Hearing the Book

    Hearing
the Book

    CDs or Books
    by Keyword, Title or Author
    By Brazzil Magazine

    As the year 2000 approaches, Caetano Veloso appears more and more likely to be the
    single giant among Brazilian artists to have been a truly forward-looking influence on the
    music of our time. To grasp this, one would have to look back over a thirty year period
    when artists like Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, and Veloso himself were
    each making unique contributions and laying the foundation for the future of Brazilian
    popular music (MPB). Wholly overcoming the fears of rejection and commercial inviability
    that keep composers from following their experimental impulses, Veloso dared to propose
    new concepts of song. He talked about seeing music with free eyes, as sound set free, and
    about composition as a continual process of expansion, interaction, and transformation.
    Comparing the process of composition to cannibalism, he searched for whatever vehicle
    would respond best to the realization of his ideas—be it reggae, concrete poetry,
    rap, twelve-tone technique or the juxtaposition of all of these.

    Veloso has always advocated and continues to demonstrate unexplored, but essential
    concepts. In the book Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Song: MPB, 1965-1985,
    Charles A. Perrone notes that when traditional and nationalist sounds were highly prized,
    Caetano emphasized international trends. When musical militancy and activism were in
    vogue, he explored romantic and spiritual spheres. In the face of sentimentalism, Caetano
    refocused on the development of the mass media and consumerism. And when commercial
    viability came into question, Caetano’s experimentalism and individualism surfaced.

    Literary and musical references are interwoven in his music, and there is an illusive
    sense of reality, one that doesn’t neatly discriminate between fact and fancy. His is an
    art of conflict with both enough sharp-edged weight to etch a mood and enough light to let
    the emotions soar. But far from being intellectual exercises, Caetano’s music is bursting
    with suggestive qualities that have stimulated listeners’ imaginations from the time of
    his earliest recordings. His image has changed over time from a rebellious tropicalista
    and counterculture guru, to a cultivated, suave media persona; but Veloso has remained a
    realist, constantly on the move, always on the lookout for fresh challenges. That this
    doctrine has been responsible not only for the quality of Veloso’s music itself but also
    fundamental to current directions in music can be seen in the recent "discovery"
    of Tropicália in Europe and the United States (see cover story in Brazzil December
    1997) and in the appearance of the verb "caetanear" (to Caetano-ize).

    Performances aside, in just the past five years Caetano has composed the sound tracks
    for the films Tieta do Agreste, the Cacá Diegues remake of Black Orpheus,
    and themes for the Italian influenced film O Quatrilho. He recorded and released
    two CD’s of Latin American music, Fina Estampa and Fina Estampa ao Vivo, and
    is currently planning the production of João Gilberto’s next CD. In addition, he
    published Verdade Tropical (Tropical Truth), a book that analyzes and reflects upon
    the creation and the consequences of the Tropicalista movement and spawned the CD’s Livro
    and Prenda Minha. Verdade Tropical, Livro, and Prenda Minha form
    a curious, but complementary whole.

    In Verdade Tropical, published by Companhia das Letras in 1997, Caetano speaks
    about his influences and preferences in literature and art as well as his relationship
    with drugs, sex, rock `n’ roll, and Cinema Novo. Not an autobiography, Verdade Tropical
    is a narrative, an interpretation, and an application of critical theory to the
    cultural vision and creative surge that grew in the artistic and intellectual communities
    of Bahia in the late 1960’s. Tropicalismo generated new philosophies in music, dance,
    theater, and the plastic arts. It also scared the hell out of the Brazilian government.
    The book analyzes the political left, the military dictatorship, its methods of violence
    and torture, Gil and Caetano’s imprisonment in 1968, and their exile in London. Verdade
    Tropical is the history and commemoration of a cultural movement that was heard
    despite the oppressive gag of governmental censors.

