Mangueira 2020

The Guardian reports from Rio de Janeiro and Maranhão:

From raperos to roqueiros, a growing chorus of musicians are denouncing the extremist politician [Bolsonaro] and his assault on their trade.

Roqueiros broadly means rock musicians. Raperos refers to rappers, obviously, but the word is Spanish rather than Portuguese. Brazilian media occasionally use it (within quotation marks) to refer to artists from Spanish-speaking Latin America. Local musicians are simply rappers (brasileiros).

Another artist joining the resistance is Manu da Cuíca, a 34-year-old composer who wrote the 2020 carnival anthem for one of Rio’s leading samba schools, Mangueira.

Brazilian musicians sometimes use stage names indicating their mastery of an instrument or an affinity for it: Jacob do Bandolim (of the mandoline), Nelson Cavaquinho (a four-string samba guitar), Osvaldinho da Cuíca. It’s an amazing instrument, the cuíca, in the right hands, of course.

The song’s standout lyric – which warns of the perils of “gun-toting messiahs” – is a clear swipe at the pro-gun president, whose middle name is Messias.

Here’s the lyrics. As is common with Brazilian songs, it’s in deceptively simple Portuguese but isn’t as easy to understand without understanding some of the cultural or local references. It seems to me a creative mix of liberation theology the history of samba and the carnival. Not my cup of tea, but The Guardian should have translated it all.

Discover more from Winterings in Trans-Scythia

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading