Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Brazilian Children's Chant/Song About Pride In Being Of African Descent (videos, lyrics, comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a video of a Brazilian chant/song about Africa. This post also quotes a commenter who provides the words to that chant/song and suggests that he (or she) taught this sogn to his (or her) children to help develop and/or reinforce pride in their African ancestry.

As background, this post also includes information about some of the people whose names are included in that comment.

The Addendum to this post provides information about the Afro-Brazilian rhythm Ijexa’, and showcases a video of that rhythm.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the author of this chant/song and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to all those who are featured in videos that are embedded below, and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Unfortunately, I don't speak or read any other language but English. And, although, the featured YouTube video has comments, none of the comments are in English and it appears that none of the comments provide any information about the composer or the meaning of the song.

Consequently, I'm relying on translations of the Portuguese words for this chant/song and the Portuguese comment about this song that I found online.

My conclusion from reading that comment, is that the blogger is saying that he (or she) is using this Africa chant/song to counteract the negative stereotypes of Black Brazilians that are found in Monteiro Lobato's children's books and elsewhere in Brazilian culture.

I think that the blogger is also stating that the White adult singers in the video are using material from Black Brazilians to expand their repertoire. I wonder if the blogger is implying that these White singers are engaging in a form of cultural appropriation because they aren't crediting Black Brazilians as the source of that material.

I welcome additions and corrections to the translations that are found below as well as to my conclusions about that comment.

SHOWCASE VIDEO - Roda Africana - DVD As Melhores Brincadeiras da Palavra Cantada

Palavra Cantada Oficial Published on Sep 19, 2013

(Sandra Peres / Paulo Tatit / Arnaldo Antunes)
"Roda" means "wheel" in Portuguese. I think that means a circle dance.
"Glossary of World Music Terms
samba de roda: a spontaneous dance from Brazil that is performed in a circle and has roots in Angola"
Google translate from Portuguese to English: "Melhores Brincadeiras da Palavra Cantada" = Best Play of Sung Word (Best Singing/Chanted Games) [?]

Is this the name of the group that recorded this and other Brazilian songs that are found on YouTube?

Note: Words in brackets are additions/clarifications to those words that are found on that website. Explanations for non-English words in this composition would be appreciated.]

"Re: The debate on racism in the work of Monteiro Lobato

imagem de marcccio

Re: The debate on racism in the work of Monteiro Lobato
Mon, 15/10/2012 - marcccio
I bring to the discussion the lyrics of a song by CRUSH WORD (authored by Arnaldo Antunes) I love my daughters and five and two years can sing inteirinho, inteirinho. ["inteirinho" - Google translate from Portuguese to English "the whole damn"; Does this mean "the entire thing"?]


Who does not know where the [nation of] sudan [is]

[You] will know

Nigeria Gabon


Who does not know where Senegal [is],

Tanzania and Namibia,

Guinea Bissau?

All the people of Japan

Will know

Where did the

Lion of Judah [come from]

Germany and Canada


Everyone of Bahia

already know[s]

Whence comes the melody [of]

the ijexá [a Samba rhythm]

the sun rises every day

Comes from there

Between East and West

Where is [it]?

What is the origin of us?

Where is [it]?

Africa is in the middle of the map of the world

Atlas Life

Africa[n]s are in Africa which is there and here

Africa will

Just cross the sea

to arrive

Where grows the baobab

to know

If only the forest

And Malê

Alah the desert

the ilê

Bantu mulçumanamagô


As you see, the letter places the largest West prophet Jesus Christ (the Lion of Judah) as originating in Africa.

More than that, children learn that the sun, for us Brazilians, not born in Japan, but in Africa - our east.

The letter continues brilliantly stating that Africa is in the middle of the world map, atlas of life. Africa is the origin of the people.

Both Arnaldo Antunes as double the Word Catanda are white (she then super white girl with red hair).

Do the authors are 'white writing on black in order to expand the repertoire and its discourse of power.'? As stated by the author?

Another translation of this chant/song can be found at
Here's information about Monteiro Lobato who was mentioned in that comment:
"José Bento Renato Monteiro Lobato (April 18, 1882 – July 4, 1948) was one of Brazil's most influential writers, mostly for his children's books set in the fictional Sítio do Picapau Amarelo (Yellow Woodpecker Farm) but he had been previously a prolific writer of fiction, a translator and an art critic. He also founded one of Brazil's first publishing houses (Companhia Editora Nacional) and was a supporter of nationalism.

Lobato was born in Taubaté, São Paulo. He is best known for a set of educational but entertaining children's books, which comprise about half of his production. The other half, consisting of a number of novels and short tales for adult readers, was less popular but marked a watershed in Brazilian literature….