    In principle, the book Verdade Tropical and the CD Livro should have been
    released at the same time, as the CD is full of citations and homages as is the book. But
    after Caetano’s initial enthusiasm for writing Verdade Tropical, he found that the
    revisions, editing, completion, and release had left him little time to record. By the
    time of publication, he was tired of words, was experiencing writer’s block, and suffering
    a kind of postpartum depression. Caetano’s fatigue in completing the book is expressed in
    the lyrics to the second tune on the CD, "Livros" (Books). Additionally, the
    small ensemble he used for the Fina Estampa tour as well as his work on the sound
    track for Tieta do Agreste, which utilized both orchestra and the Bahian percussion
    group Didá Banda Feminina, exacerbated his hunger for working with a larger group of
    musicians and for the music played on the streets of Bahia. Consequently, although he had
    only a vague idea of what his approach would be for the new disc, his interest in the
    initial stages was essentially focused on texture and tonal colorings rather than lyrics.

    Caetano, contrary to his approach on past projects, composed the music for Livro first,
    enlisted Jaques Morelenbaum to create the arrangements, recruited a legion of
    percussionists, and only afterward wrote the lyrics—many of them in the studio at the
    time of recording. Of the fourteen compositions, only "Um Tom" (A Tone) and
    "Os Passistas" (Carnaval Dancers) had complete lyrics when Caetano entered the
    studio. Nevertheless, the combining of Morelenbaum’s orchestral sophistication with the
    street percussion of Bahia evolved into one of Caetano’s best discs and tours to date.

    But Livro is not a companion CD that functions as an interactive guide,
    orienting listeners aurally to the subject matter treated on a particular page of the
    book. Where Verdade Tropical concentrates on justifying the theories of the
    Tropicalismo movement, the disc expands the concept of paying homage and remembering
    influences. From Chico Science and Lulu Santos, to Antônio de Castro Alves, Livro is
    full of citations, some subtle, others more direct. For example, the woodwind arrangement
    for Ari Barroso’s "Na Baixa do Sapateiro" by Luiz Brasil "suggests"
    the syncopated guitar phrasing of João Gilberto, who for Caetano is the beginning and the
    end of modern Brazilian music. And the tune "Um Tom" is dedicated to both Tom
    Jobim and Caetano’s youngest son, Tom, who was born at the time Verdade Tropical was
    completed. "Você É Minha" (You Are Mine) was written for Caetano’s wife, Paula
    Lavigne, and bears a similarity to another of Caetano’s dedicatory tunes "Você É
    Linda" from 1983. The symbolically named "Pra Ninguém" (For No One) is an
    homage to Chico Buarque and a direct reference to Chico’s tune "Paratodos" (For
    Everybody), in which Chico pays homage to everyone from Jackson do Pandeiro to Hermeto
    Pascoal.

    Just as Caetano’s life revolves around the axis of Bahia and Rio, the 14 tracks on Livro
    are a mix of samba and the music of Bahia. The listener discovers the integration of
    the two immediately; there is an almost limitless degree of overlapping. "Onde o Rio
    é Mais Baiano" (Where Rio is More Bahian) is an homage to the escola de samba Mangueira
    that paid tribute to the Doces Bárbaros (Sweet Barbarians—Gal Costa, Caetano, Gil,
    and Maria Bethânia) a few years ago. The first theme is played in a traditional samba
    rhythm, the second in samba-reggae. Caetano’s oldest son, Moreno, contributed a samba with
    the minimalist lyric, "How Beautiful Could a Being Be." The tune’s single
    phrase, repeated over percussion, distorted guitar, and choir induces a flavor suggestive
    of Bahian candomblé and is at the same time reminiscent of arrangements by tropicalista
    Rogério Duprat.

    "Minha Voz, Minha Vida" (My Voice, My Life), a tune Caetano originally
    composed for Gal, and now one of the most beautiful tunes Caetano has ever recorded
    himself, is performed as a bolero with Bahian drums submitting to a sensuous swirl of
    strings. It has the simplicity and dancing radiance that has become a fixture in much of
    his music. The track that holds the least interest for me is "Não Enche" (Piss
    Off). There isn’t enough angst. Caetano’s emotionally detached, almost buoyant delivery is
    not aligned with the unremittingly harsh lyrical content:

    Harpy, spider,
    Prowess for preying, ensnaring, snaring
    You slut, you piranha
    My energy keeps you afloat up there,
    Get out! Get lost,
    Get out of my blood, you bloodsucker,
    that’s all you know,
    Let me enjoy, let me enjoy
    Let me enjoy, let me enjoy.

