THE CUT-OFF HEADS OF MEMBERS OF THE lAMPI┬O-GANG VIRGULINO FERREIRRA DA SILVA (lAMPI┬O) OR 'LAMPOON' WAS THE LEADER OF A 'CANGAăO' GANG, WHOM FOUGHT AGAINST THE GREAT-FARMERS AND LANDLORDS IN THE POOR BRAZILIAN NORTHEAST... SOME CONSIDER HIM AS A JESSE JAMES HE GOT KILLED IN ANGICOS, SERGIPE IN 1938 AFTER A MEMBER OF THE GANG BETRAYED HIM HE AND HIS GANG GOT AMBUSHED IN A HIDE OUT BY THE POLICE WITH MACHINE GUNS THERE HEADS WERE CUT OF AND SENT TO SALVADOR, BAHIA TO THE STATE FORENSIC INSTITUTE AND LATER FOR PUBLIC EXHIBITION
WITH HIM DIED HIS SWEETHEART MARIA BONITA AND NINE OTHER GANGMEMBERS
SOME SAY THAT HE'S STILL RIDING THE 'SERT┬O', THE WILDERNESS, WHILE THE RICH FARMERS ARE STILL FEARFUL
The good meal combined with the white gin was too much for Juan and soon he felt a-sleep like a new born child in a colourfull hammock, which was a swinging between two walls. He woke up when the sun was allready settin' down. Confused he stumbled outside, took a shower by the waterwell and catched the smell of fried black-beans and fried fish. He walked back inside the cabin and saw the old singer sitting in his chair; this time without hat. His head was bold and just some grey twines were covered up the sides. In the shadows of the dancin' candlle lights he looked even more scrawny, a stone throw away from a resemblance of Klaus Kinki's 'Nosferatu the vampire', in the Werner Herzog movie. But it was all romantic, somehow unreal, so it could be only written in a good book. Outside Juan heard noises of some men arriving in pick-up trucks; there were five of them, the Sertanejos, the cowboy looking dwellers of the wasteland. Two wearing accordians, one a fiddle and another the Surdo, a big bass-drum. The last one carried a huge curved instrument which makes snoring sounds, which they named Cuica. 'Let's go to the barn,' said the old singer and, leaning on a old walking stick, he stumbled bended down, to the old barn. The barn was transformed like a music-room, a timber floor, a small mixer for voice and instruments, some aged amplifiers and a old piano. The little stage was decorated with some mikes and a colorful parrot whom folks over here named 'Jandaia' flew and produced strange noises around the location. 'Well... this is the place where my amigos are playing our music, music that's touching my soul... the songs of the nordestino, the 'bahiÔo' the music of hard times,' and there was a sad look in the old mans eyes. 'You see... music my dear John is a God's gift, something our are born with, a force you'll never get rid off...' The old man took his martin guitar, stepped, curved like a old tree forward to the mike. With tremblin hands he stroke a D and when he started singing there was no doubt in Juan's heart. The sound was fragile, his voice bounced, but clearly recognizable. The song the old man was a moanin' was called 'Honky-tonk blues', and slowly, the accordions joined in, the fiddle was like a cryin' dyin' man out on the street, while the Surdo accompained the rhythm and cuica made strange noises and sounded like a fierce snake. The blues was re-born in the middle of the Brazilian dessert. Juan took his guitar and forgot the world around him, his memories and future. When the song was finished the bass-drum started another beat, a Indian beat and the song told about a wooden Indian whom never bin kissed: Kawliga. The old man looked at juan: 'let's sing some together bro...' and he found C major: 'Hear that lonesome whistle blow... It sounds too blue to fly...' Just two guitars, a old Martin & a black Gibson, two voices, two former 'gringo's' in another world, far away from there memories, were succes was just a thing... a dyin' item in a world they would forget, a lonely dusty world, with too many 'messin around' on there minds... Then they sang the 'Lovesick Blues' and Sertanejos joined in and again they played there music in a way, so that no one could deny that music and lonelyness, should be the real synthesis. And then when the Sertanejos all ready left in their old truck, the man with the fake name Lucas an de the grey fake gypsy still singing there songs, from 'That's allright Mama' to 'Move it on over', until 'Will the circle be unbroken' make them fall in silence and tears. The next morning Juan awaked in a hammock and ask itself the question: why this world was so complicated? Mysterious. Because music was more important then fame, the fragility of glamour... and here in the wasteland he found his last episode. Here at this pace he would sing 'till the fatal day! But what could he sing in the future, whart would be his goal? New songs were hard to put on paper? Maybe a new love? A stronger 'Love me tender'? The silence was interrupted by the whistling of birds, and faraway he could hear the old man singing 'Weary blues from waitin'', with a voice like a broken chain, a fiddle, a certain melancholic voice with bluesome notes, which made Juan think of negro's on the cottonfields of Mississippi, the labourers at the fields of Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, and the slaves on the Brazilian wasteland.
In a old chair in the corner was seated a old man. He wore a kind of 'Panama-hat', white shirt and old faded jeans; he had a skinny face which showed his skeletal-bones. He had big ears and his mouth was like a thin line. His age, seventy nine. His long skinny fingers were tremblin' while holding a decorated pipe and on his feet he wore black leather sandals. Beside him, on a old table layin' three books: the new Testament, Nostardamus and a book written by Thomas Carlyle.At his feet lay a big grey cat, he called 'Tubb'. 'Bem vindo no minha cabana! Welcome to my cabin!, he said friendly but with a broken voice. Juan walked up to the old man, shook his hand and said: 'I'm Juan Rojo, nice meeting you.' 'Lucas Errante (Luke the Drifter),' replied the old man. 'Gringo? He asked with a grin. Now the conversation was silver-tongued, because the Portuguese of the old man and Spanish of Juan had some paralle's. 'