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


 

The Boeuf chronicles, Pt. 19

The goat’s wife makes an entrance.

Daniella Thompson

30 July 2002


1954 LP cover by Lan: Almirante (tl),
Pixinguinha (tr), João da Baiana (bl),
Donga (br) (see complete list)

Henrique Foréis Domingues (1908–1980), better known as Almirante, was one of the most important personages in the history of MPB. Singer, songwriter, radio man, and prodigious archivist, he left his mark on everything he touched.

Still a lad of 21, Almirante co-founded the legendary Bando de Tangarás along with Noel Rosa, João de Barro (Braguinha), and two other young friends. The 1930 carnaval sang his hit “Na Pavuna,” whose disc was the first-ever studio recording to utilize samba percussion instruments (recorded in late 1929, it quickly set a trend for percussion in popular music and made it possible for black sambistas like Mano Elói Dias and Getúlio Marinho “Amor” to record pontos de macumba at the venerable Casa Edison).

As a singer, Almirante launched many a carnaval hit during the 1930s, including “O Orvalho Vem Caindo” (Noel Rosa/Kid Pepe), “Yes, Nós Temos Bananas,” and “Touradas em Madri” (both by Alberto Ribeiro & João de Barro). He was a close friend of Carmen Miranda and appeared with her on stage and film. Beginning in 1934, he turned his attention to radio and soon became Brazil’s most innovative and popular radio programmer, known as A Maior Patente do Rádio. In the course of 18 years, he ran 20 radio programs that served as music schools for several generations of Brazilians and lifted from oblivion great names like those of Pixinguinga and Noel Rosa. One of Almirante’s programs was called O Pessoal da Velha Guarda, which ran on Rádio Tupi during the late ’40s and early ’50s. Its orchestra presented a number of the tunes quoted by Milhaud in Le Boeuf sur le Toit in arrangements by Pixinguinha, who also conducted. The tunes were always preceded by a spoken preamble that shed some light on their origins.

Tune No. 19: “A Mulher do Bode” (1918)

“A Mulher do Bode” (The Goat’s Wife) is a polka-tango by Oswaldo Cardoso de Menezes Filho (1893–1935), a popular pianist of the type known in Brazil as pianeiro rather than pianista. As a teenager he spent several years playing in a beer hall on Rua Visconde do Rio Branco in Rio de Janeiro. He was a member of several carnaval associations such as Sociedade Dançante Carnavalesca Paladinos Brasileiros and Grupo Dançante Carnavalesco Tome Abença da Vovó. While still a youth, he became the pianist of the famous rancho Kananga do Japão. The artistic name he used was simply Menezes Filho. Although he published a number of tunes, Cardoso de Menezes never recorded or appeared on the radio. Today he’s best known as the father of famed pianist Carolina Cardoso de Menezes.

Thanks to Almirante, who presented “A Mulher do Bode” in 1950 and again in 1952, we know that several anecdotes surround this tune, all of them interesting. One of them tells that the author was inspired by a woman of ample physical attributes who used to frequent a Rio cinema accompanied by a gentleman sporting an equally copious beard. It’s unfortunate that the radio announcer, perhaps for lack of time, desisted from telling the other stories, for I found no other source for them. The full text of the presentations is provided at the bottom.

Section A of “A Mulher do Bode” may be heard at 10:36 min. into Louis de Froment’s recording of Le Boeuf sur le Toit.

In counterpoint with “A Mulher do Bode” can be heard section A of “Vamo Maruca, Vamo” and section A of “Urubu Subiu.”

Only one recording of “A Mulher do Bode” was released during its composer’s lifetime, to judge by the listings in Fundação Joaquim Nabuco’s database:

Autor: Arranjo: Cardoso de Menezes Filho
Título: A Mulher do Bode
Gênero: Maxixe
Intérprete: Orquestra Cicero
Gravadora: Odeon
Número: 121547

There are, however, two radio transcriptions of “A Mulher do Bode” from Almirante’s program O Pessoal da Velha Guarda, released on audio cassettes by Collector’s. Both were arranged by Pixinguinha and played by the Orquestra Pessoal da Velha Guarda.

We’ll hear an excerpt from the 1950 recording.


Almirante (right) at Rádio Nacional, 1944

Announcements from Almirante’s Rádio Tupi program O Pessoal da Velha Guarda*

“A Mulher do Bode” (from a program recorded on 13 Mar. 1950):

A respeito da música que se segue, corre uma série de histórias, todas elas interessantíssimas. Uma delas, por exemplo, conta que o autor dessa musica, que era o saudoso pianista Cardoso de Menezes, se inspirou em um certo cavalheiro portador de um vistoso cavanhaque e cuja esposa se fazia notar por excelentes atributos fisicos que logo davam na vista. A história bem pode ser verdadeira, pois se ajusta perfeitamente ao título que Cardoso de Menezes deu a sua música: “A Mulher do Bode”. Seja como for, a célebre polca é das mais interessantes do repertório da Velha Guarda, e por isso aqui vai num arranjo de Pixinguinha.

“A Mulher do Bode” (from a program recorded on 14 Dec. 1952):

Muitos de nossos ouvintes conheceram pessoalmente vários daqueles músicos que temos aqui frequentemente. Muitos conheceram, por exemplo, o querido pianista que foi Cardoso de Menezes, cujo virtuosismo dentro de sua classe foi motivo de admiração no seu tempo. Essa é a razão por que recebemos insistentes pedidos de músicas de Cardoso de Menezes. E a razão é porque aí vai pelo Pessoal da Velha Guarda uma de suas composições mais conhecidas e mais curiosas. Trata-se de “A Mulher do Bode”, charge em que o autor fixou certa criatura que frequentava um de nossos cinemas acompanhada de um cavalheiro de cavanhaque. Querem ouvir essa musica nessa audicão dois amáveis ouvintes do Rio: Raul Queiroz e Pedro Rosa, sendo que este se declara velho companheiro do saudoso pianista. Pois, ouvintes, aí vai, no belo arranjo de Pixinguinha, “A Mulher do Bode” de Cardoso de Menezes.

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* Announcements transcribed by Alexandre Dias.

 

 

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