Well it’s that time of year again – carnival lovers start planning their fantasias while carnival haters start looking for a quiet country pousada where they can escape the mayhem.
This will be my fourth carnival and I’m really looking forward to it. Contrary to what you might expect, I have enjoyed each carnival more than the one before. This has been due to knowing what to expect, better planning, and getting to know the marchinhas (traditional carnival songs).
That last point might sound strange, but imagine yourself surrounded by thousands of people who are having the time of their lives, all singing their hearts out to what sounds like a really catchy song. Only problem is you don’t even know the tune, let alone the words. Sure there are worse things that can happen to you, but still, it’s more fun when you know the songs.
With that in mind, I’m adding another classic marchinha to my list of classic Carnival Songs that everyone should know. Mamãe Eu Quero, written by Vicente Paiva in 1936, is one of the most popular marchinhas of all time. Paiva was born in 1908 in São Paulo and sadly I could only find one picture of him.
As well as being a composer, Paiva was also a pianist, singer and arranger. Mamãe Eu Quero is probably the song he is best known for, though he was no one-hit wonder – he also wrote O Cordão da Bola Preta and Voltei Pro Morro.
But let’s get to his greatest success. Mamãe Eu Quero (Mummy I want it) was recorded in December 1936 by friends and collaborators, Jararaca and Almirante. Released in early 1937, the song was a huge hit in that year’s carnival. Here is that original version:
OK, so it’s a nice song, but that version does feel rather pedestrian – apparently Almirante was the only one convinced it would be a success.
Now that you’ve heard the original, I’ll play you my favourite rendition. Carmen Miranda was described as the most famous Brazilian woman of the 20th century and deserves a post of her own (coming soon):
This version is much more upbeat and chirpy don’t you think?
I’ve included the lyrics at the bottom of the post but don’t expect them to make a huge amount of sense. The first lines involve a baby crying that it wants to suckle (mamar) to which the response is to give it a pacifier/dummy (dá chupeta, not “dash of pepper”!). Beyond that I can’t tell you much as it all goes a bit weird.
All the talk of suckling and putting pacifiers in mouths makes me suspect that there could be some double entendres going on, but then maybe I’ve just got a dirty mind! I’ll leave you with something far more wholesome – Tom and Jerry!
Mamãe eu quero, mamãe eu quero
Mamãe eu quero mamar!
Dá a chupeta, ai, dá a chupeta
Dá a chupeta pro bebê não chorar!
Dorme filhinho do meu coração
Pega a mamadeira e vem entra no meu cordão
Eu tenho uma irmã que é fenomenal
Ela é da bossa e o marido é um boçal
Eu olho as pequenas, mas daquele jeito
E tenho muita pena não ser criança de peito
Eu tenho uma irmã que se chama Ana
De piscar o olho já ficou sem a pestana