Crônicas em Inglês

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1. The rest is sea: the tone of Tom Jobim

The song I will analyze is wavy like the ocean and its author character sticks to this shape.
In the English version, he warns3 the audience: ‘Don’t try to fight the rising sea’4. From the
author’s own hands, the translated song states the central theme of the whole project which
is, not by chance, named ‘Wave’: all over the world, one of the most played song amongst
the set of popular Brazilian songs.

The song I will analyze is wavy like the ocean and its author character sticks to this shape. In the English version, he warns3 the audience: ‘Don’t try to fight the rising sea’4. From the author’s own hands, the translated song states the central theme of the whole project which is, not by chance, named ‘Wave’: all over the world, one of the most played song amongst the set of popular Brazilian songs.

imagem_1

The figure above shows the first gesture of ‘Wave’. As we may observe, the tiny wave of ‘vou te contar’ (‘So close your eyes’, in the English version) is followed by the larger, inexorable wave. By singing this part one may realize that, in the song, the wave movement is as fundamental as love. Or rather, that this love is combined in a back and forth movement with wave-related elements: the sea, the breeze, the piers, the night, the stars, the city, the indescribable eternity which will altogether perform a true anthem… and ‘anthem’ seems to be the only word that makes sense to me now. But what kind of anthem does ‘Wave’ represent?

There is no doubt, it is an iconic song but, as a genre, Jobim’s song is opposite to anthems. Features like the heroic and historic distance produced by most anthems are no good in order to analyze this song. The wave-song deals with proximity, involvement, and little by little, is like a breeze that says: ‘é impossível ser feliz sozinho’5 (sic).

For instance, the tiny wave of the beginning – ‘vou te contar’. It is a minimal movement which produces utmost significance. It creates a special bond with the listener. Such phrase may be produced only in an environment of intimacy, of a circle of friends, which is also the intimacy of a community language – for instance, from Rio de Janeiro, typically Brazilian. In the fashion of bossa-nova, the song defines us from an anti-heraldry perspective, more colloquial, as the circle of friends may be considered.  Download the text here – The rest is sea: the tone of Tom Jobim

2. Meu Caro Amigo: an ode to Chico and Francis Hime

From one perspective there’s a tone of tenderness — is there anything gentler than ‘meu caro amigo’? And it goes further: ‘me perdoe por favor, se não lhe faço uma visita…’ (‘please forgive me if I don’t pay you a visit…’) Chico intensifies and projects – almost humorously – his balmy language (You may watch the video at Youtube).

In a different point of view underlies a tone of lament which builds up a scenery of hardships to be revealed right after the sentence ‘a coisa aqui ta preta’ (‘these are dark times’), followed by ‘muita mutreta pra levar a situação’ (‘this situation needs many tricks to be solved’), and in the same line words like: careta, pirueta, sarro, sapo, cachaça (literally: face, pirouette, mockery, frog, cachaça)… The result is inevitable: ‘ninguém segura esse rojão’ (‘nobody can restrain this rocket’).

Anyone who lived the 70’s in Brazil knows how intolerable was the massacre of the media on the outcry ‘ninguém segura esse país’ (‘no one can restrain this country’) – the dictatorship persisted as if it was a national desire. Chico’s song has the taste of a payback, with a vengeful, small dose of irony and prank: it is not a country, but a rocket. The verse may have been prophetic: coincidently, a rocket broke out at Rio Centro a few years later.

So there goes the song, blooming over a polarity – cruel and sweet. Not that it sounds broken or uneven. On the contrary, it goes down smoothly from the ears to the chest, and this is one of its great achievements. The emotions perform a communion of values and positions, all derived from two fundamental principles: the call of speech of the chorinho and the intimacy of the letter genre. Download the text here –  Meu Caro Amigo: an ode to Chico and Francis Hime

One Comment to “Crônicas em Inglês”

  1. Prezado Professor,

    Estou defendendo minha dissertação de mestrado na UFMG, na área de educação, e muito me interesso pelos seus escritos. Como músico, li há poucos dias alguns artigos seus, especialmente os que relacionam música e psicanálise e sobre Gilberto Gil (Expresso 2222). Gostaria de saber onde posso encontrar mais textos e crônicas de sua autoria sobre Gilberto Gil, sejam análises de canções ou outros textos. Meu objetivo é investigar as relações entre a música e a política, tendo como foco a figura de Gilberto Gil.

    Um abraço,
    Paulo

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