Capoeira Song: Manduca da Praia – Lyrics, Translation & History

Capoeira Song: Manduca da Praia – Lyrics, Translation & History

I’ll start this post with a confession; for many years I thought that Manduca da Praia was simply a way to say “Beach Bum”, or words to that effect.

It wasn’t until we prepared Papoeira Podcast #12 that I realised that Manduca da Praia was actually a specific person, an infamous figure from Brazilian history. I hope he doesn’t hold it against me if we meet in another life, or I’m in for a “pancada”!

Manduca da Praia (Manoel Alves) was a tough guy that lived in Rio de Janeiro in the mid 19th Century. His official business was a fish stall in the marketplace, but this alone couldn’t account for his playboy lifestyle…

Manduca da Praia is on the right

He didn’t just get the title of tough guy (valentão) for his fighting ability, but also for his love of running with the bulls, at which he was unrivalled.

During this era, capoeiristas were usually members of gangs (maltas), that often worked as hired heavies for the highest bidder, but Manduca was always his own free agent. Once in a while he’d work as a bodyguard, thanks to his renown as a great fighter, but this was more for pleasure than necessity, as he was a successful businessman in his own right.

Always dressed to impress, with his leather jacket, hat, pocket watch with gold chain, smart shoes and cane. At first glance he might appear like any privileged dandy, but his cunning, strength and agility made him a fighter without equal.

He was skilled with a razor blade, popular with the capoeira gangs at the time, a knife, and his “walking” cane, which accompanied him at all time. It’s reported that he had to respond to 27 legal proceedings for grievous bodily harm, but always got off scot free thanks to the influence of some of his well connected associates.

He was a player, and never missed out on a good party. One time, in one of the popular religious festivals of the city, he ended up fighting with a group of pilgrims and leaving them all unconscious – he was not the right person to annoy!

Aside from being known locally throughout Rio, what really made his name was his encounter with the Portuguese Deputy Santana. The Deputy had a penchant for street fights, and when he heard the talk of Manduca da Praia he didn’t think twice to calling him out. These street fights were vicious, no holds barred, only ending with a knockout or submission.

Manduca won of course. But with good grace and both left the fight with a great mutual respect, and possibly even a new friendship!

He certainly sounds an interesting character, we’d like to know more. We have seen that there’s a literatura cordel written about him, but haven’t managed to find more than a picture of the cover:

Today you get two for one, as of course a man such as Manduca da Praia deserves more than just a single song!

Qué Barulho é Esse: Lyrics and Translation

Que barulho é esse? É um tal de zum zum zum

Que barulho é esse? É um tal de zum zum zum

Foi o Manduca da Praia que acabou de matar um

Foi o Manduca da Praia que acabou de matar um

Quando a policia chegou foi um tal de auê auê

Quando a policia chegou foi um tal de auê auê

Vamos embora seu moço que essa briga é pra valer

Vamos embora seu moço que essa briga é pra valer

What’s that noise? It’s some guy from zum zum zum

What’s that noise? It’s some guy from zum zum zum

It was Manduca da Praia who just killed someone

It was Manduca da Praia who just killed someone

When the police arrived it was some guy from auê auê

When the police arrived it was some guy from auê auê

Let’s go man, this fight’s for real!

Let’s go man, this fight’s for real!

Mandingueiro era Manduca da Praia: Lyrics and Tanslation

No Rio de Janeiro, a minha memoria nao falha,
O melhor capoeira foi Manduca da Praia

No Rio de Janeiro, a minha memoria não falha,
O melhor capoeira foi Manduca da Praia

Mandingueiro era Manduca da Praia
Mandingueiro era Manduca da Praia
Le le le le le le le le la la la la
Le le le le le le le le la la la la

Começou sua carreira lá no Lavadinho,
Dentro do curral com touro bravio,
Homem de negócios da freguesia de São José,
Tinha uma banca, uma banca de peixe,
Lá no mercado perto do seu zé,
Manduca da Praia era homem brigão,
Alto pardo, forte e valentao,
Feriu muita gente, leve e suavemente,
De todos processos, ele se safou, mandingueiro!

Mandingueiro era Manduca da Praia
Mandingueiro era Manduca da Praia
Le le le le le le le le la la la la
Le le le le le le le le la la la la

In Rio de Janeiro, if my memory serves, the best capoeirista was Manduca da Praia

In Rio de Janeiro, if my memory serves, the best capoeirista was Manduca da Praia

Mandingueiro was Manduca da Praia
Mandingueiro was Manduca da Praia
Le le le le le le le le la la la la
Le le le le le le le le la la la la

He started his career there in Lavadinho,
Inside the corral with a wild bull,
Businessman in the parish of Sao Jose,
There was a stall, a fish stall,
There in the market near your ze,
Manduca da Praia was a fighting man,
Tall brown, strong and valiant,
He hurt many people, lightly and gently,
Of all the lawsuits, he got away with it, mandingueiro!

Mandingueiro was Manduca da Praia
Mandingueiro was Manduca da Praia
Le le le le le le le le la la la la
Le le le le le le le le la la la la

(Mandingueiro is someone who has the power of Mandinga – Magic)

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