    In "Manhatã" Caetano exploits a familiar enunciation from the Portuguese
    language and the refined harmonic language and tonal colorings of the Gil Evans/Miles
    Davis collaborations. He rhymes Manhatã with manhã (morning) as well as other
    words that end with the ã ("eng") sound. The idea stemmed from a nineteenth
    century poem that incorporated a similar rhyme scheme with sounds from the Tupi language
    written by the Brazilian romantic poet from the Northeastern state of Maranhão,
    Sousândrade. In this enigmatic mix of Gil Evans, Sousândrade, and Lulu Santos (to whom
    the tune is dedicated); Caetano’s voice hovers above subtle Bahian percussion as he
    alludes to Manhattan as Manhatã. Some passages simply seem to float in mid-air as he
    sketches a rare vision of New York.

    The best track on the disc is "Doideca" whose title refers to the Portuguese
    word doido meaning insane or mad and to the musical term dodecaphony, the technique
    of composition developed by Schoenberg. The musical term evolved from the Greek words
    dodeca meaning twelve, and phone meaning sound. In this homage to Chico Science, the
    piccolo introduces a repeated then inverted twelve-tone row over an atmospheric
    drum `n’ bass foundation performed by a battery of Bahian percussionists rather than by
    synthesizers. Quoting himself, Caetano sings a phrase from his 1970 "London,
    London." The major reference here is to Brazilian composer Arrigo Barnabé, best
    known for his film scores, his ensembles of dissimilar instrumentation (rock band with
    string quartet and percussion), his experimentation with atonal and twelve-tone
    composition, and for his reputation for always being on the threshold between popular and
    contemporary music.

    "O Navio Negreiro" (The Slave Ship) is the other great track on the disc. It
    is a setting of the magnificent epic poem by Antônio de Castro Alves, the great Brazilian
    nineteenth century poet whose themes opposing black slavery clashed with public opinion.
    Castro Alves died at the age of twenty-four from tuberculosis, but left behind works at
    the highest level of poetic art. On Livro, "O Navio Negreiro" is
    transformed into a rap performed alternately by Caetano and Bethânia aloft a foundation
    of percussion commanded by Carlinhos Brown while a choir echoes the strophe:

    What ship is this that just arrived?
    It’s the ship bringing slaves from Angola.

    A fiercely emotional performance, the music is informed by a great deal of integrity,
    fueled by passion, and marked by a high degree of empathy among the participants.

    Livro was released in Brazil in 1997, in Europe in 1998, and is scheduled for
    release in the United States on June 1, 1999, roughly one month prior to the arrival of
    Caetano’s Livro Vivo tour. Curiously, Prenda Minha, a live recording
    extracted from the September 1998 shows of Livro Vivo in Rio, arrived in our stores
    first. Prenda Minha (My Sweetheart) is essentially the B side of Livro. The
    repertoire, based on its predecessor, pays homage to the great names of popular Brazilian
    music and includes several of Caetano’s encore pieces. And like its predecessor, Prenda
    Minha incorporates Bahian percussionists and the orchestral palette of Jaques
    Morelenbaum. But there are also two pieces for just voice and guitar, "Sozinho"
    and Chico Buarque’s "Carolina."

    Jorge Benjor’s "Jorge de Capadócia" is here (prefaced by allusions to
    Fernanda Abreu, the rappers Racionais MC’s, and Miles Davis) as is the tune
    "Meditação" by Tom Jobim. There is a tip of the hat to Djavan with "Linha
    do Equador," the funk tune he co-wrote with Caetano in 1992, and a salute to Carnaval
    with "Boa Vida" and "Atrás da Verde-e-Rosa Só Não Vai Quem Já
    Morreu" (Only Those Who Have Died Won’t Join Mangueira’s Parade), which contains
    embedded quotes from "Festa do Interior." Gilberto Gil is acknowledged with
    "Drão" from 1981 and one of his earliest compositions, "Bem Devagar"
    from 1962. Caetano, however, reserved an even more elegant homage for his close friend and
    Tropicália companion with his reading of a passage from Verdade Tropical in which
    he reveals the way Dona Canô, Caetano’s mother, once referred to Gil.

