Wednesday, 22 May 2013

MANUELA & German Rock

Mauela's 'Mama, ich sag' dir was' promotional photo 1964.

Even though this blog is about Brazilian Rock I'd like to introduce a topic about Manuela, a young German singer with a Latino name who broke into the Brazilian Hit Parade in late 1964, with a good rocking  tune called 'Mama ich sag dir was'.

Brazil has always been an idiosyncratic market where everything that could happen sometimes does happen.

German cinema had been fairly popular in Brazil before WWII. São Paulo had an exclusive UFA outlet where one could watch all the latest hits from Berlin. After Brazil entered WWII in 1942, the UFA theatre was taken over and given a different name: Art-Palacio named after Art Films, a European movie distributor.

A Zepellin blimp brought UFA's brass all the way from Berlin to São Paulo to open Cine UFA (Universum Film AG)  in 13 November 1936.
'Boccaccio', a 1936 German musical film starring Albrecht Schoenhals, Gina Falckenberg and Willy Fritsch opened Cine UFA in São Paulo.
Cine UFA-Palacio on Avenida São João had its name changed to Art-Palacio after 1942. 
Cine Art Palacio, former Cine UFA

As early as 1938, the Brazilian Government started a campaign to prevent the teaching of foreign languages in schools around the country but after 1942, when Brazil entered the War on the side of the Americans, the German language was banned outright from being taught. Not even private schools were allowed to teach German, Japanese or Italian. Printed material in any of those languages were aprehended and people caught with them were automatically encarcerated.

Less than 10 years after the end of WWII, Volkswagen and other German companies were back in Brazil, but German culture never recovered from the ravages of the World War II.

By mid 1950s, German movies started having a slow come back especially with Romy Schneider and  the Sissi-trilogy: 'Sissi' (1956), 'Sissi, die junge Kaiserin' / 'Sissi, a Imperatriz' (1957) and 'Sissi, Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin '/ "Sissi e seu destino'. 'Die Trapp Familie' (future Broadway's 'The sound of music') was also a hit in 1957. I remember watching 'Zwei Blaue Augen' with Marianne Koch in 1959, and crying my eyes out with that melodrama.

Telefunken had a distribution deal with Brazilian Continental Records all through the 1950s, so German hits were periodically released in compilation albums but they only sold to an specific public, maybe those who knew the language. Polydor Records released many a-Werner Müller orchestra's records too.

Der schräge Otto's piano medleys were very popular circa 1958. Otto's name was translated into Portuguese as 'A Drunkard' (Um Pau d'Água)... not very dignifying.

In 1960, Tony Campello recorded 'Seja o meu amor' a translation of Peter Kraus' 'Alle Mädchen wollen küssen'.

Tony's sister, Celly Campello, Brazil's Queen of Rock recorded 'Jolly Joker' in 1961, a cover of Connie Froboess, even though nobody knew it was from a German hit.

Sergio Murilo and Celly Campello released (separately) 'Brôto legal', a version of 'So o o eine Nacht' a rock hit by Caterina Valente. So one can see that German hits were often translated into Brazilian hits. 

In 1963, Ralf Bendix's rendition (auf Deutsche) of 'Babysittin' boogie' was a hit in Brazil, along side with Tony Campello's Brazilian version 'O boogie do bebê'. Don't ask me why or how this particular song received so much air-play.

Bert Kaempfert albums like 'Dancing in Wonderland' were fairly popular in the early 1960s, with 'Afrikaan Beat' going up to Number One in 1963.

Then, in late 1964, maybe due to Italian sensation Rita Pavone who took Brazilian charts by storm, Continental Discos decided to release 'Mama ich sag dir was', a rocking tune with Manuela... and it had a fairly good air-play. Before the year ended, Continental released a Manuela's album containing a German language version of 'Ave Maria no Morro', a Brazilian evergreen... so Manuela had more air-play.

Manuela's Brazilian single back-sleeve.
Manuela's first album released in Germany in 1964.
Manuela becomes famous overnight in 1963 with 'Schuld war nur der Bossa Nova', German cover of Eydie Gorme's 'Blame it on the Bossa Nova'. 

back cover of 'Mamãe eu te diria algo' (Mama ich sag dir was); the title in Portuguese sounds funny because the label translator used the conditional-present-tense which is unusual, so it became 'Mama I would tell you something' instead of the more common: 'Mama, I'll tell you something'. 

