:: The articles in this series were originally
:: published in Daniella Thompson on Brazil.


The Boeuf chronicles, Pt. 18

Another country damsel abducted
from the carnaval.

Daniella Thompson

19 July 2002

A carnaval float of the Clube dos Democráticos (courtesy of O Rio de Antigamente)

The Rio carnaval left indelible marks on Darius Milhaud’s memory. He may not have remembered the titles of all the Brazilian carnaval tunes he had quoted in Le Boeuf sur le Toit or the names of their composers, but some images stayed with him for decades. In the unpublished article Bresilien Music [sic], written at Mills College in 1942 or ’43, Milhaud wrote:

I arrived in Brazil just in the middle of the carnaval. It is a time during which popular mirth bursts forth with a violence undreamed of by Europeans accustomed to the three days of festivity of a carnaval in Nice or Aix, interrupted by the sternness of Ash Wednesday giving way to Lent.

In Brazil three days are not enough. During the months preceding a carnaval, one organizes it. Clubs are founded, a group of friends decides that they will remain together during the carnaval festivities and thus forms a committee with a president, a vice-president, a secretary and a treasurer. The major part of their savings goes into the making or the renting of gorgeous costumes, in which ostrich feathers play an important part. For several weeks on Saturday evenings these small clubs sing and dance along the streets; they take part in the popular dances held in public squares or enter the dance halls.

“As Marrequinhas,” Clube dos Democráticos members in drag, 1913 (courtesy of O Rio de Antigamente)

In the country these same groups, seated on floats covered with foliage, sing their favorite songs on the roads, accompanied by the different instruments indispensable to all carnavalesque clubs.

It is at this period that the song of the year comes into the limelight; very soon it becomes hackneyed. One hears it sung in the street, whistled by workers going to work or by peddlers selling sherbets or green plants, carrying their merchandise on a table which they place on their heads. This song is ground out by the municipal band and creeps into the homes through victrolas and radios.

If I insist upon the importance of the carnaval, it is because the popular elements, deeply implanted in the country’s folklore, have taken an outstanding value in the contemporary music. One finds in popular Brazilian music the three main elements which are the foundation of that nation: the Indians, the negros and the Portuguese. [...]

I had also met a young cellist who played in a movie theater to earn his living; I went to his house and he showed me his first compositions. This man was Heitor Villa-Lobos. I met him again later in Paris. He was amongst the group who gathered on Thursdays at Florent Schmitt’s house in Saint Cloud, and Villa-Lobos himself invited his friends on Sundays to his apartment on the Place Saint Michel. The list of his works is tremendous. His romantic character addresses itself to every source: Portuguese, negro and Indian. Did he not even tell me that when traveling in the Amazon in search of Indian folklore he had found some themes which the Indians themselves had forgotten but that the parrots who live for two hundred years were still singing!

As they did in the case of “Caboca di Caxangá,” Milhaud and Villa-Lobos share a history of borrowing the next song.

Souvenirs de l’Indien Blanc’
by Anna Stella Schic

Tune No. 18: “Vamo Maruca, Vamo” (1918)

“Vamo Maruca, Vamo” is a carnaval song by Juca Castro and Paixão Trindade, variously tagged a samba, cateretê, baião, and maxixe (the boundaries between genres were quite blurred in those days). According to Manoel Aranha Corrêa do Lago, two of the song’s four sections are insertions of the folkloric tunes “Vamo Maruca, Vamo” and “Co-Co-Có,” both included in singer/music scholar Elsie Houston’s collection Chants Populaires du Brésil (Paris, 1930).

In the article “A História da música de Carnaval—Fase mecânica,” José Maria Campos Manzo points out that the first carnaval samba, “Pelo Telefone,” was not called samba carnavalesco on the disc label but simply samba. On the other hand, “Vamo Maruca, Vamo” is one of three so-identified sambas carnavalescos released by the Phoenix and Gaúcho record companies during the same period.