    With the exception of "Onde o Rio É Mais Baiano" and "Não Enche,"
    Caetano has chosen tunes for this CD that were not included on the Livro CD. The
    outstanding tracks are the new arrangements Morelenbaum created for the Caetano classics
    "Eclipse Oculto" (1983) and "Odara" (1977), which cleverly concludes
    with a musical quote from "Doideca." Morelenbaum’s salsa-like score for
    "Mel" is vibrant and accessible. The tune, originally recorded by Bethânia in
    1979, is performed here by Caetano in both Spanish and Portuguese and demonstrates the
    remarkable stylistic synthesis that Caetano is capable of achieving.

    Surely the most interesting track is "Prenda Minha" itself, a pearl of Gaúcho
    folklore by an anonymous composer. Almost a hymn of Rio Grande do Sul, the tune has been
    memorized by school children throughout Brazil, and Caetano delivers it with the
    stylistically appropriate Gaúcho accent. Morelenbaum again draws from the Gil
    Evans/Miles Davis color wheel as he had for "Manhatã." But here it is with an
    ironic wink, as the tune was recorded in 1962 (though not released until 1964) by Miles
    for the controversial Quiet Nights album. The liner notes on the Columbia recording
    attribute Miles and Evans as the tune’s composers.

    It is very difficult to verbalize about music. It feels pointless at times, like making
    a statue of a famous painting. The important thing is what each listener brings to and
    personally gets from the music. When asked to write an article about Caetano, I was
    hopelessly paralyzed. I had no words to describe fully my respect for the man. It seemed
    useless to add anything more about the contributions Caetano has made to MPB, as he is
    probably the most influential composer alive in terms of impact on the present musical
    generation.

    According to one theory of the arts, the function of a great artist is that of a
    teacher, one whose work is to be contemplated and one who communicates ideas of
    intellectual and social significance. It is exactly in this sense that Caetano
    Veloso—poet, author, journalist, philosopher, producer, translator, actor, film
    maker, director, social activist, singer, and composer—has been teaching for over
    three decades that music, literature, and cinema are passports that remove our blindfolds
    to new frontiers. His capacity to go in all kinds of directions and always get to the
    nucleus of Brazil in an intellectually and emotionally satisfying manner is unparalleled.

    The vision of Brazil expressed in Caetano’s music constitutes a key to an understanding
    and an interpretation of Brazil and her people. Be it in a negative or positive form, or
    perhaps submerged in a feeling of ambivalence, Brazil’s inner reality has always held a
    position in Caetano’s music. His relationship to Brazil is not merely that of a
    composer/singer toward his country, and it isn’t just a socio-political reaction on the
    part of a poet/author. Caetano lives in Brazil in its totality, as Noel Rosa, and Ari
    Barroso had before him, and he dramatizes his own personal feelings toward his country in
    terms of his musical creation. Throughout his work, the consciousness of Brazil has been a
    motivating force in his creative process.

    What Caetano learned originally from João Gilberto and Oswald de Andrade he later
    expanded into an individual talent that knew the virtues of assertive expression as well
    as the beauties of blurring the boundaries between disciplines. Caetano Veloso, a man who
    has seen not only the more sophisticated side of life but also its hardships, has
    experienced the academic as well as the mind-broadening lessons not found in books and
    institutions. A prolific composer whose works number in the hundreds, Veloso has lived to
    see his music both lauded and vilified. Significantly marking the history of Brazilian
    music, he has always been and today remains identifiably, Caetano.

    The December, 1997 cover story in Brazzil magazine, "Thirty Years of
    Tropicalismo/Times of Gall," can be found on the Web at: https://www.brazzil.com/dec97.htm 

    Caetano’s Web site is: http://www.caetanoveloso.com.br
     

    Bruce Gilman, music editor for Brazzil, received his Masters
    degree in music from California Institute of the Arts. He leads the Brazilian jazz
    ensemble Axé and plays cuíca for escola de samba MILA. You can reach him
    through his e-mail: cuica@interworld.net


    Caetano Veloso’s
    summer tour with
    Livro Vivo:

    June 27 Beacon Theatre New York, New York
    June 29 Vogue Theatre Vancouver, Canada
    July 1 Masonic Hall San Francisco, California
    July 3, 4 Ford Auditorium Los Angeles, California
    July 6 Bass Concert Hall Austin, Texas
    July 8 Salle Wilfrid Peletier de la Place des Arts Montreal, Canada
    July 10 Lowell Auditorium Boston, Massachusetts
    July 12 Northrup Auditorium Minneapolis, Minnesota
    July 13 Ravinia Festival Chicago, Illinois
    July 15 Warner Theatre Washington, DC
    July 17 Gleason Theatre Miami, Florida

    THE LYRICS

    Livros
    Caetano Veloso

    Tropeçavas nos astros desastrada
    Quase não tínhamos livros em casa
    E a cidade não tinha livraria
    Mas os livros que em nossa vida entraram
    São como a radiação de um corpo negro
    Apontando pra a expansão do Universo
    Porque a frase, o conceito, o enredo, o verso
    (E, sem dúvida, sobretudo o verso)
    É o que pode lançar mundos no mundo.

