Tuesday, May 30, 2017

“Lamento Sertanejo”

This song is in my head and heart and shows no sign of leaving: “Lamento Sertanejo,” music by Dominguinhos, lyrics by Gilberto Gil. It’s a song of alienation and dispossession whose title might be translated as “Countryman’s Lament.” I am on shaky ground here about everything but my love of this song.

Here are the lyrics, in Portuguese and in English translation. And here are my two favorite performances of the song from YouTube. There are many, many more.


Dominguinhos, accordion; Gilberto Gil, guitar and voice. October 2010.


Mayra Andrade, voice; Yamandu Costa, seven-string guitar; Hamilton de Holanda, bandolim. Dominguinhos is the audience. August 2011.

I’m waiting on a two-CD anthology of Dominguinhos’s music. There’s no stopping.

[A sertanejo is an inhabitant of the sertão, a region in northeast Brazil. In this song the sertanejo is a long way from home. A Google Image search for sertanejo returns many cowboy hats, so perhaps “Cowboy’s Lament”? I found my way to the first performance via Richard McLeese’s Music Clip of the Day. A Flickr photograph let me date the second performance.]

comments: 2

The Crow said...

I deleted my first comment because it made no sense to me they way I wrote it. Here is what I meant.

When a piece of music, heard through my computer, touches me, I listen again, but with the volume as high as my computer and the speaker volume control allows, turn the bass up and hold the speaker to my chest, over my heart. The beat of the percussion instruments thumps through my chest, the sounds produced by the other instruments and the singer(s)'s voice(s) massage surrounding muscles, filling me with their rhythm and emotions. I get lost in the moment and am carried away. (Happens at concerts, too, but I don't drape myself over the speakers there.)

Sometimes the effect is so strong, so deep, that I cry. Something hidden inside has been released and emotion overwhelms me. I have a similar response to beauty of all kinds, to art, to people, to nature, to witnessed kindness and great sorrow.

When I wrote my first comment, I had just put the speaker back on the shelf, had not yet returned to 'normal'. My thinking was incoherent. I wrote what I felt at that moment.

Like I said, wow.

You have directed my attention to artists I hadn't known, to music I might never have experienced, and I am grateful for that, Michael.

Michael Leddy said...

Martha, I’m glad you came back with another comment.

My reaction to this song reminds me of what happened when I saw Mississippi John Hurt on Pete Seeger’s public-television show many years ago. The music just moved me, and I knew at once that it was something for me.