Haroldo Lobo

About Haroldo Lobo

Haroldo Lobo was a very important figure in Carioca Carnival. His songs, until today very popular, were passionately sung and whistled by Brazilians each year. In some Carnivals he had four songs as the most appreciated by the general people. In 1944, for instance, his songs "Ruas do Japão," "Clube dos Barrigudos" (with Cristóvão de Alencar), "Verão do Havaí" (with Benedito Lacerda) e "Ninguém ensaiou" (with Benedito Lacerda) all became hits.
Haroldo Lobo was blessed by being part of a musical family. His father Quirino Lobo played flute and violão (acoustic guitar), and his brother Badu (Osvaldo Lobo) was a drummer and composer, already recorded by the duo Joel e Gaúcho. Soon he'd study theory and solfeggio, and at 13 he was already composing his sambas for the Bloco dos Ursos, a carnival group.
His first recorded samba was "Metralhadora," in 1934, sung by acclaimed artist Aurora Miranda, having Donga and Luís Meneses as partners (Donga is the composer of the first recorded samba, "Pelo Telefone. In fact, "Pelo Telefone had the genre "Brazilian tango" printed in its label, and the song was a collective creation of the musicians of the Casa da Tia Ciata, but this is another story).
Haroldo 's first Carnival composition (and first big hit, becoming an all-times classic) was "Juro," with Milton de Oliveira, recorded by J. B. de Carvalho. This samba was awarded in 1938 by the mayoralty of the Federal District, at the times Rio de Janeiro. Milton, who would became his most constant partner in samba compositions, wrote hundreds of very popular songs, between them "Não tenho lágrimas," recorded, among others, by Nat "King" Cole and Billy Eckstine. The award was a great deed for the novice Haroldo, who competed with renowned composers such as Nássara, Roberto Roberti, Alvarenga e Ranchinho, João de Barro e Alberto Ribeiro, Ciro de Sousa e Babau, Assis Valente and Noel Rosa. Incited by this success, in this same year the duo would come up with the marcha (march) "Diabo sem Rabo" and "Desengano," one of their best sambas, recorded by Patrício Teixeira. Having to work as a night guard, life wasn't easy for Haroldo. Out of his determination, he'd soon become Brazil's most successful composer in receiving author rights. He and Milton came to the conclusion that it wasn't enough to compose a good song. They would have to "work" it through all available means to make it really explode. Then Milton became the creator of the "caititu", the process of hyping a song through paid exposition that would be the precusor of "jabaculê", a most malignant plague in Brazil's radio today. Milton used to pay to trumpetists and trombonists to play their songs in the heart of the Carioca Carnival at the time, Avenida Rio Branco. Haroldo was in the "caititu" business as well, but his methods were more discrete. Being a municipal guard, he would ask to his colleagues in service at the clubs of the burgeoisie to request his songs, and as the bands always wanted to please the law... As a precursor of propagandistic schemes in Brazil, Haroldo always put his brains in action to find ways to get free advertising for his songs. When he made "O passo da girafa" (Giraffe's Step), he made a triumphant apparition at the City Zoo with the popular singer Araci de Almeida. Next day, all press covered the fact. In other occasions, he feed polemics about his compositions, as was the case with "Eu quero é rosetar," which means nothing but "I want to spur". But the dubious context explored by the lyrics transmitted the idea of something less conventional. The song had the big hit and won the Carnival contest of that year (1947), but official censorship prohibited the selling of the records, which were already distributed to retailers. The duo, in their sophistic self-defense, was news for a good time in the major press. The influence of the Bloco dos Ursos (Bears' Block) in Haroldo 's career is felt through several hits titled after varied animals. Deserves mention "O passarinho do relógio" (hit of the Carnival of 1940) and "O passo do canguru") (idem, 1941) (both with Milton de Oliveira). The singer was Araci de Almeida. "O passo do canguru" was recorded in 1942 in the USA under the title "Brazilian Willy" by Carmen Miranda. Satirizing the problems of everyday life became a trademark of Haroldo's marchinhas. 1941's "Alá-lá-ô" is a good example, making fun of those times of irregular supply of water in the city of Rio de Janeiro. 1940's "A dança do ganso" (Goose's dance) is another, alluding to the Nazi troops' march. The theme of the II World War would also inspire him to compose "Que passo é esse, Adolfo?" (with Roberto Riberti), and "Nas ruas do Japão" (with Cristóvão de Alencar), both recorded by Linda Batista. Revolving everyday' life, he'd find juicy themes such as the gas rationing that provoked a law disposing about stand-up traveling in collective transports ("Oito em pé," with Milton de Oliveira, recorded in 1942 by Araci de Almeida), the regulation by the Mayor of the transportation of chickens in the cargo bonds ("Tem galinha no bonde," recorded in 1942 by Araci de Almeida). In 1944, "Verão do Havaí" (with Benedito Lacerda), recorded by Francisco Alves and Dalva de Oliveira, won the Carnival contest. His success was solidified by "Rosalina" (samba, composed with important sambista Wilson Batista), and "Coitado do Edgar," with Benedito Lacerda, both in 1945. In 1946, won the Carnival contest with "Espanhola" (with Nelson Gonçalves), and had a hit with "Vou sambar em Madureira," with Milton de Oliveira, recorded by Jorge Veiga. Several big successes would follow. In 1947, "Eu quero é rosetar," with Milton de Oliveira, recorded by Jorge Veiga, and "Odalisca," with Geraldo Gomes, recorded by Nelson Gonçalves. In 1949, with "O passo da girafa," with Milton. In 1950, with "Serpentina" and "A coroa do rei," with David Nasser. In 1951, with "Pra seu governo," with Milton, and "Retrato do velho," with Marino Pinto. In 1952, with "Quem chorou fui eu," with Milton, "Acho-te uma graça," with Benedito Lacerda and Carvalhinho, and "Eva," with Milton. In 1953, with "Na China," with Milton. In 1954 with "Não posso mais" (with Milton and Claudionor Santos) and "História da maçã (with Milton). Other famous compositions by Haroldo that made it into the history of Carioca Carnivals: "Quebrei a jura," "Pó de mico," "Já passava das onze," "Tapete de Bagdá," "Espanhola," "Senhor comissário," "Fui um louco," "Martírio," "A mula mancou," "Rasguei o meu pierrô," "Geni," "O circo vem aí," "Oh! Tirolesa," "Pode matar que é bicho," "Charrete macia," "Holandesa," "Quem chorou fui eu," "Confete dourado," "Reza por nosso amor," "Coitado do Abdala," among others. In the mid-50's, the street Carnival begins to change. The commercial battles take the place of the people's spontaneity. Haroldo's creation, the "caititu", turns itself against its creator. Poor-quality songs and lyrics force their way into the contests, and Haroldo has to dumb-down his standards to continue to win. And indeed he'd, with 1956' "Batendo a cabeça" and "Saco de Papel," 1960' "A Maria tá," 1961' "Índio quer apito," 1962' "Andorinha" and "Nega do Congo," 1964' "A índia vai ter neném" and "Pistoleira," 1965' "Burrinha de mola." But his true passion and love for Carnival would last until his last sigh. He always played in the four days of Carnival, each with a different fantasy. At July, 20th, 1965, he suffered a stroke and died. He had already prepared next year's Carnival hit. It would be much more than that. Made upon a rough by the then novice Niltinho, he would come up with "Tristeza," a beautiful samba that conjures, in its nostalgic, melancholic feeling, a real requiem for a great composer. ~ Alvaro Neder