:
"The passion for Carnaval, for samba, has accompanied me since I was a girl. The music of Noel mixes with the memories of my infancy, the summer vacations, an uncle whose face always lit up with a wide smile, when he was listening to a samba by Noel. Were they just my remembrances? I don't know. Aren't those recollections common to so many other people's childhood? Noel plays a definitive part in my history, but also in the history of samba. I decided to write a text, which would be an homage to this great composer and to this marvelous city, berth of the samba, which lives in the soul of its people.
"I started reading about Noel and Rio de Janeiro of the 20's and 30's, a happy city, festive, which always commemorated, with music, Carnaval, and the feasts of Penha and of São João. About Noel, I always encountered the marked man, gloomy, sick, and ugly, very ugly. A Noel, who did not combine, definitively, with the irreverence of his sambaswith Carnaval. But in the biography of Noel, written by João Máximo and Carlos Didier, the man physically marked co-existed with the Bohemian, the mischievous protagonist of many stories, many loves. It was from reading this that I imagined a Noel, also happy, seductive, full of life, a womanizer, and handsome.
"NoelFeitiço da Vila is a musical to pay homage to the great composer. As the author, I raised the question of emphasizing certain aspects of his personality, such as the irreverence and his Bohemian nature. I sought to emphasize his passion for the samba, for the women, for the night and the dawns. A Noel, who wandered the deserted streets, the favelas (shantytowns) and Lapa, as naturally as someone staying home. The result was a personage in love with life, seducer, happy, and... handsome? Yes, handsome. Handsome in his Spartan existence and in his simplicity. Handsome because the samba found, in his soul, a definitive home.
"To validate this concept, the cast was not chosen as a function of physical traits of the historic characters. To interpret Noel's women, for example, were chosen actresses who would represent types of Brazilian women. Marcelo Serrado interprets Noel, representing the beauty and joviality of the soul of the composer.
"For the show were selected more than fifteen of Noel's songs. The musical arrangements were made in a manner that captured the original tempo proposed by the composer. Meanwhile, seeking again to emphasize certain passages of his life, many times the songs, during the show, are separate in time and space from the chronology of his compositions. Many facts, songs, and important figures are also not represented in the text. Noel knew numerous people and composed almost 300 songs. To mention them all would be impractical.
"Left out are Lamartine Babo, Ary Barroso, Braguinha, Wilson Batista, "Palpite Infeliz;" "Cor de Cinza," Color of Gray; Sorriso de Criança, Smile of a Child and finally, an enormous gallery of curious facts, marvelous people, and musical pearls.
NoelFeitiço da Vila presents a look at this storyour own storywhich could and should be told in numerous ways. I sought, only, to bring back a smile that same, wide smile which marked, in my girl's heart, the happiness of samba."
On the Stage
Noel of the Stage by João Máximo, co-author of the comprehensive biography of Noel Rosa.
Few figures in MPB have as much identification with the stage as Noel Rosa. It is probable that not even he was conscious of this fact. He did not have time. Or the footlights of Rio were not sufficiently brilliant to cry out to him: "Attention, Noel, the place for your songs is here, on the stage." Perhaps it was the lack of time, since he lived only 26 years, 4 months, 22 days, and 15 hours, limiting his experience as composer for the theater to some attempts in reviews staged on Praça Tiradentes at the beginning of the 30's (or the three pseudo-operettas for radio, which were never aired). Or maybe, since there was almost no tradition for musical theater in Brazil, Noel hardly perceived that his poetic vein was so theatrical.
Let's look at any of his lyrics. Those that narrate episodes, those that speak of personalities, those that get into philosophical tirades. Nothing could be more theatrical. Strictly speaking, Noel, Luis Peixoto, Lamartine Babo, Chico Buarque, and Aldir Blanc are the most theatrical of the lyricists in Brazil. Chico Buarque is undoubtedly the most complete, the one with the most accomplishments, in part because of his monumental talent and in part because he, stubbornly, returns and bets on the musical theater and writes for it. And he has had more time than Noel, and certainly, more consciousness.
But the theatric quality of Noel is not just poetic. It is above all a factor of who he was, a little bit of Chaplin, a bit of timid villain, a bit of pocket philosopher, a little bit of clown of the bars and street corners of a Bohemian Rio de Janeiro, which no longer exists. A little bit of all that and a lot of himself, happy Carioca (from Rio), who always knew that he who laughs best, laughs last. (It is necessary to think of Noel Rosa laughing and making people laugh, as he was almost all his life, and not of Noel Rosa with sad eyes, grim poet of the last times).
In short, the true Noel Rosa is more than a great personage of the musical comedy, especially if he has his own music and poetry to serve him: he is the symbol, the myth, the icon. For lack of time or because the theater did not know how to make him the right kind of offer, he missed the train that would have taken him to the stage.
Any show, which undertakes thisand tries with intelligence to approximate Noel of the theater, be it as author, be it as personagecan't help but be a formidable force in the sense of resuscitating the vocation, which the poet with the short life couldn't consume. The show we have here has that force. Which lasts longer than the poet and which is quite as theatrical as he. Amen.
*Pandeiro: Tambourine. Reco-reco: A notched instrument (often made of bamboo or metal) that is scraped with a stick and produces a crisp sound. Cuíca: Small friction drum with a thin stick inside attached to drum skin. A moistened cloth is used to rub the stick, and one hand applies pressure to the drum skin, producing grunting, groaning, and squeaking noises. Surdo: Drum played in samba with a wooden stick topped by velvet-covered, wooden head. Surdos come in three sizes and function as the bass in the samba bateria. From Brazilian Sound by Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha.
