music, as a cultural form, expresses different discourses in which life is represented. the mpb is rich in content, and therefore, sometimes explicit or hidden, its lyrics also speak about the universe of gay peple, their struggles and intentions.
In this section we will take a jouney to the history of BRASILIAN GAY MUSIC (MGB) in the XX ceNTURY, MANIFESTED IN ITS NATIONAL CULTURE, SPECIFICALLY IN THE MPB.
please note that the content of this section is based on the work of Iuri Palma called: "sao as vozes que mandam" presented as a final project for his graduate course in brasilian literature, UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DO RIO GRANDE DO SUL, 2009.
The song called O bonequinho is considered the first gay reference in the MPB. Singed in the voice of Bahiano (see picture above), the most popular singer of the time, the bonequinho speaks about a young boy who exagerates his way of dressing. In particular, he uses a pant that helps his butt look better.
In the following sentence taken from the lyrics of the song, you can appreciate its intentions:
"(...) At the begining they found it funny but later when they saw me on the street, imitating my mom, they realised that I was a boy...I had a beautiful face, I had big arms and...such a beauty, such a beauty! (...)"
1930´s: Noel rosa
The song Mulato Bamba (strong mulato) takes place in a hard historical context for gay people. At that time, following an European Nazi-fascist ideology, Brasil started to look for patterns of perfection. These standards would build "the perfect nation" based on "perfect citizens". Therefore, all those who were considered "inferior", were relegated to the "social trash". Gay people, along with the old, the black, the poor, women and others, were part of this group.
In this context Noel Rosa writes Mulato Bamba. This song is an essential historical piece in the history of the gay MPB.
The sentences: "(...) he does not want to fall in love with a woman" and "he does not want any type of love, not even with a beautiful woman" talk about preferences and the freedom to choose. Also, the lyrics refer to the persecution gay people faced at this time by the police. This can be appreciated it in the following piece: "I know he is feeling bored now because he lives in persecution at all times, always".
Noel Rosa creates a character, an strong mulato who is brave, thank to the marginal nights of Rio de Janeiro. He is able to create new sambas and live without working. Scholars suggest that Noel creates this character based on his homosexual friends that were persecuted by the police. Actually, some suggest that he is refering in particular to Madame Satã, a famous troublemaker of the Lapa neighborhood.
A famous sambista, Assis Valente was another character that generated rumors for his sexual orientation. His life was marked by peaks and troughs, in both, his personal and musical life.
He went from happiness to depression, from success to failure. Unfortunatelly, he tried to killed himself couple of times until he finally succeeded it. His work is popular for making songs with double meaning that brought happiness to the gay people of that time.
Couple of songs: camisa listrada, o mundo nao se acabou, uva de caminhao and duro com duro talk about his homosexual orientations and the struggles he faced.
In camisa listrada (1937) a man dresses as a woman during the carnaval, in which everything was allowed.
In E o mundo não se acabou, it is clear to see a gay who is afraid of rumors of an eventual apocalypse. He first comes out of the closet but then he regrets. Here are pieces taken from the lyrics:
"(...) I thought the world was going to an end and so, I tried to enjoy in a way of saying good bye (...) I kissed the mouth of someone who I was not supposed to kiss, I held the hand of someone I did not know, I danced a samba wearing a bathing suit and the world did not end (...) And there is going to be rumors and people will be talking because the world did not end (...)".
The song duro com duro was never recorded. Its lyrics are more explicit and talk about gay desire. In fact, some argue that if this music would it be recorded, it would be a gay national reference.
In particular, in the following sentences: "I am also like that, so our union is terrible, do not tell me No!".
Assis e Carmem Miranda
Unfortunatelly, Assis was a victim of his time. He lived in a repressive society, in which he was forced to suppress his feelings showing a fake social life, includying his marriage that almost killed him.
Some argue that if Assis would have waited until the 60´s, he would have had a better context to live and express his feelings. Unfortunatelly, he never had internal peace.
According to scholars, the artist had two persons fighting inside him: Assis, the social, the public, and José, the private. Unsatisfied with that internal struggle, Assis killed José because he did not like how he was. José lived an irreal life.