A Terrible Blogger is Born!

February 15, 2009

A Song for Sunday

Filed under: A Song for Sunday,Music — rmangum @ 10:29 pm
Tags: ,

I’ve recently upgraded my blog’s storage capacity to include mp3’s. It would be a shame to let this go to waste, so I’ve decided to add a new feature: A Song for Sunday. Those readers who are my friends already know my penchant for weird and obscure music. The rest of you: get ready for an education.

Today’s entry is “Bat Macumba” by Os Mutantes.

The lyrical structure of this song may ultimately derive from the Gnostic demon/deity Abrasax, more commonly but incorrectly known as Abraxas, whose name (in Greek) Kabbalistically adds up to 365, therefore being associated with the solar cycle. To Abrasax, it is believed, we owe the magical incantation “abracadabra”, for Abrasax had to be invoked for protection against illness thus:

A B R A C A D A B R A

A B R A C A D A B R

A B R A C A D A B

A B R A C A D A

A B R A C A D

A B R A C A

A B R A C

A B R A

A B R

A B

A

To which this band of Mutantes (Mutants) adds:

A

A B

A B R

A B R A

A B R A C

A B R A C A

A B R A C A D

A B R A C A D A

A B R A C A D A B

A B R A C A D A B R

A B R A C A D A B R A

abraxas_nordisk_familjebok2

“Abrac” may be a corruption of “Abrasax”. The magical term may also be etymologically related to the Aramaic avra kedabra, which means “I will create as I speak”, or the Hebrew ha-brachah, “the blessing”, and the most interesting of all, abhadda kedhabhra, which is Aramaic for “disappear like this word”, presumably directed at some plague, pox, or affliction. Does this suggest that Os Mutantes are attempting to infect some unspecified subject (possibly the Brazilian government that jailed them for playing Rock and Roll)? Only an Aleister Crowley or Carl Jung could venture to guess. My whole thesis is unverified, as I regrettably do not speak Portuguese. Apparently untranslatable, as one discussion has it, the song

combines the north American pop value of Bat Man with the Afro-Brazilian
spiritualist value of macumba.

In another, the variations of the phrase

reference, among other things: Batman, Afro-Brazilian religion, and — according to a friend who speaks Portuguese — a command to smoke dope.

It’s clear that, upon consultation of no greater authorities than Babelfish and Wikepedia, that “bat” is the English word “bat”, and “macumba” is meant to play on a double meaning of “music” and “magic”.

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