Continental Discos did its homework well, advertising Manuela's single in Revista do Rádio, the main record magazine. They knew there was a thirst for girl-rockers especially after Italian Rita Pavone had taken Brazilian charts by storm in the first half of 1964. 

'Mamãe, eu te diria algo' (Mama, ich sag' dir was) released circa September 1964; it played well in radio stations in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. 

Hit Parade on Revista do Radio 13 February 1965.

These were the 10 best selling singles in February 1965, according to Revista do Radio, a magazine published in Rio de Janeiro. Manuela was # 2 to Demônios da Garôa, a Brazilian vocal group. Actually Manuela was amongst rock royalty here: Jamaican Millie Small was # 4; Italian rocker Michele at #5; Brazilian King of Rock Roberto Carlos was # 6; The Beatles were at # 7; Tex-mex Trini Lopez at # 8; Rita Pavone, the Italian Bombshell at # 9 with 'Sul cucuzzolo'.

Manuela was news in teen-magazines along side Italian acts like Pino Donaggio & Adriano Celentano. 
'Mama, ich sag dir was' was a medium-sized hit and it appeared in the pages of lyrics-magazines like 'Vamos Cantar', alongside English and Italian lyrics. Brazil was such a melting pot in the 1960s.

Note about the release of Manuela's album containing 'Schuld war nur der Bossa Nova' and 'Ave Maria no morro'.
Manuela as she was portrayed in the Brazilian press. Manuela's album had a fairly good air-play. 

Due to Manuela's single good reception, Continental Discos soon released 'Manuela!' an album that sold pretty well too. It is not rare for one to come across this album at 2nd-hand record-shops in São Paulo up to date (2013). The 14 titles were listed in Portuguese with the original German titles between brackets, a practice used a lot in Argentina but not in Brazil.

Manuela's Brazilian album has the same 14 tracks as the German original with a different sleeve.

MANUELA - Telefunken XT-LP 3072 - 1965

1. Mamãe eu te diria algo (Mama, ich sag' dir was),
2. Ya Ya Twist
3. Um navio vai chegar - Pôrto de Pireus (Ein Schiff wird kommen),
4. Eu ainda vou p'ra escola (Ich geh' noch zur Schule),
5. Ave maria no morro [supreendentemente, não há titulo em alemão]
6. Diana
7. Olá rapaz, pára de beber - Don't try to fight it, baby (Hey Boy, lass doch den Whisky)

1. Escute alguem vem de fora (Horch, was kommt von draußen rein)
2. Marinheiro, a tua pátria é o mar (Seemann, deine Heimat is das Meer)
3. Alô Mary Lou [Hallo Mary Lou]
4. Vaya con Dios
5. Lollipop
6. Habanero, toca mais uma vez para mim (Spiel noch einmal für mich, Habanero),
7. Ensinando a bossa-nova - Blame it on the Bossa Nova  (Schuld war nur der Bossa Nova)

I remember listening to a daily afternoon rock show on Radio Piratininga where DJ Ferreira Martins played Manuela's 'Ave Maria no morro' (Hail Mary at the slums) almost on a daily basis.

Manuela's rendition of this old Brazilian standard, originally recorded by Trio de Ouro at Odeon studios in Rio de Janeiro in 5 June 1942 (released in August '42), was really heart-felt and sincere. The German lyrics are a fantasy about a beggar-singer who plays his guitar on the streets of Rio de Janeiro and is granted a favour by Holy Mary in the shape of a gold coin that falls on his empty tin - something completely made out by the German 'translator'. Manuela sings it with all her soul... and Die 5 Dops, the band that accompanies her are really good. I could easily say that Manuela's rendition of 'Ave Maria no morro' is amongst the best ever, if not the best.

I became a fan of Manuela's gradually, and it was all based on this particular album which covers a lot of ground from German folk-songs as 'Seeman, deine Heimat ist das Meer' and 'Horch, was kommt von draußen rein'*; American do-wop style 'Lollipop'; Cuban music like 'Habanero', Tin Pan Alley turned Mexican hacienda mariachi as 'Vaya con Dios'; a Gerry Goffin-Carole King Bossa Nova tune as 'Hey Boy, lass doch den Whisky' - 'Don't try to fight it', an Eydie Gorme recording; Paul Anka's 'Diana' and Ricky Nelson's 'Hello Mary Lou'; a Greek movie-theme as 'Never on Sunday' as well as German rock ditties like 'Ich geh' noch zu Schule' and 'Mama'.

