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Ladainha: Torpedeira Piauí

\"piauhy\"Torpedeira Piauí
Coraçado na Bahia
Marinheiro absoluto
Chegou pintando arrelia
Quando vê cobra assanhada
Não mete o pé na rodia
A cobra assanhada morde
Se eu fosse cobra eu mordia
Mataram Pedro Mineiro
Dentro da Secretaria

The warship Piauí
Christened in Bahia
The independent sailor
Arrived causing trouble
When you see an agitated snake
Don\’t step on it
An agitated snake bites
If I were a snake, I\’d bite
They killed Pedro Mineiro
In the police station

On December 26, 1914, a shootout erupted between three capoeiristas (Pedro Mineiro, Sebastião de Souza, and Antônio José Freire, also known as \”Branco\”) and a group of sailors from the warship Piauí, which was in port in Bahia. Some say it a fight over a prostitute; others claim that the capoeiristas were acting as secret agents of the police, who had clashed with the sailors before. Several of the sailors were injured in the conflict and two were killed – and all three capoeiristas were captured and arrested.

At the trial two days later, Pedro Mineiro was the first to testify. He claimed to be working for the police, and said he was acting in self-defense after having been attacked by the sailors. Sebastião and Branco also claimed to be victims. Suddenly, one of the sailors stood up and shot Pedro Mineiro right there in the courtroom. In the chaos that followed, the sailors escaped and Sebastião and Branco ran away as well. Sebastião was pursued by a sailor and stabbed. He was taken to the hospital along with Pedro Mineiro. The incident was extensively covered by the media, especially the vicious letters between Police Chief Álvaro Cova and Captain Carlos Alves de Souza of the Piauí.

Pedro Mineiro never recovered from his injuries, and died in the hospital on January 15, 1915 at 27 years of age.

For further reading: Mandinga, Manha, & Malícia by Adriana Albert Dias

Corrido: Saci Pererê

\"Saci_Perere_por_Marconi\"Foi meu avô  que me disse
Que foi na Bahia ele viu na ribeira
Um moleque de uma perna so
Que pulava, gingava e dava rasteira
Cabeçada \”rabo de arraia\”
Martelo cruzado. Não era brincadeira
Foi ai em que eu acreditei
Ele viu foi o saci jogando capoeira
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
Moleque saci não era brincadeira
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
Meu avô que me disse, e ele não diz besteira
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
Ele foi la na Bahia perto da ribeira
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
Martelo cruzado, tombo da ladeira
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
O moleque saci que joga capoeira

It was my grandfather who told me
That in Bahia, he saw on the riverbank
A guy with just one leg
Who jumped, did ginga, and gave rasteira
Cabeçada, rabo de arraia
And martelo. It wasn’t a joke.
That’s when I came to believe
That he saw the saci playing capoeira
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
It was the saci, it wasn’t a joke
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
My grandfather told me, and he doesn’t lie
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
He went to Bahia, close to the riverbank
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
Martelo and tombo da ladeira
Pererê, Pererê, Pererê
It was the saci who plays capoeira

The saci-pererê is a figure in Brazilian folklore arising from indigenous legends in southern Brazil. Initially pictured as a dark-skinned boy with a tail, African influence from northern Brazil later transformed the saci into a one-legged black man with a red hat and a pipe. Some say he lost the other leg playing capoeira. He is seen as a trickster, causing small problems such as making food burn on the stove or whistling to scare and confuse night travelers. Saci is also considered the guardian of knowledge related to medicinal plants and herbs.  He is said to be born in bamboo buds and live in whirlwinds. The myth of the saci has existed since at least the late 18th or early 19th century, but Monteiro Lobato was the first Brazilian writer to focus on the figure of the saci, doing research on the myth and publishing the results. Belief in the saci is still very strong in many communities in Brazil’s interior.

Ladainha: Pedro Cem

Lá no céu vai quem merece – Those who deserve it go to heaven

Na terra vale quem tem – On earth, it is the rich who matter

A soberba combatida – Excessive arrogance

Foi quem matou Pedro Cem – Was what killed Pedro Cem

Deus é pai de nós todos – God is the father of us all

E eu não sou pai de ninguém – And I am no one’s father

Lá se foi minha fortuna – “There went my fortune!”

Exclamava Pedro Cem – Exclaimed Pedro Cem

Ontem eu fui milionário  – “Yesterday I was a millionaire

Já tive e hoje não tenho  – I used to have everything, but not anymore

O que ontem me valia  – What was worth something to me yesterday

Hoje nem valia tem  – Today has no value at all”

Ele dizia nas portas  – He said in the doorways,

Uma esmola a Pedro Cem  – “Spare some change for Pedro Cem

Quem já teve hoje não tem  – Who used to have, and now has nothing

A quem eu neguei esmola  – Those to whom I never gave handouts

Hoje me nega também  – Now refuse to give me any

Nasci num berço dourado – I was born in a golden cradle

Cresci num colchão macio  – I grew up sleeping on a soft mattress

Hoje eu morro no relento – Today, I die homeless

Neste imundo e chão frio – On the cold, dirty ground.”

A justiça examinando  – The police chief examining

Os bolsos de Pedro Cem – Pedro Cem’s pockets

Encontrou uma mochila – Found a little sack

Dentro dela um vintêm  – Inside it a single coin

E um letreiro que dizia – And an inscription that said

Já teve, hoje não tem – “Once had it all, today has nothing.”

The legend of Pedro Cem is widely known in Brazil. I often heard the story told as a parable. There is also a poem by João Martins de Ataíde that tells the story, of which there are various versions. To this day, Pedro Cem continues to serve as a frightening example.

Pedro Pedrossem da Silva was a real person who was born in Porto, Portugal, and died there on February 9th, 1775. An extremely rich merchant and the owner of several companies, he was a powerful, proud, and greedy man. He married Ana Micaela Fraga and had three children: – Luiz Pedrossem, João Pedrossem, and Vicente Pedrossem.

The legend says that Pedrossem, gazing out over the sea from a tower, saw his fleets of ships arriving from Brazil and from India, carrying spices, jewels, and expensive products. Full of vanity, he exclaimed, “Now I couldn’t become poor even if God himself willed it!”

But a fierce storm destroyed the fleet, and Pedrossem lost everything he owned. His pride and greed had driven away all his friends, and he resorted to begging in the streets of Porto: “Spare change for Pedro Cem, who had it all and now has nothing!”

Scholars claim that Pedro never actually became a beggar, though he did sell his property and withdraw from the social and commercial world. But the situation set the stage for the legend, which is told as a lesson that pride goes before a fall.


Check out the link for the full poem (in Portuguese) by Luís da Câmara Cascudo.