    Tropeçavas nos astros desastrada
    Sem saber que a ventura e a desventura
    Dessa estrada que vai do nada ao nada
    São livros e o luar contra a cultura.

    Os livros são objetos transcendentes
    Mas podemos amá-los do amor táctil
    Que votamos aos maços de cigarro
    Domá-los, cultivá-los em aquários,
    Em estantes, gaiolas, em fogueiras
    Ou lançá-los pra fora das janelas
    (Talvez isso nos livre de lançarmo-nos)
    Ou—o que é muito pior—por odiarmo-los
    Podemos simplesmente escrever um:

    Encher de vãs palavras muitas páginas
    E de mais confusão as prateleiras.
    Tropeçavas nos astros desastrada
    Mas pra mim foste a estrela entre as estrelas.

    Books

    You tripped clumsily over the stars
    We had almost no books at home
    And the city had no bookstore
    But the books that entered our lives
    Are like the gleam of a black body
    Pointing to the expansion of the Universe
    Because the phrase, the concept, the plot, the verse
    (And, verily, above all, the verse)
    Is what can throw worlds to the world.

    You tripped clumsily over the stars
    Not knowing how the luck and misfortune
    Of the road goes from nothingness to nothingness
    Are books and the moonlight contrary culture?

    Books are transcendental things
    But we can love them with our hands
    The way we touch a pack of cigarettes
    Tame them, nurture them in fish bowls,
    Shelves, cages, and bonfires
    Or fling them out the window
    (And that may keep us from jumping out)
    Or—and what’s much worse—to hate them
    We could simply write one more:

    Fill whole pages with vain words
    Add confusion to the bookcases.
    You tripped clumsily over the stars
    But to me you were the star among the stars.

     

    Manhatã para Lulu Santos
    Caetano Veloso

    Uma canoa canoa
    Varando a manhã de norte a sul
    Deusa da lenda na proa
    Levanta uma tocha na mão
    Todos os homens do mundo
    Voltaram seus olhos naquela direção
    Sente-se o gosto do vento
    Cantando nos vidros o
    nome doce da cunhã:

    Manhattan, Manhattan
    Manhattan, Manhattan
    Manhattan, Manhattan, Manhattan

    Um remoinho de dinheiro
    Varre o mundo inteiro, um leve leviatã
    E aqui dançam guerras no meio
    Da paz das moradas de amor

    Ah! Pra onde vai, quando for,
    Essa imensa alegria, toda essa exaltação
    Ah! Solidão, multidão
    Que menina bonita mordendo
    a polpa da maçã:

    Manhattan, Manhattan
    Manhattan, Manhattan
    Manhattan, Manhattan, Manhattan

    Manhattan for Lulu Santos

    A canoe, canoe
    Cuts through the morning from north to south
    Goddess of the legend on the prow
    Lifting a torch in her hand
    All of mankind
    Turns its eyes in that direction
    One tastes the wind
    Singing in the windows the sweet
    name of the Indian girl

    Manhattan, Manhattan
    Manhattan, Manhattan
    Manhattan, Manhattan, Manhattan

    A whirlwind of money
    Sweeps the whole world, an overwhelming light
    And here wars dance amid
    Love’s peaceful dwellings.

    Ah! Where is it going, when it goes,
    This immense joy, such exaltation
    Ah! Solitude, multitude,
    That beautiful girl biting
    the apple:

    Manhattan, Manhattan
    Manhattan, Manhattan
    Manhattan, Manhattan, Manhattan

     

    O Navio Negreiro (excerto)
    Antônio de Castro Alves

    Stamos em pleno mar
    (. . . )
    Era um sonho dantesco . . . o tombadilho,
    Que das luzernas avermelha o brilho,
    Em sangue a se banhar.
    Tinir de ferros . . . estalar do açoite . . .
    Legiões de homens negros como a noite,
    Horrendos a dançar . . .

