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Hy everybody,

my name is Sergio and I've just registered to this forum.

I'm struggling with the translation of Carmen Miranda's song "Dizeram Que Eu Voltei Americanizada".

I have a certain understanding of Portuguese, but unfortunately this text is full of idioms and puns and I'm not sure whether I have understood everything correctly.

Can anybody help me with it?

Thank you very much...


Disseram que eu voltei americanizada

Com o burro do dinheiro, que estou muito rica

Que não suporto mais o breque do pandeiro

E fico arrepiada ouvindo uma cuíca

E disseram que com as mãos estou preocupada

E corre por aí que eu sei certo zum zum

Que já não tenho molho, ritmo, nem nada

E dos balangandans já não existe mais nenhum

Mas pra cima de mim, pra que tanto veneno

Eu posso lá ficar americanizada

Eu que nasci com o samba e vivo no sereno

Topando a noite inteira a velha batucada

Nas rodas de malandro minhas preferidas

Eu digo mesmo eu te amo, e nunca I love you

Enquanto houver Brasil na hora da comida

Eu sou do camarão ensopadinho com chuchu


They say that I've come back americanized

(Loaded with money?) [Literally: on the donkey of money], that I'm very rich,

That I can't stand anymore the (breque?) [alludes to the "samba de breque"?] of the pandeiro

And I feel horrified when I hear a cuica.

And they say that I'm (concerned with my hands?)

And there's this (backbiting?) running about

That I have no more (molho?), nor rhythm, nor anything,

And there's no more balangandan [it is a kinf of jewellery, isnt' it?]

But, why all this bitterness towards me?

How can I turn americanized?

I was born with samba and (live in the open air?)

(Agreeing?) all night through with the old batucada.

In the rodas of the malandros, my favorite ones,

I still say "eu te amo", not "I love you".

(As long as there's Brasil?), when it's time to eat,

I'm all for a shrimp soup with chuchu.

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Hi Sergio, welcome to the forum.

Your translation is very accurate. The expression "vivo no sereno" alludes to a bohemian lifestyle, it's open air, but more specifically at night and it's also referring to serenatas and serestas.

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That I can't stand anymore the (breque?) [alludes to the "samba de breque"?] of the pandeiro

Breque - comes from the english word "break". I think the pandeiro's "break" is like a "drum fill" on the pandeiro :)

Samba de breque is when the music stops at strategic points (a break) for the singer to say something, usually funny and then it restarts, this goes on many times. The king of samba de breque (its creator ?) is Moreira da Silva, I think this style was a novelty when Carmen Miranda recorded this song.

That I have no more (molho?), nor rhythm, nor anything,

molho = "sauce", something to add "taste". You can think of it as "swing" or mojo.

And there's no more balangandan [it is a kinf of jewellery, isnt' it?]

yes, used by women in Bahia. I think it has something to do with afro religions and charms.

I was born with samba and (live in the open air?)

Sereno - "dew"

"Live in the dew" meaning that at dawn she is not at home sleeping, but in the streets where people are playing samba.

(Agreeing?) all night through with the old batucada.

"Topando" can mean "meeting" all night with the batucada.

I'm all for a shrimp soup with chuchu.

Chuchu - chayote (kind of cucumber)

Shrimp with chuchu is a popular food because chuchu is pratically fibers and water, no taste at all, but is very cheap, while shrimp has a strong taste but is expensive. So with lots of chuchu and a little amount of shrimp, even poor people can make a very tasteful dish :)

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No burro do dinheiro = loaded of money, as you mentioned.

Com as mãos estou preocupada = it's an ironic comment about the gestural dance that she performed and it was her signature. It sounds as if her hands had became more important than everything.

Let's see Carmen singing and dancing, she was quite something.

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The way Carmen Miranda dressed was very extravagant and somewhat surreal. Sure it was inspired in the baianas, but no baiana would ever dress like that!

Thanks for the video, very nice. The male voice you hear in the song is Dorival Caymmi's, the songwriter, a very interesting and unique guy, who unfortunately passed away just a couple of months ago.

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I would just like to add more about "balangandan" . I have one that was passed on to me by my grandma and now it belongs to my kids.

See it here: http://www.jmseva.com/servlet/q.QDisplayItemDetail?in=4389

and here is an older one with a bit of the history, which I pasted below: http://cgi.ebay.com.sg/OLD-BRAZIL-SILVER-P...2QQcmdZViewItem

Traditional Charm Worn by Slaves

Good Luck for you

The history of the Balangandan blends itself with the history of African slaves brought to Brazil, and their heritage of beliefs, culture and religion. The “Penca de Balangandan” is a religious object, created by African slaves brought into Brazil, mostly in the Bahia state. Its production started in Salvador and became a part of afro and slave clothing. Each balangandan had a meaning of its own, thus the diversity of charms that can be found in a penca; each penca is a set of several charms, evoking for good luck, protection of the African Gods and Goddess, and the strenght of the nature. As a religious belief, it was mostly used on the sides of dresses and vests, and also decorating walls or tables, moreover it was also set behind the entrance door to bring protection to the household. Each balangandan brought the sum of life happenings and beliefs of those who own it. Others believe that the penca was given by a slave master to his/her slave as a reward for good behavior.

Know most charms of the original pencas, used by African slaves and their descendents:

· Chains: a symbol of slavery

· Birds: Usually owls or hawks, the birds that decorate the upper part of the holder represent Brazil and Africa, facing one another

· Holder: its shape represents slave ships, in which Africans were brought to America to be used as slaves.

· Fist/ Figa: to ward off evil eye, jealousy and diseases

· Angola bread: a symbol of longevity

· Pigeon: a symbol of martyr saints, Christian devotion and Oxalá (God of Life)

· Roman Fruit: a symbol of humankind and fertility

· Horsehoe: a symbol of happiness and good luck

· Cabaca, Vase: Cosme and Damian (Christian saints, protectors of children) – Used to store water by the slaves

· Sun: Oxumaré – God of rainbow and rains

· Moon, Bowand Arrow: Oxóssi – God of forests, hunting and abundance of food

· Crab: Omolú – God of Cure (for diseases)

· Sword: Iansã – Goddess of lightenings, winds and storms. Symbolizes the fight for survival and hard work.

· Cashew or double axe: Xangô – God of thunder, fire and justice. Stands for the power of leadership.

· Fish: Yemanjá – Goddess of the ocean. Responsible for good births.

· Club: Oxalá – God of the air, sky, river and mountains; of Life. Responsible for the birth of good spirits. Stands for striving and perseverance.

· Grapes or Fan: Oxum – Goddess of fresh water, fountains and waterfalls. Goddess of fertility (of soil and beings)

· Corn, other fruits and cereals – symbols of the land fertility

· Cocoa main agricultural plantation slaves worked on

· Drums, Percussion instruments msymbols of the African-Brazilian culture, music and capoeira.

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