Both Phoenix and Gaúcho released the composer’s own recording(s), listed in Fundação Joaquim Nabuco’s database along with several other interpretations:

Autor: Juca Castro
Título: Vamo Maruca, Vamo
Gênero: Samba
Intérprete: Juca Castro
Gravadora: Phoenix
Número: 213
Matriz: 1263

Título: Vamo Maruca, Vamo
Gênero: Samba Carnavalesco
Intérprete: Juca Castro
Gravadora: Gaúcho
Número: 4011

Título: Vamo Maruca, Vamo
Gênero: Samba
Intérprete: Zapparoli e Coro
Gravadora: Gaúcho
Número: 1291

Autor: Juca Castro - Paixão Trindade
Título: Vamo Maruca, Vamo
Gênero: Baião
Intérprete: Trio Madrigal & Trio Melodia
Gravadora: Continental
Número: 16.600-B
Matriz: C-2812
Data gravação: 19.03.1952
Data lançamento: Jul/1952

Autor: Juca Castro - Paixão Trindade
Título: Vamo Maruca, Vamo
Gênero: Maxixe
Intérprete: Zezinho de Lima
Gravadora: RGE
Número: 10100-A
Matriz: RGO-632
Data lançamento: Jun/1958

Vamo Maruca, Vamo score cover
A score published by Casa Alonso in Montevideo, Uruguay

Another recording was made by Francisco Alves (released in 1918 according to the Collector’s site).

“Vamo Maruca, Vamo” was one of the hits of the 1918 carnaval and appears at no. 16 among the top 40 songs of 1918 on the Time Machine 1918 website.*

In Louis de Froment’s recording of Le Boeuf sur le Toit, one can hear section B of “Vamo Maruca, Vamo” in counterpoint against “Caboca di Caxangá” around 9:35 min. At 9:52 min. it is clearly audible.

The tune returns at 10:36 min., where its opening is played in triple counterpoint with section A of “A Mulher do Bode” by Oswaldo Cardoso de Menezes (1918) and the fourth unidentified tune (Tune No. 20).

Villa-Lobos also was fond of “Maruca,” which found its way into two of his compositions. It is quoted in the fourth movement (“Miudinho”) of Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4 (1930) and in his Guia Prático (1932–1949), a collection of children’s and folk songs.

We’ll hear excerpts from four recordings. First, a sung version of section B, performed by an unidentified children’s chorus.

Pianist Guiomar Novaes plays her own arrangement of section B in a Columbia recording from the 1920s.

Pianist Anna Stella Schic also plays section B as arranged by Villa-Lobos in the Guia Prático.

Finally, our friend Alexandre Dias plays sections A and B from a period piano score published by A. Di Franco and provided by Manoel Aranha Corrêa do Lago.

Anna Stella Schic

These lyrics were published in the piano score from A. Di Franco, Editor, S. Paulo:

Vamo Maruca, Vamo...
Versos de Paixão Trindade
Musica de Juca Castro

A carta que te mandei...
Que te mandei...
Foi papé das minha mão...
Das minha mão...

A tinta foi dos meus óio...
Dos meus óio...
A penna meu coração...
Meu coração...

Vamo Maruca, vamo...
Vamo pra Jundiay...
Co's ôtro vancê vai,
Só cumigo não qué i...

Não vô não...
Não vô não quero i!
Longi de meus parente,
Vancê que judiá de mim.


As ave de mim tem pena...
De mim tem pena
Os campo de mim tem dó...
De mim tem dó
As ave pur me vê triste...
Pur me vê triste
Os campo pur me vê só...
Pur me vê só

Vamo Maruca, vamo...

= = =

* “Vamo Maruca, Vamo” was enough of a carnaval success to become the object of imitation. Also in 1918, the legendary guitarist Canhoto released “Nhá Maruca Foi S’Imbora,” a song that bears great resemblance to “Vamo Maruca, Vamo.” and that managed to achieved greater sales that year.

Autor: Américo Jacomino “Canhoto”
Título: Nhá Maruca Foi S’Imbora
Gênero: Catira
Intérprete: Grupo O Passos no Choro
Gravadora: Odeon
Número: 121514

Autor: A. Jacomino “Canhoto”
Título: Nhá Maruca Foi S’Imbora
Gênero: Samba
Intérprete: Os Geraldos
Gravadora: Gaúcho
Número: 4042

Scan courtesy of Alexandre Dias



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