    Negras mulheres, suspendendo às tetas
    Magras crianças, cujas bocas pretas
    Rega o sangue das mães:
    Outras, moças . . . mas nuas, espantadas,
    No turbilhão de espectros arrastadas,
    Em ânsia e mágoa vãs.

    E ri-se a orquestra, irônica, estridente . . .
    E da ronda fantástica a serpente
    Faz doudas espirais . . .
    Se o velho arqueja . . . se no chão resvala,
    Ouvem-se gritos . . . o chicote estala.
    E voam mais e mais . . .

    Presa dos elos de uma só cadeia,
    A multidão faminta cambaleia
    E chora e dança ali!
    Um de raiva delira, outro enlouquece . . .
    Outro, que de martírios embrutece,
    Cantando, geme e ri!

    No entanto o capitão manda a manobra
    E após, fitando o céu que se desdobra
    Tão puro sobre o mar,
    Diz do fumo entre os densos nevoeiros:
    "Vibrai rijo o chicote, marinheiros!
    Fazei-os mais dançar! . . ."

    E ri-se a orquestra irônica, estridente . . .
    E da ronda fantástica
    a serpente
    Faz doudas espirais!
    Qual num sonho dantesco as sombras
    voam . . .
    Gritos, ais, maldições, preces ressoam!
    E ri-se Satanaz! . . .

    Senhor Deus dos desgraçados!
    Dizei-me vós, Senhor Deus!
    Se é loucura . . . se é verdade
    Tanto horror perante os céus . . .
    Ó mar, por que não apagas
    Co’a esponja de tuas vagas
    De teu manto este borrão? . . .
    Astros! noite! tempestades!
    Rolai das imensidades!
    Varrei os mares, tufão! . . .

    Quem são estes desgraçados
    Que não encontram em vós
    Mais que o rir calmo da turba
    Que excita a fúria do algoz?
    Quem são? . . . Se a estrela se cala,
    Se a vaga à pressa resvala
    Como um cúmplice fugaz,
    Perante a noite confusa . . .
    Dize-o tu, severa musa,
    Musa libérrima, audaz!

    São os filhos do deserto
    Onde a terra esposa a luz.
    Onde voa em campo aberto
    A tribo dos homens nus . . .
    São os guerreiros ousados,
    Que com os tigres mosqueados
    Combatem na solidão . . .
    Homens simples, fortes, bravos . . .
    Hoje míseros escravos
    Sem ar, sem luz, sem razão . . .

    São mulheres desgraçadas
    Como Agar o foi também,
    Que sedentas, alquebradas,
    De longe . . . bem longe vêm . . .
    Trazendo com tíbios passos
    Filhos e algemas nos braços,
    N’alma—lágrimas e fel.
    Como Agar sofrendo tanto
    Que nem o leite do pranto
    Têm que dar para Ismael . . .

    Lá nas areias infindas,
    Das palmeiras no país,
    Nasceram—crianças lindas,
    Viveram—moças gentis . . .
    Passa um dia a caravana
    Quando a virgem na cabana
    Cisma das noites nos véus . . .
    . . . Adeus! ó choça do monte! . . .
    . . . Adeus! palmeiras da fonte! . . . .
    . . Adeus! amores . . . adeus! . . .

    ( . . . )

    Senhor Deus dos desgraçados!
    Dizei-me vós, Senhor Deus!
    Se eu deliro . . . ou se é verdade
    Tanto horror perante os céus . . .
    Ó mar, por que não apagas
    Co’a esponja de tuas vagas
    De teu manto este borrão? . . .
    Astros! noite! tempestades!
    Rolai das imensidades!
    Varrei os mares, tufão! . . .

    E existe um povo que a bandeira empresta
    P’ra cobrir tanta infâmia e cobardia! . . .
    E deixa-a transformar-se nessa festa
    Em manto impuro de bacante fria! . . .
    Meu Deus! meu Deus! mas que bandeira é esta,
    Que impudente na gávea tripudia?! . . .
    Silêncio! . . . Musa! chora, chora tanto
    Que o pavilhão se lave no seu pranto . . .