Most of his children books were set in the Sítio do Picapau Amarelo ("Yellow Woodpecker Farm" or "Yellow Woodpecker Ranch"), a small farm in the countryside, and featured the elderly ranch owner Dona Benta ("Mrs. Benta"), her two grandchildren – a girl, Lúcia ("Lucia") who is always referred to only by her nickname, Narizinho ("Little Nose", because she had a turned-up nose) and a boy, Pedrinho ("Little Pete") — and a black servant and cook, Tia Nastácia ("Aunt Anastacia"). These real characters were complemented by entities created or animated by the children's imagination: the irreverent rag doll Emília ("Emilia") and the aristocratic and learned puppet made of corncob Visconde de Sabugosa (roughly "Viscount Corncob"), the cow Mocha, the donkey Conselheiro ("Counsellor"), the pig Rabicó ("Short-Tail") and the rhinoceros Quindim (Quindim is a Brazilian dessert), Saci Pererê (a black, pipe-smoking, one-legged character of Brazilian folklore) and Cuca (an evil monster invoked by Brazilian mothers at night to convince their kids to go to bed)"...
Here's some information about "Cuca" who is mentioned in that excerpt:
"The Coco (or Cuco, Coca, Cuca, Cucuy) is a mythical ghost-monster, equivalent to the bogeyman, found in many Hispanic and Lusophone countries. He can also be considered a Hispanic version of a bugbear,[1] as it is a commonly used figure of speech representing an irrational or exaggerated fear. The Coco is a male being while Coca is the female version of the mythical monster, although it is not possible to distinguish one from the other as both are the representation of the same being….

Many Latin American countries refer to the monster as el Cuco. In Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, where there is a large Hispanic population, it is referred to by its anglicized name, "the Coco Man".[24] In Brazilian folklore, the monster is referred to as Cuca and pictured as a female humanoid alligator, derived from the Portuguese coca,[25] a dragon.

...It is not the way the Coco looks but what he does that scares most. It is a child eater and a kidnapper; it may immediately devour the child, leaving no trace, or it may spirit the child away to a place of no return, but it only does this to disobedient children. The coca is on the look out for child's misbehavior on the top of the roof, the coco takes the shape of any dark shadow and stays watching.[26] It represents the opposite of the guardian angel and is frequently compared to the devil. Others see the Coco as a representation of the deceased of the local community.[27]...

In Brazil the Coco appears as a female alligator called Cuca. Cuca appears as the villain in some children's books by Monteiro Lobato. Artists illustrating these books depicted the Cuca as an anthropomorphic alligator. She is an allusion to Coca, a dragon from the folklore of Portugal and Galicia."

Given the blogger's comment, I think that the author of this "Africa" song/chant is Arnaldo Antunes. By the way, Arnaldo Antunes isn't the male singer in the video.

Here's information about Arnaldo Antunes:
"Arnaldo Antunes...born Arnaldo Augusto Nora Antunes Filho, September 2, 1960), is a Brazilian musician, writer and composer. He is well known as a former member of rock band Titãs. After 1992, he embarked on a solo career spanning six albums. He has also published poetry, and had his first book published in 1983. He is noted outside Brazil for collaborations with Marisa Monte."

Rhythm Tip – Afoxé

September 16, 2013
Rhythm Tip #2
"This is a bell pattern for the Afro-Brazilian rhythm Ijexa’ (pronounced “ee jay shah”), which is part of the Candomble’ religion. The rhythm is also known as Afoxe’ (see glossary) and has had wide dissemination through the Carnaval group “Sons of Ghandi”, one of the oldest and largest Afro groups to parade through the streets of Salvador Bahia, Brazil each year in the days before Ash Wednesday.

This pattern and the feeling of the Ijexa rhythm have become part of the musical signature of Bahian musicians and are especially evident in the music of such popular artists as Gilberto Gil, Daniela Mercury and Margareth Menenzes."...
"Afoxe’ (ah foh shay) is the common name of a social dance and music from Salvador da Bahia in the northeast of Brazil. The rhythm, which is properly called Ijexa, is from the Afro Brazilian Candomble (kahn dohm bley) tradition. Groups of people bring a secular version of the music and dance to the streets during Carnaval. Afoxe’ (or afuche) is the name of a beaded gourd instrument used during parades. The rhythm and dance has became known by the name of the instrument."

"Ijexá is an African nation formed by slaves from Ilesa in Nigeria , concentrated in religions Batuque and Candomblé .Taking based in Orumilá-Ifá, and their divinatory methods of odú

African rhythm
The Ijexá currently stands as rhythm musical present in Afoxés .

The Ijexá within the Candomblé is essentially a rhythm that plays to Orishas , Oshun [1] , Osain , Ogun , Logum-Edé , Eshu , Oba , Oya-Yansan , Oxalá, Shango , Oxumare , Yewá , Nanâ , Iemanja , Odé (Oxossi) , osayn , Omulu.

Soft but beat rhythm and cadence marked great beauty, sound and dance. The Ijexá is played only with the hands, aquidavis or sticks are used in this touch, always accompanied by Gã ( agogô ) to mark the compass. The Afoxé Filhos de Gandhi of Bahia, is perhaps the most tenacious of Brazilian cultural groups in the preservation of this rhythm."..."

IJEXÁ Afro-Brazilian rhythms Ladson Souza

Ladson Souza, Published on Aug 31, 2012

Ladson Souza Ijexá running pace, typical of Brazilian percussion music.

Ladson Souza -Congas

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  1. The hand claps alternating with knee body pats remind me of African Americans' patting juba.

    Also, the sequence in which the players clap the hands of people standing on either side reminds me of the hand claps that are performed for various African American singing games.

    1. One example of that type of hand clapping game that is shown in parts of the Brazilian Africa song/chant can be found at (beginning at .031).

      That is a brief clip from the 1967 film entitled "Pizza Pizza Daddy O". That film segment shows African American girls clapping the hands of girls standing on their right and their left .