send suggestions via email:

5.5 – “Boi de mamão” – with Paulo César Pinheiro

An argument that has revealed to be very convincing to Paulo César Pinheiro – who is not used to giving interviews of academic aspect – to accept this invitation was that I would bring a new melody to show him. I proposed that if he, with whom I have composed some songs, liked the melody and felt it as his – standard prerogative -, I would give him a recording so that the melody could receive its lyric. That was the concrete way to make it clear to the poet that my intention was to talk about the creation process in the most possible practical manner, inclusively showing how a song was born. And so it is happening.

At a certain moment, when the interview was already in its way, I anticipate the character of the music, composed especially for the occasion, an idea crosses the mind of the poet about a resource used by Baden Powell when he “got stuck” while composing a song.



00:00  on the other hand

On the one hand, I’ve been exploring the musical elaboration that is provided by the instrument; [i]

on the other hand, you’ve taught me a great deal along our partnerships

about how to break free of the instrument, the way you say that Baden used to do.

Then I’ve got this new music, more tapping than guitar playing,

to bring you on the occasion of this interview. It’s brand new and it’s like that…


00:31 Baden stuck

[he anticipates to the music ready to be played and says]

You’ve touched a topic that reminded me of a fact



“Come and sing along, and when I get to the point

I’ll stop and you’ll continue


and then he would sing along with me,

and at that moment when the song reaches a deadlock, he held the guitar,

he also stopped singing and I continued.

Then he did:


“The guitar didn’t let me think of that exit

and it was in that direction that I wanted to go” [i]


Then he would take what I had sung and went on.


Let the song flow…


Got it?

That’s a creator’s “wisdom.”

To know to what extent “knowledge” isn’t in the way.


02:18 answer in music: Boi de Mamão (Chico Saraiva…)

[melody sung with words that outline an inflection by means of approximated sonority for each phrase, with a similar result to what we usually call “lyric dummy”. Thus, some sonority is suggested in a way that may be followed or subverted by the lyric, without closing the meaning]



05:12 drumming and “pointing” the moments of the song are passed on to the poet

06:55 I did it on my island after a good long night

07:58 in the case it doesn’t come so much via samba


But if you do well what you’re doing, you don’t need to make samba.

If you don’t know how to do it and do it well, do it well — don’t make a bad samba.

Because samba has a mystery.

If you are aware of that and feel like doing,

the way samba is,

with the mystery that samba has,

with the lament – mainly – that it carries, do it. Don’t do it just for the sake of doing.

“ah I have never tried it so I’m going to make a samba”. Did you understand? It’s not like that.


The mention to such “mystery” poses us before the existing limits between genders/rhythms, and it’s worth highlighting how present it is in the life of the Brazilian musician – both in theory and in practice – handling the paradox that there is in our constitution process, in which the “authentic rises from the impure.” As Hermano Vianna presents:

The “fixation” of these genders happens around samba (…). The interesting point is that the “authentic” rises from the “impure” – and not the other way round (but at a later time, the “authentic” poses as the first and original, or at least closer to the “roots”). (VIANNA, 1995, p. 122, our emphasis)


09:23 I can’t understand the limits between the things. [i]

This one is a “boi”…


This one is very good.


But if you are to think about rhythm, it changes in the second part

[plays emphasizing some of the rhythmic figures used]




I don’t know what it is any longer,

and to tell you the truth, I don’t even want to know the name (of the rhythm)

because it is in my nature to mix.

and I can have this choice as a musician. [i]


Sure, this kind of music is very good.

A lot of things by Villa-Lobos came from this kind of music.

He had strong folk influences from the inner Brazil.

He got carried away by this kind of music, when he visited the Amazonia,

when he listened to the Uirapuru he fell in this spell, he listened to it a lot.

It has something from the indigenous people; it is not from the black.


The “boi” is an example of gender/rhythm that, originated in the Amazon surroundings, markedly indigenous, does not present a very extensive rhythmic design that configures as a basic reference in the format of a timeline or clef.

Finally, using my own musicality, the triad that forges the Brazilian identity is completed. Thus, the “indigenous” appears as the amalgam that relativizes the polarization, assumed by the present study, between the “white” (or European – who is associated, in general terms, to the melodic-harmonious resources – and the “black” (or African) – who represents an important matrix of the Brazilian rhythmica.



It is more indigenous,

and you do it without knowing exactly why… and does it well


Thank you.

Coming from you, it’s an honor.


  1. LINK with the idea “I wanted to ask about the moments in which you realized the guitar acting on the melody of the song” presented in 3.3 – the song without the guitar

  2. LINK with the idea “when the person does not play the guitar, he or she is is capable of imagining things that the guitar-player would have never imagined” presented in – 4.2 – the idiom of the guitar – in the statement of Sérgio Assad. 

  3. LINK with the idea “I sometimes do not know where samba starts or ends” presented in – 5.4 – Brazilian rhythmica.

  4. LINK with the idea “I wanted to ask about the moments in which you realized the guitar acting on the melody of the song” presented in 3.3 – the song without the guitar

    LINK with the idea developed in chapter – 3.2 – “Rose petals spread by the wind” – at the moment just before this interview with P.C. Pinheiro.