Chico Buarque's "Vai Passar"


20. Feb. 2007, 19:18

During the junta days, censorship was vitalt for the survival of the repressive regime. Chico Buarque was banned from TV. Cretin censors read every songwriter's song to decide if the song was okay or not. In Chico's musical career, things got to a point he had to use an alias to have a song recorded. Even so, the military thought he was writing about the homely daughter of General Geisel. And kept him out of the powerful Globo TV network. Not even his name was mentioned.
What I like about this song is the perfection of Chico Buarque's samba de enredo, the samba sung during the Carnaval parades. Two elements define a samba de enredo. One is the melodic structure, which repeats itself for the sixty minutes each group parades, energized by a huge percussion section. The other is the lyrics, which invariably tell a story (enredo means plot) the group will show with the floats, costumes, and everything else a samba association displays.
Chico Buarque's lyrics comment on the maladies of Brasil, but not in a mean way. The lyrics describe people, mostly poor. It's a carnaval song, after all.
When I hear it I can see the carnaval parade, especially as the percussion in the song replicates the real thing, changing as the song repeats itself. My heart beats to the percussion of Rio de Janeiro's carnaval as if I were there. I can see the parade in my mind as my eyes well with nostalgic tears. Saudade..." a word that can't be translated," Brazilians like to say.


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