Carnival Songs: Mulata iê iê iê



It feels like the perfect storm: carnival is nearly upon us, my best friend from England arrives in Rio tonight and to top things off, it’s Friday! It’s enough to make you want sing isn’t it? Well don’t hold back – today I’m adding another classic marchinha to my list of favourite carnival tunes (see under the “Carnival” menu item above).

Being the ignorant gringo that I am, I had some trouble finding this song because I knew it only as ‘that passarela song’. It is often listed as “Mulata Bossa Nova”, but officially it is called Mulata iê iê iê (‘iê’ sounds like ‘yeah’).

The song was written by our old friend João Roberto Kelly (remember Cabaleira do Zezé?) and made famous in 1965 by Emilinha Borba (pictured above). Emilinha sounds like she must have been quite a character, having well publicised feuds with rival divas of the time, including an actual physical fight with Linda Batista over the affections of a visiting Orson Welles! Anyway, let’s hear her sing the song shall we?


Very catchy isn’t it? It’s a really popular marchinha here – so much so that you will be lucky to go a full day at Rio carnival without hearing it. So learn that tune, even learn the words if you like!


‘Hully Gully’ was a brilliant dance, popular back in the 1960s;

‘Fiu fiu’ is the onomatopoeic way that Brazilians refer to a wolf whistle;

‘Esnobando’ means snubbing to being snobbish towards someone;


And finally, how about a more up to date rendition? The sound quality ain’t great, but if this doesn’t get you in the mood for carnival, you might want to check that you’ve still got a pulse! Have a great weekend.



2 replies
  1. Idalia
    Idalia says:

    Oh my…this brought back memories! I miss this…everyone is having fun and nobody cares who you are just have fun!

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Carnival is such a great time isn’t it? I like the carnival da rua because it’s like going to the beach – rich and poor mix happily! 🙂


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