Cai Cai Cai Cai – Capoeira Song, Lyrics & English Translation

Cai Cai Cai Cai – Capoeira Song, Lyrics & English Translation

Nem tudo que reluz é ouro
Nem tudo que balança cai
Nem tudo que reluz é ouro
Nem tudo que balança cai

Cai, cai, cai, cai,
Capoeira balança mas não cai
Cai, cai, cai, cai
Capoeira balança mas não cai
Cai, cai, cai, cai

Not all that glitters is gold
Not all that sways falls down
Not all that glitters is gold
Not all that sways falls down

Fall, fall, fall, fall
Capoeira sways but doesn’t fall
Fall, fall, fall, fall
Capoeira sways but doesn’t fall
Fall, fall, fall, fall

Balançar = Balance, Sway, Bob, Swing, Wobble

Balançar is a word you’ll hear it a lot in Capoeira songs, so it is useful to know.

It’s also an example of when:

  • There’s no exact translation between languages.
  • A single Portuguese word can have many possible different translations into English.

The English language has a lot more words than Portuguese (in fact a lot more words than any other language).

For example:

  • O barco balança nas ondas do mar = The boat bobs up and down on the waves of the sea
  • A árvore balança ao vento = The tree sways in the wind
  • A corda balançou no ar = The rope swung in the air
  • O bêbado balançou pela rua = The drunk wobbled down the street
  • A rede balança na varanda = The net dangles from the balcony

As you can see, the English translations aren’t interchangeable.

Trees can’t bob up and down in the wind, boats don’t wobble in the sea. Drunks might sway from side to side but don’t tend to swing!

Nem tudo que balança cai = Not all that wobbles falls

This would be the normal translation, but above I translated as “Not all that sways falls”.

Why? Because when a Capoeirista does the Ginga, this is also considered as a form of balançar. As wobble doesn’t describe the Ginga, it doesn’t work for the purposes of the song.

Because of this, it’s always best to associate directly between the word and the concept rather than translate. That’s why we don’t put any English words on the anki flashcards.

Take all of the different translations of balançar together and you can see a theme: All involve some kind of oscillating movement.

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