    Auriverde pendão de minha terra,
    Que a brisa do Brasil beija e balança,
    Estandarte que a luz do sol encerra,
    E as promessas divinas da esperança . . .
    Tu, que da liberdade após a guerra,
    Foste hasteado dos heróis na lança,
    Antes te houvessem roto na batalha,
    Que servires a um povo de mortalha! . . .

    Fatalidade atroz que a mente esmaga!
    Extingue nesta hora o brigue imundo
    O trilho que Colombo abriu na vaga,
    Como um íris no pélago profundo! . . . . . .
    Mas é infâmia demais . . .
    Da etérea plaga
    Levantai-vos, heróis do Novo Mundo . . .
    Andrada! arranca este pendão dos ares!
    Colombo! fecha a porta de teus mares!

    The Slave Ship (excerpt)

    We’re on the high seas
    ( . . . )
    It was a Dantean dream . . . the quarter-deck,
    Reddens the skylights’ gleam,
    Bathed in blood.
    The chink of irons . . . the whip cracking . . .
    Legions of men, dark as the night,
    Perform a hellish dance.

    Black women, suckling at their breasts
    Squalid children, whose mouths, so dark
    Are filled with mother’s blood:
    Others, young . . . but naked, and aghast
    Are dragged among the maelstrom of specters
    In vain grief and anguish.

    And the orchestra laughs, ironic, strident . . .
    And out of the phantasmal whirl comes a serpent
    Spiraling madly . . .
    If the old man wheezes . . . if he does fall down
    Screams are heard . . . the whip cracks down,
    And they fly and fly . . .

    Tied to the links of a single chain,
    The famished horde staggers, wails
    Weeping and dancing!
    One raves delirious, another has lost his mind . . .
    Another, with torments numb
    Sings, laughs, and sighs!

    And yet the captain orders the shady procedure
    And then, staring at the sky unfolding
    So pure over the sea,
    He says, eying the smoke amid the thick clouds:
    "Keep that whip cracking, seamen!
    Make them dance on! . . ."

    And the ironic orchestra laughs, strident . . .
    And out of the phantasmal whirl comes
    a serpent
    Spiraling madly . . .
    As in a Dantean dream the shadows
    dart . . .
    Screams, sighs, curses, prayers ring out!
    The Devil laughs out loud! . . .

    Dear God of the unfortunate!
    Tell me, Dear Lord!
    If it be madness . . . if it be truth
    Such horror before heaven . . .
    Oh, Sea, why do you not erase
    with your waves
    this blot from your cloak? . . .
    Stars! Night! Oh, Tempests!
    Roll out from your immensity!
    Typhoons! Sweep the seas! . . .

    Who could these wretches be
    Who only find in you
    The laughter of the crowd
    Exciting the executioner?
    Who are they? If the star is mute,
    If the wave passes resolute
    As an elusive accomplice,
    Before the confused night . . .
    Say it then. Oh, austere muse,
    Free and fearless muse.

    They are the children of the desert
    Where the land marries the light.
    Where through the open landscape
    The naked people soar . . .
    They are intrepid warriors,
    Who battle the spotted tigers,
    In the wide solitude . . .
    Simple men, strong and brave,
    Today miserable slaves
    Without air, or light, or reason . . .

    These are wretched women
    As was once Agar as well,
    Who, thirsty, broken down,
    Come far from where they dwell . . .
    Bringing with their timid steps
    Children and chains on their arms,
    And in their souls—tears and gall.
    Like Agar, they suffer so
    They lack even the milk of tears
    To quench the thirst of Ishmael . . .

    There, in those expanses of sand,
    Among the palms of their country,
    They were born—beautiful children . . .
    They lived—noble young women . . .
    One day the caravan comes
    While the virgin, in her hut
    Dreams of veils in the night . . .
    . . . Farewell! straw hut in the hill
    . . . Farewell! palm trees by the spring! . . .
    . . . Farewell! my loves . . . Good-bye!

    ( . . . )

    Dear God of the unfortunate!
    Tell me, Dear Lord!
    If I am delirious . . . or if this is reality
    Such horror before heaven . . .
    Oh Sea, why do you not erase
    with your waves
    This blot from your cloak? . . .
    Stars! Night! Oh, Tempests!
    Roll out from your immensity!
    Typhoons! Sweep the seas! . . .

