Rabeca & Cantoria

Cego Oliveira
Coleção Memória do Povo Cearense - Vol. 2


1. Na Porta dos Cabarés
2. Sereno de Amor
3. Alguém Disse Que o Amor Vem de Um Aperto de Mão
4. Leva Eu, Corina
5. Serenou
6. O Verdadeiro Romance de João de Calais
7. AI, Lampião, Cadê Tua Muié?
8. O Lavrador
9. A Seca de 25
10. A Vida do Padre Cícero
11. Minha Santa Beata Mocinha
12. Bendito de Nossa Senhora das Candeias
13. São José Também Chorou
14. Baixio Verde
15. Sítio Cipó
16. Juazeiro
17. A Volta da Asa Branca
18. Rua Santa Rosa
19. Música de Repente
20. Despedida
21. Minha Rabequinha
22. Um Liforme Pra Vestir
Cego Oliveira (the blind Oliveira)

Pedro Oliveira was born blind, in a poor family in the poor Ceará region, Brazil. He had to beg for a living.

When he was already in his late teens, his uncle gave him a fiddle, which he learned to play by himself - so that he would forever hold it in a peculiar position. With his older brother, who read poems to him, he learned popular poems by heart, some long enough to tell biographical stories in a popular way. He also created quatrains. He traveled through country markets and popular fairs and parties, singing his poems and stories, and playing his fiddle taking all the alms people would give him - small coins mostly, for his audiences was made of workers and jobless people themselves.

The 'Blind Oliveira' became well known in Ceará, and his repertory grew to 75 "rumances" (mispronounced romances), among which "Romance do Pavão Misterioso" (story of the mysterious peacock) and "A verdadeira história de João de Calais" (the true story of Jean de Calais).

As radio penetrated his backwoods country, his cultural services became less and less appreciated, but he was still welcome to anniversary parties, baptisms, and funerals.

His work was included in a long play disc, "Nordeste: Cordel, Repente e Canção" (1975), a digest of music from similar popular artists, and a volume of the Brazilean musical collection "Memória do Povo Cearense" (1999).

He was included in a 1975 documentary on Brazilean folklore, but possibly his largest audience out of Brazil was achieved with the feature film Cobra Verde (1987). Werner Herzog went to Ceará during research for his film, and was so impressed with the artist that he decided to start the film with introductory quatrains and fiddle music played on camera by Pedro Oliveira.
"Essa minha rabequinha
É meus pés, é minha mão
É minha roça de mandioca,
É minha farinha, o meu feijão,
É minha safra de algodão,
Dela eu faço profissão
Por não poder trabalhar,
Mas ao padre fui perguntar
Se cantar fazia mal.
Ele me disse: Oliveira,
Pode cantar bem na praça,
Porém se cantar de graça
Cái em pecado mortal"...
"This my little rabeca
It is my legs, it is my hand
It is my field of manioc,
It is my meal, my beans,
It is my crop of cotton,
I make it work
By not being able to work,
But the priest I asked
If singing was bad.
He told me, Oliveira,
You can sing well in the square,
But if we sing for free
Falls into mortal sin"...

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