LETTER OF RIO
The phone interview has just started and now Hilton Acioli is already pushing the song. At the other end of the line, this 82-year-old man, soft voice and silver hair, hums, claps his hands, strums his guitar. Resident in the city of Natal (Nordeste), bordered by the dunes and the ocean, an unknown composer of one of the greatest hits of Brazilian music, he doesn’t last long when it comes to interpreting his work by him Faro.
Sem Medo by Ser Feliz (“Without fear of being happy”), best known by its refrain, “Lula there” (“Lula, there”), served for three decades as an electoral anthem for supporters of leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a favorite in the October 2 presidential election. Sung at every meeting, played in bars at popular festivals, the melody is known to all Brazilians. He was played by none other than Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Djavan, Beth Cardoso or Gal Costa …
It is not easy to define the style of this work, composed in 1989 at the end of the dictatorship. “A mixed waltz with northeastern rhythms. A mix of Cat Stevens and Luiz Gonzaga! “laughs Hilton Acioli. But beware: despite the romantic lyrics (” Lula there, our star shines / Lula there hope is reborn …), “It is not a ‘tralalala’ beast”. Saying ‘Lula over there’, that is ‘Lula to the presidency’, represents a dream of justice, social progress and human dignity ”.
A “wedding gift” for Lula
Candidate against Jair Bolsonaro, for his sixth presidential election, Lula has not lost his jingle forever. On the contrary. A new version was specially composed by his Workers’ Party (PT) for “vintage” 2022. The texts have been adapted to the times and mention the candidate’s time in prison (“There’s a rumor they’ve tried to silence / But that star won’t go out. “). Among the performers, now there are the stars of the moment: Duda Beat, Pabllo Vittar, Maria Rita …
As proof of its importance, the new “Lula there” was symbolically unveiled at the launch of the campaign in São Paulo on May 7 and presented as a “wedding gift” by Rosangela da Silva, known as “Janja”, 56, a PT militant and new wife of the leader of the left. “You can’t give a 76 year old so much emotion. This can give him heart problems!” then he moved a red-eyed Lula.
In Brazil, the former steel worker is anything but an exception. In a country where politics remains a popular art, every candidate must have his own election jingle. Local elected, senator, deputy, governor, president of the republic …: for the second ballot of October 2, where the legislative and regional elections will also be held, all candidates have an electoral anthem, which aroused a creative effervescence of several hundred or even thousands of compositions.
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