    And there is a nation whose banner flies
    Over such infamy and cowardice! . . .
    And transforms in this feast
    Into the impure cloak of a dissolute woman! . . .
    Dear God! Dear God! What flag is this,
    Shamelessly fluttering on the foretop?
    Silence! . . . Muse! Weep, weep so much
    The banner may be cleansed by your tears.

    Golden green pennant of my land,
    You whom Brazil’s breeze sways and kisses,
    Standard gathering in the light of the sun,
    And the divine promises of hope . . .
    You, who were hoisted on the heroes’ lance,
    After the war to signal freedom,
    Before you could be tattered amid the battle,
    Serve these people as a shroud! . . .

    Atrocious fate that minds obliterate!
    Extinguish now the dreadful brig
    The trail left by Columbus on the wave,
    Like an iris in the ocean deep! . . .
    . . . It is too much infamy . . .
    From the ethereal zone
    Emerge, oh heroes of the New World . . .
    Andrada! uproot this banner from the main!
    Columbus! Close the doors to your ocean!

     

    Minha Voz, Minha Vida
    Caetano Veloso

    Minha voz, minha vida
    Meu segredo e minha revelação
    Minha luz escondida
    Minha bússola e minha desorientação
    Se o amor escraviza
    Mas é a única libertação
    Minha voz é precisa
    Vida que não é menos minha
    que da canção

    Por ser feliz, por sofrer,
    por esperar eu canto
    Por ser feliz, por sofrer,
    para esperar eu canto

    Meu amor, acredite
    Que se pode crescer assim pra nós
    Uma flor sem limite
    É somente porque eu trago
    a vida aqui na voz.

    My Voice, My Life

    My voice, my life,
    My secret and my revelation
    My hidden light
    My compass and disorientation
    If love enslaves us
    But is our only liberation
    My voice is needed
    Life is no less mine
    than the song’s

    For being happy, for suffering,
    for waiting, I sing
    To be happy, to suffer,
    to wait, I sing

    My love, believe me
    If a flower can grow for us
    Without limit
    It is only because I bring
    my life here in my voice.

     

    Selected
    Discography:

    Title

    Label

    Date

    Prenda Minha

    PolyGram

    1998

    Livro

    Mercury/Polygram

    1997

    Tieta do Agreste

    Natasha

    1996

    Fina Estampa ao Vivo

    PolyGram

    1994

    Fina Estampa

    .PolyGram

    1994

    Tropicália 2 (Caetano and Gil)

    Elektra/Nonesuch

    1993

    Circuladô Vivo

    PolyGram

    1992

    Circuladô

    Elektra/Nonesuch

    1991

    Estrangeiro

    Philips

    1989

    Caetano

    Philips

    1987

    Caetano Veloso

    Nonesuch

    1986

    Totalmente Demais

    Philips

    1986

    Velô

    Philips

    1984

    Uns

    Philips

    1983

    Cores, Nomes

    Philips

    1982

    Outras Palavras

    Philips

    1981

    Brasil (João Gilberto, Caetano, Gil, and
    Bethânia)

    WEA

    1981

    Cinema Transcendental

    Verve

    1979

    Maria Bethânia e Caetano Veloso ao Vivo

    Philips

    1978

    Muito (Dentro da Estrela Azulada)

    Philips

    1978

    Muitos Carnavais

    Philips

    1977

    Bicho

    Philips

    1977

    Doces Bárbaros (Caetano, Gal, Gil, Bethânia)

    Philips

    1976

    Qualquer Coisa

    Philips

    1975

    Jóia

    Philips

    1975

    Temporada de Verão (Caetano,Gal,Gil)

    Philips

    1974

    Caetano & Chico Juntos e ao Vivo

    Philips

    1972

    Araçá Azul

    Philips

    1972

    Transa

    Philips

    1972

    Caetano Veloso

    Philips

    1971

    Barra 69 (Caetano and Gil)

    Philips

    Recorded live 1969* Released 1972

    Caetano Veloso

    Philips

    1969

    Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis

    Philips

    1968

    Caetano Veloso

    Philips

    1968

    Domingo (Caetano and Gal)

    Philips

    1967

    * Horrible sound quality, but a valuable resource.

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