Response Marchinha: Leave Zezé’s big hair in peace!

Don’t you just love Response Songs? You know, someone writes a song asking “Why don’t you love me?” and then someone else writes a song which says “Because you’re boring and selfish!”.

Well I’ve just discovered a response song I had to tell you about. Remember I recently wrote about the classic carnaval marchinha Cabeleira de Zezé? It’s a super catchy song dating back to the early 1960s – it’s a much-loved song, but the lyrics left me wondering if I should really be singing it. An ‘unconventional’ guy named Zezé, is singled out for his unusually big hair. Various lines of the song seem to suggest that the guy might be this or that, but the crowd’s participation (shouting BICHA!) sets the tone of the song (the suggestion is that the guy is gay). The final line of the song is “Cut his hair!”

Well, the Eat Rio reader consensus was that this isn’t some homophobic bully song, but rather a reflection of the times in which it was composed. I was (and am) happy to accept that, but it seems that one group of people feel that it is time to come to poor Zezé’s defence!


This is A.B.R.A. Pre-Ca. In case you’re wondering, this stands for Amigos Bandidos Residentes no Amor Pré-Carnaval. These guys started writing carnival music in 2011 and they now play at blocos, discos and clubs.


I don’t know about you, but if I found myself being bullied by a crowd of conformist bullies, this is exactly the group of people I would want to show up to defend me! I’m pretty sure the bullies would forget all about me and concentrate of this lot instead!

But it wasn’t their interesting look that caught my eye when I was reading the newspaper this morning. These guys have written a Response Marchinha in which they say that it’s time to leave Zezé (and his big hair) alone!



From today’s edition of O Globo, the headline says “Leave Zezé’s big hair in peace!”


The track itself is called Procure Saber (Try to find out) and it is a direct response to Cabeleiro do Zezé. The lines roughly translate to:

Leave Zezé alone / That talk of “Is he or isn’t he?” / Is so lame / Gilberto Gil can humiliate you / And Caetano too.

It’s a pretty bad translation. The line about Gilberto Gil is that he can give an esculacho which can be simply to beat someone up, but also has a meaning of humiliation which doesn’t require actual violence. Perhaps someone puts you down in a way that makes you feel very small. I also enjoyed the line about Caetano – it says Caetano signs below, meaning that he would sign up to that to.

Although I accept that the original song isn’t meant in a nasty way, I rather like the fact that they have made this new song. I also like the fact that they have invoked the names of two very cool, unconventional guys in the defence of the mythical Zezé.



Caetano Velosa, a Brazilian musical legend, who also happened to have rather large hair back in the day!


I like everything about this story apart from one thing – the song itself! I’ve only managed to find one rendition on YouTube and I’m sorry, but it ain’t about to replace the original. I leave you with another song from this group – it’s not great, but it made me chuckle:


Pamonha is a snack made from sweetcorn – remember this guy? A truck drives around our neighbourhood selling this corn snack and a guy shouts “Pamonha!”, but it always sounded to me like “Maconha” (marijuana). This similarity is the basis of this rather silly song.
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