Last month I published a short post I entitled “What I like to listen to when I miss my beloved Argentina?” featuring a beautiful Argentinian zamba interpreted by Pedro Aznar and Abel Pintos.  Today I want to make something very similar and share with you the kind of music I listen to when I miss my (also beloved) Brazil: the song “Jack Soul Brazileiro” in two version: one by Lenine, the original composer, and one by Fernanda Abreu.  If Pedro Aznar singing “Zamba Para Olvidar” is the ultimate expression of Argentinian music, then surely Lenine or Fernanda Abreu singing “Jack Soul Brazileiro” could be seen as the ultimate expression of Brazilian music, at least imho.

I highly encourage everybody to discover the rest of the music of Lenine and Fernada Abreu, you will not be disappointed!

Enjoy!

The Saker

Finally, here is a transcript with translation very kindly made for me by Ruben Bauer Naveira (I speak Spanish and I understand Brazilian, but this song is so full of slang words and local expressions that I needed Ruben’s help to make it through the lyrics):

JACK SOUL BRASILEIRO
(Lenine)

Já que sou[1] brasileiro
Given I’m a Brazilian
E que som do pandeiro
And that the sound of the tambourine
É certeiro e tem direção
Is precise and oriented
Já que subi nesse ringue
Given I’ve walked in this ring
E o país do swing
And that the country of swing
É o país da contradição
Is the country of contradiction
Eu canto pro rei da levada
I sing to the “levada[2] king
Na lei da embolada
According to the “embolada[3] law
Na língua da percussão
According to the percussion language
A dança mugango dengo
The “mugango[4]dengo[5] dance
A ginga do mamolengo
The “mamolengo[6] waddle
Charme dessa nação
A charm from this nation
Quem foi?
Who did it?
Que fez o samba embolar?
Who entangled the samba?
Quem foi?
Who did it?
Que fez o coco sambar?
Who led the coconut to dance samba?
Quem foi?
Who did it?
Que fez a ema gemer[7] na boa?
Who led the rhea to groan – being easy?
Quem foi?
Who did it?
Que fez do coco um cocar?
Who made a warbonnet from a coconut?
Quem foi?
Who did it?
Que deixou um oco no lugar?
Who left a hollow instead?
Quem foi?
Who did it?
Que fez do sapo cantor de lagoa?
Who turned the frog into a pond singer?
E diz aí Tião![8]
So, Bob, tell me!
Diga Tião! Oi!
Bob, tell me! Hello!
Foste? Fui!
You’ve gone? I did!
Compraste? Comprei!
You’ve bought? I did!
Pagaste? Paguei!
You’ve paid? I did!
Me diz quanto foi?
Tell me, how much it have cost?
Foi 500 reais
It have cost 500 reais
Me diz quanto foi?
Tell me, how much it have cost?
Já que sou[9] brasileiro
Given I’m a Brazilian
Do tempero, do batuque
From the seasoning, from the drumming
Do truque, do picadeiro
From the trick, from the [circus] arena
E do pandeiro, e do repique
From the tambourine, from the “repique[10]
Do pique do funk rock
From the “pique[11], from the funk[12] rock
Do toque da platinela
From the touch on the “platinela[13]
Do samba na passarela
From the samba at the catwalk
Dessa alma brasileira
From this Brazilian soul
Despencando da ladeira
Plummeting on the slope
Na zueira da banguela
At the “zueira[14] of the “banguela[15]
Alma brasileira
Brazilian soul
Despencando da ladeira
Plummeting on the slope
Na zueira da banguela
At the “zueira” of the “banguela
Eu só ponho Bebop no meu samba[16]
I would only add Bebop [jazz] in my samba
Quando o tio Sam Pegar no tamborim
After Uncle Sam has played a “tamborim[17]
Quando ele pegar no pandeiro e no zabumba
After he has played a tambourine and a “zabumba[18]
Quando ele entender que o samba não é rumba
After he understands that samba isn’t rumba
Aí eu vou misturar Miami com Copacabana
Then I will mix Miami and Copacabana
Chiclete eu misturo com banana
Chewing gum I mix with banana
E o meu samba, e o meu samba vai ficar assim
And my samba, my samba will become this way
A Ema gemeu[19]
The rhea has groaned
A Ema gemeu
The rhea has groaned
A Ema gemeu
The rhea has groaned
A Ema gemeu
The rhea has groaned
A Ema gemeu
The rhea has groaned
A Ema gemeu
The rhea has groaned
Eu digo deixe que digam[20]
I say: let people say
Que pensem
Let people think
Que falem!
Let people talk
Eu digo deixa isso pra lá
I say: doesn’t matter
Vem pra cá
Come here
O que que tem?
Nothing wrong
Tô fazendo nada
I’m doing nothing
Você também
Neither you
Não faz mal bater um papo assim gostoso com alguém
Nothing wrong having a so cool chat with someone
——-NOTES——-

  1. Já que sou” (meaning “since I am” Portuguese) sounds exactly equal to “Jack Soul” (English).
  2. Slang. Untranslatable. It refers to a proper (personal) way of playing music.
  3. Popular (regional). Untranslatable. A folk art from Brazil North-East of singing in pairs (both with tambourines), which is kind of a challenge: one singer devises a verse and the other one must instantly reply it with a creative rhyme.
  4. Slang. Untranslatable. It means someone who is both muddled and jesting.
  5. Slang. Untranslatable. It may mean either caress or the mood of someone who is affected.
  6. Popular (regional). Untranslatable. The puppet in a folk puppet show from Brazil North-East.
  7. This is a tribute to an old song, “O Canto da Ema” (original playing by Jackson do Pandeiro, revisited by Gilberto Gil).
  8. In Portuguese, “Tião” is the nickname for “Sebastião” (Sebastian), a very common one. In English, however, there is almost no usage for the nicknames for “Sebastian” (“Seb” or “Bass”). Thus “Tião” has been translated as “Bob”.
  9. See note 1 above.
  10. A specific Brazilian drum (untranslatable).
  11. Slang. Untranslatable. It refers to someone’s mood.
  12. In Brazil, funk is a specific music genre.
  13. A small cymbal, which is part of a rattle (unknown translation).
  14. Slang. Untranslatable. It means “party behavior”.
  15. Slang. Untranslatable. It means edentulous.
  16. This whole passage is an excerpt from another old song, “Chiclete com Banana” (original playing by Jackson do Pandeiro, revisited by Gilberto Gil).
  17. Another specific Brazilian drum, a small one, taken by hand (unknown translation). There is some mistaken ambiguity between “tamborim” (Portuguese) and “tambourine” (English), though the latter is a different hand‑drum (“pandeiro”, in Portuguese).
  18. Another specific Brazilian drum (untranslatable).
  19. See note 7 above.
  20. This whole passage is an excerpt from another old song, “Deixa Isso pra Lá”, which is considered to be the first Brazilian rap song (from 1964; original playing by Jair Rodrigues, revisited by Seu Jorge).

UPDATE: I just found this pretty good YT video of “Jack Soul Brazileiro” interpreted by three musicians I know nothing about, but which I like a lot.  I hope that you will enjoy them too!

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