Aquele abraço!

Did you watch the Closing Ceremoy of the 2012 Olympic Games? What did you think of the eight-minute segment showcasing Rio? To me, the highlight was Marisa Monte and Seu Jorge singing “Aquele Abraço”. The song was written by Gilberto Gil in 1969 when he was living in London, in exile, during the worst years of the Military Dictatorship in Brazil. There are a lot of cultural references in the song, which I tried to explain in the translation. Just under the lyrics I included some links if you want to read more about each of the cultural references. I found the video below on youtube, it’s the original version sung by Gilberto Gil and apparently, the video features footage of Rio in 1968!
Chacrinha: wikipedia / There are lots of clips from his show on youtube as well! Banda de Ipanema: wikipedia Realengo: wikipedia Portela: wikipedia

10 thoughts on “Aquele abraço!”

  1. R. Lankenau

    Good job! If it’s okay with you, allow an old Carioca to make a few observations:

    Aquele abraço does mean “hug”. However, in this instance it’s more accurately an “embrace”. The key word here is “aquele”; trata-se de “aquele” abraço, não um abraço qualquer.
    O Rio continua – Rio goes on – it’s the same Rio it always is, o Rio é o Rio;é isso aí, rapaz.
    The next line is for emphasis – …no matter the month of the year, Rio is always Rio.
    Realengo – bairro do Gil.
    Torcida – Fans
    Flamengo – At the time, 50’s and 60’s, Flamengo was considered “o time do povo”, the peoples team.
    One with the most enthusiastic fans. Their archrival in championships was (and still is) Fluminense. In the playoffs at the Maracana stadium would have over 100,000 screaming fans; Fluminense fans sprinking talcum powder everywhere and Flamengo fans letting loose tethered buzzards (urubu), the respective symbols of each team. Quite a spectacle.

    Chacrinha was host of the “peoples” talent show. Five or more hours on Saturday TV, most popular in the 50’s and 60’s, less so in later years with the advent of competition, especially Silvio Santos. A comparable U.S. show in the late 60’s and early 70’s was the “Gong Show”.

    Teresinha – in keeping with “of the people” theme, was a very popular common name in Rio and surrounding areas during the late 40’s through the 60’s, particularly in the favelas.

    É como diz o refrão da música; “o tempo bom não volta mais” alias, já é a vez de outro.

    11 minutes ago •

  2. Soraya Amaral

    I have an interest in music/poetry translation for fun and I enjoyed seeing how you translated such a “regionalist” song.

    I could not agree with R. Lankenau on abraço = embrace (abarcar, adotar…) in this context. I agree that “aquele” is meaning a special hug (nutrir, manter-se perto), so “a big hug” sounds just perfect for me, even for the metre. And “Torcida” in English for football should be “supporters” not fans, as far as I know.
    I would not dare to disagree with your translation into English as it is not my mother tongue, but would give some possible (or not) alternatives to:
    – O Rio de Janeiro continua sendo = Rio is still the same (sounds nice succeeding “Rio is still beautiful”)
    – Aquele passo = it’s also the special step of samba so could it be “a nice step”?
    – Quem sabe de mim sou eu = is “I’m the one who knows about myself” possible?
    – Régua e compasso = “ruler and compass” should be correct as it means that Bahia has already given him the “tools”… even if “compasso” also relates to music.

    It’s really difficult to translate music/poetry and you could never do it very close to the source, but in this case the most important is that, despite all, o Rio de Janeiro continua lindo 🙂

    Congrats for your work!

  3. Magalie Belmo

    I was proudly one of the performers of this show in London . Thakn you for your work on the song!

      1. Magalie Belmo

        I did yes during the rehearsals. Renato Sorriso was often there and really friendly. The Rio Flag Handover team was a “small” team of about 200 dancers (excl the production team). We got all very close and enjoyed putting this show together to give people a taste of Rio in 2016.

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