In addition the above mentioned sources, I'd like to thank my Carioca friend, José Fabiano, whose insight into Rosa and Rio de Janeiro of the 1930's, helped me translate the songs.
Kirsten Weinoldt was born in Denmark and came to the U.S. in 1969. She fell in love with Brazil after seeing Black Orpheus many years ago and has lived immersed in Brazilian culture ever since. Her e-mail: email@example.com
When the whistle
From the cloth factory
Comes to offend my ears
I remember you
But you are
Without a doubt quite irritated
And want to
Pretend you don't see me
You, who listens for the whistle
From the clay chimney
Why not pay attention to
the distressed cry
From the horn of my car?
You in the winter
Go to work without stockings
Have no faith in sweaters
Nor believe in the cold
But you are the same
Article with no equal
When the factory whistles
It advertises you
In my eyes you read
That I suffer cruelly
With jealousy of the impertinent
Who gives you orders
I live in the night
Am a very gloomy poet
Who will be night watchman
And you know why
But you don't know
That while you make fabric
Beside the piano, I
Make these verses for you.
In the Form of a Prayer
Who thinks he keeps getting lost
For that now I'll defend myself
From the pain, so cruel, of this
Which, from unhappiness
Invades my poor breast
Drumming is a privilege
Nobody learns samba in school
To dance the samba is to cry
Is to smile with nostalgia
Within the melody
For that, now
To Penha* I'll send
My dark woman to sing
This sad melody
Which is my samba
In the form of a prayer
Samba in reality
Does not come from the hill,
nor from the city
And he who bears a passion
Will feel that the samba then
Is born in the heart
*The church of Nossa Senhora
da Penha is located on a hill in Rio,
and it is traditional for the faithful to
crawl on their knees to the top to
offer their prayers.
Our love, which I don't forget
And which had its beginning
At the Feast of São João
Dies today without fireworks
Without portrait and without notice
Without moonlight, without guitar
Close to you I fall silent
I think of everything and say nothing
Have fear of crying
I never want your kiss again
But my last wish
You can't deny me
If some person, a friend
Asks that you tell her
If you want me or not
Say that you adore me
That you lament and cry
At our separation
To the people I hate
Say always that I'm no good
That my home is a bar
That I ruined your life
That I don't deserve the meal
That you bought for me
For the Tenth Time
I swore not to love anymore
For the tenth time
I swore not to pardon
What she did to me
The habit is the strength
Which speaks more strongly
And makes us test
I threw my cigarette on the floor
and stepped on it
Without another one
I picked the same one up
and smoked it
Through the smoke
I denied my race
She is the poison
That I chose
To die without feeling
I felt that my heart
wanted to stop
When I came back
And heard the neighbor talk
That she just out of spite
Carried on with a soldier
Staying there in prison
For the tenth time
She is innocent
Doesn't know what she did.
Spell of the Vila1
Who is born there in the Vila
Doesn't even hesitate
To embrace the samba
Which makes the branches
Of the grove dance
And the moon rise earlier
There in Vila Isabel
He who has graduated
Has no fear of the bully
São Paulo gives coffee
Minas gives milk
And Vila Isabel gives samba
The Vila has
A spell which is pure
Without candle without a penny
Which does us well
Having the name of a princess2
Transformed the samba
Into a proper spell
Which captures the people
The sun in the Vila is sad
Samba doesn't help
Because the people beg
Sun, for the love of God
Don't come now
That the dark women will
soon go away
I know all I do
Know where I'm going
Passion doesn't annihilate me
But I have to say,
I'm from the Vila
1Portuguese word for town is vila,
which also refers to Noel Rosa's
neighborhood, Vila Isabel.
2Princess Isabel, daughter of Emperor
Dom Pedro II. She is famous for the
Lei Áurea, The Golden Law,
which freed the slaves May 13, 1888.
Today makes almost a year
That I won't visit
My shack there in Penha
Which makes me suffer
Even to the point of crying
To remember the happiness
Which I used to feel
The strong bond of love
which held us
Now there is nobody
Who longs for Penha
More than I, I swear there isn't
There is nobody who
Can make me lose the knack
Just the longing for the shack
But there came from Penha
Who brought some news
From my shack
Which was not good
Already tired of waiting
Left the place
He went looking for me
Now there is nobody
Who longs for Penha
More than I, I swear there isn't
There is nobody who
Can make me lose the knack
Just the longing for my shack
Who are you who don't know what you're saying?
My God in Heaven, what an unhappy thought
Hooray for Estácio, Salgueiro, Mangueira,
Oswaldo Cruz and Matriz*
Which always knew very well
That Vila (Isabel) doesn't want to suffocate anyone
Only wants to show that it also makes samba
To make a poem in the Vila is child's play
The sound of samba dances to the grove
I already called for you to see
You didn't because you didn't want to
Who are you who don't know what you're saying?
Vila is an independent city
Which has samba but doesn't want the patent
Why pay attention to someone who doesn't know
Where his nose is
Who are you who don't know what you're saying?
*Neighborhoods of Rio, famous for their
When I die
I don't want crying or candle
I want a yellow ribbon
With her name on it
If there exists a soul
If there is another incarnation
I'd like it if the mulatto woman
Tap-danced on my coffin
I don't want flowers
Nor crown of thorns
I just want choro with flute
Guitar and cavaquinho
Consoled to know
That the earth will one day eat
The dark women so beautiful
I don't have heirs
I don't own a penny
I always owed everybody
But I never paid anybody
Who today speak badly of me
Will say that they never saw
A guy as good as me
I want the sun
Not to visit my coffin
So that my poor soul
Doesn't die of sunstroke.