Listening to Manuela's records made me interested in the German language. If it weren't for Manuela's album I wouldn't know anything about it. I don't know much German, but I know enough of it to understand the topics of songs and even some film dialogues.


Grau verhüllt in Lumpen
sitzt ein Bettler auf der Strasse
an der Ecke in Rio de Janeiro

In seinen Händen hält er bescheiden eine Gitarre
und schlägt leise die Akkorde
denn dabei singt er dieses Lied

Ohne zu schauen hasten die Menschen
achtlos vorbei und so bleibt der Teller leer
der einem Armen Brot geben soll

doch plötzlich fallen zwei goldene Münzen
in seine Teller, das war Maria
Donna Maria, die in der Grotte hat ihn gesehen

Ave Maria
Ave Maria
Du gehst einher mit offnen Händen
niemals wir deine Liebe enden
Ave Maria
A letra de 'Ave Maria no morro' em alemão é incrivel. Eles mudaram todo enredo, como todo bom versionista o faz em qualquer língua do planeta. É a historia de um mendigo sentado numa esquina qualquer do Rio de Janeiro. Ele pega seu violão, dedilha uma melodia, começa a cantar uma canção, mas ninguém dá a mínima atenção, correndo apressados para seus afazeres, deixando sua bandeja completamente vazia. Quando o mendigo já está sem esperanças, ele ouve o tilintar de duas moedas de ouro caindo na sua lata: ele olha p'ra cima e vê uma senhora toda de branco, muito bonita se afastando... era a própria Nossa Senhora que o tinha socorrido!

ouça no YouTube:

Horch, was kommt von draußen rein. Dieses alte Volkslied bearbeiteten Bruhn und Buschor 1963 und produzierten einen neuen Hit die Manuela 63 am laufenden Band ihren Fans zu Gehör brahten. Stimmung un gute Laune waren garantiert. Wenn ihre Stimme aus den Lautsprecher des Radios oder der Plattenspieler ertönte. (I got this text from YouTube).

Death Note

Manuela, whose real name was Doris Inge Wegener was born in Berlin in 18 August 1943 and died in Berlin in 13 February 2001 of palate cancer causes.

Manuela's grave 

Manuela's singles released in Brazil by Continental Discos 

'Kusse unterm Regenbogen' was released in 1965, but one year in pop music may be an eternity... the Brazilian Rock movement known as Jovem Guard (Young Guard) had taken root permanently as of August 1965, and Brazilian youths that spent their cash on foreign language hits started buying the local product. Italian as well as Anglo-American pop stars were on the wane. Maybe if Continental had released 'In meinem Kalender' instead, which is a much more catchy tune Manuela would have had a follow-up for 'Mama', but 'Kusse unterm Regenbogen' was totally unoticed. 
'Nichts als Sorgen' / 'Love and kisses' (33-435) - is a rare single. Continental Discos released it with a colour-sleeve which was unusual in 1966, when all their singles were either B&W pictures or simply 'standard' sleeves with a whole in the middle for one to read the label.
Manuela's fourth (and last) single released in Brazil (33-476) was especially recorded in English from 2 German originals: 'Es ist zum Weinen' became 'Things are so different' b/w '"Wirf deine Liebe niemals fort' which became 'Don't ever throw your love away'. It is an even rarer single. Brazilians had by 1966, turned their attention to the local rock aka Jovem Guarda. Do not get fooled by the titles in Portuguese: both songs are sung in English.

1.  Mama, ich sag dir was / Lollipop  -  Telefunken/Continental 33-290

2.  Kusse unterm Regenbogen / Zwei Schaten an deinen Fenster  -  Continental 33-383

3.  Nichts als Sorgen / Love and kisses  -  Continental 33-435

4.  Things are so different (Es ist zum Weinen' / 'Don't ever throw your love away' ('Wirf deine Liebe niemals fort') - Continental 33-476.

