Brazilians have dozens of Futebol songs, addressing every aspect of the Jogo Bonito, the beautiful game, the World Cup. I want to share three of them with you.
The first is from one of my favorite Brazilian singer-songwriters, Chico Buarque. His love for the game is well-known: there's even a documentary about it called "O Futebol," which is also the name of the song. It's an homage to Brazilian soccer.
In this samba, Chico Buarque equates the craft of a soccer player with that of a composer and a painter, looking for the perfect moment to create a verse, a color, tone, a kick to goal, aimed with the precision of an arrow. Buarque's complex lyrics are difficult to translate into English. But the song is full of soccer terms, team names and, of course, a few superstars: Mané, Didí, Pagão, Pelé, Canhoteiro. He sings as if he's doing a play by play of a match.
I also asked a colleague, Sergio Mielniczenko, host of the syndicated radio show "The Brazilian Hour," to tell me about his favorite futbol song. He sent me a 1970s tune by the great pop singer, Wilson Simonal.
Simonal's song "Aquí é o pais do futebol," "Here is the country of soccer," describes a few reasons Brazilians have such passion for the game.
Ninety minutes of emotion and joy
I forget about home and work
Life stays outside, everything stays outside
HELL stays outside, PAIN stays outside
EVERYTHING STAYS OUTSIDE…
Simonal recorded this song in 1970, the year Brazil won its third World Cup. Keep in mind that in 1970, Brazil was going through one of the worst periods of its military dictatorship. As Simonal's song suggests, soccer was one way to escape a harsh daily life. "Everything stays outside," goes the chorus.
In the end, as with any sport, it all boils down to whether a team wins or loses. Here's a song called "E uma partida de Futebol," or "It's a soccer match," recorded in 1996 by the Brazilian reggae-rock band Skank.
I can die for my team
If it loses, how painful, an immense crime
I can cry if it doesn't win.
But if it wins, there's no throat that does not stop screaming
Is there anything left to write? Ah, yes! Enjoy the World Cup! And share your favorite soccer-themed song with us in the comments below. We'll make them into a playlist and you might hear some of your favorites on an upcoming episode of PRI's The World.