“Nao existe pecado do lado debaixo do equador”. Literally means that sins do not exist below the equator. This lyrics are part of one of Chico Buarque’s song. The singer and composer Chico Buarque is the nephew Brazilian Portuguese dictionary author, and the son of one of Brasil´s most important historian. Chico, as he is known, has composed love songs, carnival songs, passionate songs, political songs, stories and songs about so many other topics. He has giving voice to men and women of so many different brazilian worlds. There are many many worlds within Brasil. He is considered by many our greatest composer. I include myself in this list that considers him as such.
I usually say that as soon as I land in Brasil I feel 3 things in the air : the violence, the sensuality and the joy. This time in a broken foot I did not stop to observe anything. Now I feel it all around me again. I just came back from a concert/play of Chico Buarque´s songs. It was a presentation on love. And in Brazil love is passionate. There are fights, and jealousy, and betrayals and forginviness, and passion, and fights and forgiveness and passion and figths and forgiveness and passion….
I looked around me and I saw women and men who sat around touched viscerally by those songs. They all knew them. They had all loved in that way. They had all once loved “slowly but desperately” because there was no time, they had all made ” samba and love” , they had all “mixed their legs through the nights not knowing which ones to use when they had to depart”. They all knew these lyrics. So their eyes carried tears. It came from inside, from within, from the guts.
On stage a woman and a man enacted a couple ( did they enacted or were they really the thing ?) that went through an almodovarian vicious cycle of passion. They loved and cried, fought and laughed. They sang, danced, recited poetry from all over the world…. the painted with neruda the night. In my poor translation it goes.
I only want 5 things
The first is love without an end
The second is to see autumn
The third is the grave winter
Fourthly comes the summer
The fith thing are your eyes
I dont want to sleep without your eyes
I dont want to be without you looking at me
I give up on spring so that you keep looking at me
I looked around and I could feel all of this violence, and passion, and joy in the air. It suddenly striked me what a world apart I was from spiritual chaotic India, Buddhist reserved and warm Thailand. Oddly enough Chico reminded me of different moments in Asia. It reminded of me floating in the Gaia listening to two older musicians play Dylan. I never liked Dylan but that night I learned to like. Mark, my friend from my PhD who came to visit me was there seating next to me. We were observing the small details of the night.
Mark is American but like me he left his country too long ago to actually feel connected to the culture. That night he connected to something. He connected to the music that came from his home country. Tonight I connected to mine. I remembered being in a vipassana meditation retreat and learning that passion was as much of a negativity as anger. Through meditaiton we were practicing to erradicate this. I remember thinking to myself that a cure to passion would not sell that well in Brasil.
I sat throught the night not as moved as everybody around. I heard the music. The craving for passion. The feelings floating around me and thought I was somehow less brazilian in that I was not sure that that was such a great way to go about love. But then came the last song where Chico used the tenses of verbs to create and atemporal notion of love. A love that is not bounded by time. And then he talked about the “time of gentleness” that comes after the chaotic time. And then somehow the music walked within me in places that other songs do not reach. I shed a tear. I somehow knew in my body that my soul was finally arriving here.