The Body Part that Brazilians Have and English Speakers Lack — And other Wisdom from Forró Lyrics “Nosso Xote”


What is the essential Brazilian body part that mainly exists to be sniffed and kissed, and that we have no word for in English?

How many delightful ways can we talk about quivering, trembling, shimmying and swaying in Portuguese?

The answers to these questions and more wisdom can be gleaned from the lyrics of the classic, sweet forró song “Nosso Xote” (“Our Xote”) from São Paulo-based Bicho de Pé.

This translation is also particularly interesting for forrozeiros as it contains essential vocabulary about movements, body parts, falling in love on the dance floor, and other required forró terms.

See especially the footnotes for in-depth explanations of these lovely parts.

 

[one_half]

Moreno,

Me convidou para dançar um xote,

Beijou meu cabelo

Cheirou meu cangote

Fez meu corpo inteiro se arrepiar

Fiquei sem jeito

E ele me acolheu junto ao peito

E foi nos braços deste moreno,

Que eu forrozei

Até o dia clarear

Me encantei por seu olhar

Moreno chega mais pra cá

Meu dengo vem me xamegar

Seu jeito de balançar o corpo inteiro

Faz meu coração bater ligeiro

Assim eu vou me apaixonar.

[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

The dark man1Moreno could mean dark hair or dark skin, or even be used affectionately for a man who is not actually that dark at all

Invited me to dance a xote2Xote is a slow style of forró, like this song. It is meant to be danced in a close embrace, without lots of turns..

He kissed my hair,

Sniffed my neck3Cangote is a body part that we tragically lack in English; it is the side of the neck just below the ear, sometimes stretching to the collarbone. It should be smelled and kissed. It is rarely used for any other function. Women in particular are suspected of baring their cangotes and running their hands over their cangotes while dancing in order to leave their dance partners flustered.

Made my whole body quiver

I was left dazed4Ficar sem jeito means to be left dazed, confused, nonplussed, with one’s mind blown out by hormones or the craziness of it all.

He held me close to his chest

And it was in the arms of this dark man

That I danced forró

Until daybreak

I was delighted by his gaze

Dark man, come closer

My darling, come snuggle5Xamegar or chamegar is used in just about any forró song; it can indicate cuddling, snuggling, the close forró embrace, or just the idea of intimacy. up with me,

His manner of swaying his whole body

Makes my heart quickly6Ligeiro means lightly (not heavily), but in the Northeast has come to also take on a second meaning as an adverb meaning quickly pitter patter

This is how I will fall in love.

[/one_half_last]

Notes   [ + ]

1. Moreno could mean dark hair or dark skin, or even be used affectionately for a man who is not actually that dark at all
2. Xote is a slow style of forró, like this song. It is meant to be danced in a close embrace, without lots of turns.
3. Cangote is a body part that we tragically lack in English; it is the side of the neck just below the ear, sometimes stretching to the collarbone. It should be smelled and kissed. It is rarely used for any other function. Women in particular are suspected of baring their cangotes and running their hands over their cangotes while dancing in order to leave their dance partners flustered.
4. Ficar sem jeito means to be left dazed, confused, nonplussed, with one’s mind blown out by hormones or the craziness of it all.
5. Xamegar or chamegar is used in just about any forró song; it can indicate cuddling, snuggling, the close forró embrace, or just the idea of intimacy.
6. Ligeiro means lightly (not heavily), but in the Northeast has come to also take on a second meaning as an adverb meaning quickly

1 Comment

  1. ivana
    December 14, 2017
    Reply

    very lovely song, interesting article

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