May 18, 2009 9:49 PM

A submission to the unofficial "Seven Nation Army" challenge.

Macapa is a remote Brazilian town that you could conceivably escape to, and it scans like Wichita, so I just went from there. The lyrics are in Portuguese, and it's in an Afro-Peruvian 12/8.

posted by umbú (27 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Oh, man, this is fantastic. Just fantastic. I like it a lot better than the original. I don't even know what else I could say, other than this is utterly perfect.
posted by micayetoca at 12:47 AM on May 19, 2009

Great job, umbú. This is so very, very likeable. Really fresh. Love the rhythmic interplay, the instrumentation is wonderful, your voice sounds great... what's not to like?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:20 AM on May 19, 2009

Thanks! Here's the post that inspired the idea of doing covers of this song, and here is grubi's take. Here's the post that helped me record the handclaps (I ended up layering six overdubs recorded on a stereo condensor mic).
posted by umbú at 5:36 AM on May 19, 2009

Oops. This is the handclaps link.
posted by umbú at 6:53 AM on May 19, 2009

Man, that is just super, super awesome. Wow.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:55 AM on May 19, 2009

Holy. About a thousand times better than the original. Really great job. I love that warm, sneaky, flangy guitar. And great claps.
posted by chococat at 8:09 AM on May 19, 2009

Man, this is SLAMMIN'! Of all of the covers that were in that original post this is easily my favorite, yea, over the original too. Your latin vibe/score/sensibility just rock this thing.
posted by snsranch at 3:59 PM on May 19, 2009

Yeah, those are neat handclaps. They sound like the Monty Python 'horses'. The way you incorporate the original, ear drilling riff is great, and it's always impressive when a song like this can be covered in an original manner. Super sweet!

What are you saying?
posted by Corduroy at 4:26 PM on May 19, 2009

Thanks, all.

Corduroy, I did a line-by-line translation instead of making up a different story. You can see the original version in English here under 'discs'; 'elephant.' I think the original is about deciding 'fight or flight' in a paranoid, adrenalined-up state of mind, and/or talking up his ability to rawk.

There were three places where I localized, or brazilianized the lyrics. Instead of a seven nation army, the government troops that caught the robin hood/jesse james-like bandit Lampião (os macacos) were after him. Instead of "from the queen of england to the hounds of hell," I changed it to "from the queen to the beautiful pomba-gira.' Pomba-gira is a female trickster deity in the brazilian religion umbanda. The third change I made, was from Wichita to Macapá.

I didn't run this by a Brazilian before recording, so I'm sure there are some 'engrish'-y moments.

sabe que eu vou lutar
os macacos não podem me atingir
e vão macaquear
achando que eles podem me afundir

estou falando a mim mesmo noite toda
eu quero esquecer
este martelo na cabeça
vai me enloquecer

e a mensagem vindo do meu olhar
diz 'deixa pra lá’

não quero escutar
todo mundo tem algo para contar
e sei que todos sabem
da rainha à linda pomba-gira

e se eu vejo você vindo pra ca
Mando de volta pra lá
seja não acreditar
mas isso vou fazer

uma sensação vindo de dentro
diz que tem que lutar

vou para Macapá
longe desta triste telenovela
e eu vou trabalhar
suar até encharcado eu vou ficar

e sangrando, e sangrando e sangrando
adiante o senhor
e as palavras vão desabar
e paro de pensar

e as manchas vindo do meu sangue
mandam “volta já!”
posted by umbú at 6:10 PM on May 19, 2009

Love it!
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 9:41 PM on May 19, 2009

Very cool.
posted by Sailormom at 5:34 AM on May 20, 2009

I'm not going to say anything bad about the original, because I love it, but this is truly fantastic too. This is exactly how a cover should be - totally made your own. Great job.
posted by ORthey at 12:06 PM on May 20, 2009

You just blew my mind.
posted by edlundart at 8:29 PM on May 21, 2009

I love this. It has a great Marc Ribot sort of feel to it.
posted by jaybeans at 10:59 AM on May 22, 2009

