An English Translation of the Samba Rock Classic “Segura a Nega” — “Hang on to Your Girl”


Clube de Balanço. Photo by Kika Silva.

This is Bebeto‘s “Segura a Nega” performed by Clube do Balanço. It is one of the greatest samba rock songs ever performed, and if you have a less-than-perfect command of spoken Brazilian Portuguese, you may be wondering what the hell the lyrics are about.

I offer here my translation; the emphasis here is on accuracy in meaning and achieving a comparable register in American English.

 

 

 

[one_half]

Segura a Nega

A gente pra viver bem nesse mundo

Tem que ser um pouco mais inteligente

Como já dizia a minha velha vó:

“Macaco velho não bota a mão na cumbuca!”

Com o meu avô eu aprendi

Que não se cutuca onça com uma vara curta

Mas quando a minha mãe vinha me dizer

Pra tomar cuidado com esse mundo louco

Eu não quis ouvir

Eu não quis ouvir

Só fui ouvir um tio malandro que eu tenho

Quando ele me dizia

Segura a nega, meu!

Segura a nega!

É… segura nega, viu?

Segura a nega!

 

A gente pra viver bem nesse mundo

Tem que ser um pouco mais inteligente

Como já dizia a minha velha vó:

“Macaco velho não bota a mão na cumbuca!”

Com o meu avô eu aprendi

Que não se cutuca onça com uma vara curta

Mas quando a minha mãe vinha me dizer

Pra tomar cuidado com esse mundo louco

Eu não quis ouvir

Eu não quis ouvir

Só fui ouvir um tio malandro que eu tenho

Quando ele me dizia

Segura a nega, viu?

Segura a nega!

É… segura nega, meu!

Segura a nega!

É verdade que o machão moderno gosta de gravata e de trabalho?

É verdade que a mulher moderna gosta é de carro e de dinheiro?

Como já dizia o velho Vicente

Sempre que puder, meu filho

Segura a nega, viu?

Segura a nega!

Segura a nega, viu?

Segura a nega!

Eu passei a minha vida toda segurando as negas

Eu passei a minha vida toda segurando a nega

E agora meu? O que faço eu?

Segura a nega!

Segura nega, viu?

Segura a nega!

Segura nega!

Segura a nega!

Segura nega!

Segura a nega!

Segura nega!

[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

Hang on to Your Girl

To live well in this world,

we’ve gotta be a little smarter.

As my dear grandmother said,

“The old monkey doesn’t go sticking his hand in gourds.”

From my grandfather I learned

not to poke at jaguars with a short stick.

But when my mother told me

to be careful in this crazy world,

I didn’t want to listen

I didn’t want to listen

I just listened to my badass uncle

When he said,

“Listen up, bud, Hang on to your girl!

Hang on to your girl!

Hang on girl, you hear?

Hang on to your girl!

 

To live well in this world,

we’ve gotta be a little smarter.

As my dear grandmother said,

“The old monkey doesn’t go sticking his hand in gourds.”

From my grandfather I learned

not to poke at jaguars with a short stick.

But when my mother told me

to be careful in this crazy world,

I didn’t want to listen

I didn’t want to listen

I really just listened to my beloved daddy,

when the old man said,

Hang on to your girl!

Hang on to your girl!

Hang on girl, you hear?

Hang on to your girl!

Is it true that what the modern mega-stud likes is a tie and working?

Is it true that what the modern woman likes is a car and money?

As big Luiz used to say,

When you can, son,

Hang on girl, you hear?

Hang on to your girl!

Hang on girl, you hear?

Hang on to your girl!

I spent my entire life hanging on to my girls

I spent my entire life hanging on to my girls

And now what? What do I do?

Hang on to your girl!

Hang on, girl!

Hang on to your girl!

Hang on, girl!

Hang on to your girl!

Hang on, girl!

Hang on to your girl!

Hang on, girl!

[/one_half_last]

I also love Bebeto’s original version, below.

 

 

 

 

 

Clube de Balanço. Photo by Kika Silva.
Clube do Balanço. Photo by Kika Silva.

 

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