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  • Writer's pictureCsaba Marton

Marinês - The Queen Of Forró and her song Peba na Pimenta

My musical taste always stayed in Brasil. However, I can easily mention particular singers with whom my years (or decades :) ) were dominated. Started with Teresa Cristina, then Mayra Andrade.

After them, there was Noel Rosa.

And when I began my forró path, the singers from "Nordeste" (northeast of Brazil) started to totally occupy my Spotify tracklists. In the beginning, I was listening to songs from 2000'.

The old ones, I found them - let's say - less quality. Could be due to the recording capability, the quality of the instruments, etc.

But this has been changed when I started to read a lot about the background history of Forró. Once I learned Luiz Gonzaga's biography and watched the movie about him and his son, Gonzaguinha's life I started to listen to a lot of old forró music.

I think in my case, I had to have some binding in order to appreciate these oldies.

And last week I had a new love! I started to be totally passionate about listening to songs only from Marinês.

She is just awesome! I mean just listen to this:

What I really like is not only her voice and her energetic way but also the lyrics. It goes soo damn well with the voice and the melody that it is impossible to not listen to it again.

Here the refrain is:

Alavantiú, changê damanarrariê
Cantei côco pra valer
Todo mundo com seu pariá (Bis)

I think it is dificult to sing this, even if you know the lyrics and speak Portuguese because it is a mix of French and Portuguese. At first, I didn't know the meaning but after I checked the lyrics I think it is the way how you dance during the Quadrilha (part of the Festa Junina)

These words, anarriê, and alavantú have French origin.

Although the Festa Junina parties were a legacy of the Portuguese colonization in Brazil, most of the traditions of the Quadrilha have French origins:

Alavantú (en avant tous)- all couples go to the front

Anarriê (en arrière) - couples go back

Changê de Dame - switch the pair

Since last weekend I've been totally obsessed to this music, Peba na Pimenta.

And every time I read another thing about it, I became more and more :)

After seeing this, that was the time when I started to read about her life. She was active more or less in the same decades as the famous Luiz Gonzaga. She also came from the Northeast, from the state of Pernambuco. She borned into a music family: her father was a serenader and her mother was a church singer. She was discovered when she was on a radio show. She used Marinês as an alias so her parents wouldn't notice.

In 1950, she met the accordion master Abdias (Abdias dos 8 baixos) from Paraíba and it was love at first sight for Marines. And in 1 year, they got engaged, got married and had 1 son, Marcos Farias. Abdias presented Marinês Luiz Gonzaga's repertoire who was already very successful in the country. From then on, she became the first female voice of Northeastern forró music.

Years later, she was invited by Gonzaga to join his presentations, so she moved to Rio de Janeiro and by by that time she was "crowned" by him as the Queen of Xaxado (a typical dance of the bandits of Lampião). So the song: Peba na pimenta.

First of all: what is Peba? Actually, it is not a well-known word even among Brazilians. It is an animal, a tatu

The lyrics are more or less about that they're cooking 5 pebas in a pepper sauce and sharing it with 40 people. And after there is a funny discussion between the person Malaquia and Maria Benta. One of the reasons I started the write this post is that I would like to write more or less all of the songs from the famous show: Show Opiniao which premiered in 1964 and became a cornerstone of the so-called "protest music" and is considered one of the most important in the history of Brazilian popular music.

And if you like at the tracklist of the show, Peba na pimenta was the first song, presented by the author, Joao de Vale.

His version is this:

As you can hear, this is a pretty simple song, in terms of musicality. simple chords and melody. What you can also hear is that the audince loved it. I think it was one of the goal: to get the attention of the audience from the first moment. There is also some sexual-related content to make it more fun. But if you know the background and the main topic of forró and Show Opinao: the sadness of poverty in the northeast region, and the exile of millions you will realize, that Joao also wanted to highlight something: People there, they don't have anything to eat so they have to cook 5 tatus, in order to survive.

To finish this, here is a version where Marines sings it together with Gilberto Gil and Dominguinhos:

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