Thanks, jaybeans. That's a huge compliment. I've been a fan since I was given a Lounge Lizards cassette way back when. Yeah, I share with Marc Ribot a love of playing latin music that is blatantly inauthentic (but hopefully interesting nonetheless).
posted by umbú at 2:16 PM on May 22, 2009

Now that is a bit unfair with yourself, isn't it? the phrase "playing latin music that is blatantly inauthentic" reminds more of Nat King Cole singing Perfidia than what you did here or in Cobrinha. The sort of mix that you bring into these songs adds more than what it dilutes.
posted by micayetoca at 3:34 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I phrased that clumsily with Marc Ribot on the brain. If I would have put "inauthentic" in quotes, that would have been even more unclear, right? Ribot has a group called the Cubanos Postizos, which means the Prosthetic Cubans, and he plays all sorts of Cuban son, and other latin stuff. But he totally makes it his own, which sometimes means atonal, screechy and skronky. In his case, the 'prosthetic' or 'fake' in the band's name proclaims that he's going to take it in different directions.

A better word would be envenenado (poisoned), which is the word that Chico Science used to use to describe the way he would filter NE Brazilian traditional stuff through the lens of hip-hop, heavy rock, and sampling.

I didn't mean to belittle my own song. I was just trying to get at that what I've been doing is more informed by the various cafe tacvba/chico science & a nação zumbi/tom ze/nortec collective-styles of messing with things.
posted by umbú at 5:40 PM on May 22, 2009

I hear you, brother umbú, and your rap is strong.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:12 PM on May 22, 2009

Oh, I see what you meant now. Anyway, no harm done in letting you know that your stuff is well appreciated and that someone considers that it is out of the ordinary. Though that's not what I say above, I realize it now. You don't have the monopoly when it comes to posting comments clumsily. Now, what I wanted to say is that the stuff you do is quite unique, the blend from many sources yields amazing results and it doesn't sound like you are bastardizing the sources. I know you didn't say you were, I'm just saying you are not. Or, to put it a lot more simple: great music umbú, please keep posting.

I should have gone with that phrase from the beginning.
posted by micayetoca at 10:12 AM on May 23, 2009

One more thing. Every time you mention musicians it's either people who is among my favorites, or people who enter my favorites instantly (I've been listening to Tiné in constant rotation since you mentioned him), so, let's see if it works the other way. Your afroperu tag reminded me of Nicomedes Santa Cruz. Have you heard him?
posted by micayetoca at 10:16 AM on May 23, 2009

thanks for this. Absolutely delightful.
posted by nicolin at 6:51 AM on May 25, 2009

Thanks, micayetoca. I've only heard Nicomedes' stuff on the compilation "The Soul of Black Peru". I'd like to hear more, including his décimas recited. There is a really interesting chapter about him in Heidi Feldman's great book Black Rhythms of Peru.
posted by umbú at 5:49 AM on May 26, 2009

That book looks amazing. I find the subject of the revival fascinating and its similar to certain extent to what happened in Mexico with son jarocho. It almost disappeared thirty years ago, and now it's booming and spreading. Something similar is also happening in Colombia with the rhythms from the Pacific, because much of the attention has been centered in the genres that originated in the Caribbean coast (vallenato, porro, bullerengue) and the almost baroque music of the Andes. There is currently a movement of young people who are mixing marimba music with all sorts of stuff. Really interesting stuff.
posted by micayetoca at 7:39 AM on May 26, 2009

This is fantastic! The new activist movement for mounting resistance could be seduction, and this could be its anthem. You had me at "sabe".
posted by self at 11:33 PM on May 26, 2009

posted by Tom-B at 11:57 AM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm glad that posts on Music don't archive so I can come here in 2023 and say that I still think about this song all the time and it's still as good as ever.
posted by capricorn at 2:35 PM on November 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

Hi capricorn— I just saw this now. What an amazing compliment! Thank you so much.
posted by umbú at 10:34 PM on December 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

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