'Manuela in Las Vegas' is a double-album recorded 'live' in Las Vega where Manuela had 2 daily shows called 'Casino de Paris' at the Dunes Hotel running from 1st up to 21 December 1973. It was released in Brazil by BASF for some mysterious reasons. Manuela wasn't fluent enough in English to warrant a whole show of her own in Las Vegas. Her rendition of 'Kansas City' is pitiful and her dialogue with the night-club audience is pathetic. Well, maybe gamblers don't pay much attention to musical shows anyway, so Manuela kept going with Waldo de los Rio's reading of Beethoven's 'Song of Joy', a Beatles and Bacharach medley, Gilbert Becaud's 'Let it be me' and 'What now, my love?'; Roberta Flack's 'Killing me softly with his song'; ''Muss I denn' and a medley of German folk-songs with a little Bob Dylan  thrown in for good measure. Imagine singing 'Blowin' in the wind' for a Vegas audience... it is mind boggling.

Even though 'In meinem Kalender' was not released in Brazil, it is one of my favourite Manuela records. So here are the lyrics:



Es ist Abend und ich bin heute ganz allein zu Haus'. Vor mir liegt mein kleines rotes Tagebuch, ich schlage die ersten Seiten auf und die Seiten fangen aufeinmal zu sprechen an. Alle von Euch, die mal so ein Tagebuch hatten, werden mich verstehen, wenn ich ein wenig traurig bin.

Es war in der kleinen Espresso-Bar,
an einem Montag im letzten Jahr,
da fand ich dich gleich so wunderbar,
so steht es in meinem Kalender.

Am Mittwoch darauf kam das Rendezvous,
der erste Kuss und das erste Du.
Und nur der Mond sah uns beiden zu,
so steht es in meinem Kalender.

Warum nur, warum ist das alles gescheh'n?
Warum mussten wir auseinander geh'n?
Warum nur, warum ist das alles vorbei,
was so schön war, so schön für uns zwei.

Du kamst eines sonntags zu uns nach Haus?
und brachtest Mama einen Blumenstrauss.
Für mich sah die Welt wie verzaubert aus,
so steht es in meinem Kalender.

Am Freitag, den 13., da gab es Streit,
ich hab' es leider zu spät bereuht.
Seit dem ist mein Herz voller Einsamkeit,
so steht es in meinem Klaender.

Warum nur, warum ist das alles gescheh'n?
Warum mussten wir auseinander geh'n?
Warum nur, warum ist das alles vorbei,
was so schön war, so schön für uns zwei.
Was so schön war, so schön für uns zwei.

Missed oportunity: if Continental had released 'In meinen Kalender', maybe Manuela would have had a follow-up and had stayed popular a little longer in Brazil :

Best site about Manuela's discography:

Rita Pavone sings in German: 'Peppino aus Torino' / 'Bye bye Blue Jeans' - these two records sung in German by Italian Rita Pavone were regularly played in 'Discômetro Mundial' a daily morning rock show on Radio Tupi by Alberto Moraví, an Argenine (or maybe Uruguayan) DJ who was living in São Paulo in 1966. Moraví started building a huge audience playing his private record collection made up of 45 rpms he brought from Europe and the USA. 'Discômetro Mundial' was the closest we Brazilians had to famous pirate Luxemburgo Pirate radio in Europe. 

Alberto Moraví played the best possible rock list: die Beatles singing 'Sie lieb dich'; Rita Pavone singing in Spanish or German; Cliff Richard in Spanish; Brenda Lee in German... it was like listening to the United Nations on the air. It was a marvelous show. TV Tupi started showing 'Studio Uno', a top Italian musical show on Wednesday night too. 

As good things never last... Brazilian Radio DJ Union had a court injunction against Alberto Moraví citing he didn't speak proper Portuguese on the air, being a foreigner who was taking jobs away from Brazilians. The injunction was carried out and the show was taken off the air. And we, poor listeners were orphan for ever. 

Manuela was the 4th most popular female singer in Germany in this poll published by BRAVO in January 1964.
In 1965, Manuela was the runner up to Danish Gitte. 

November 1964

Italian rock queen Rita Pavone & German rock princess Manuela in Bremen in the 1990s.
Rita Pavone und Manuela... Königinnen...

Manuela's E.P. featuring 'Ave Maria no morro' / 'Ensinando Bossa Nova' / 'Alô, Mary Lou' and 'Vaya con Dios'. All tracks are sung in German even though the titles are in Portuguese. 


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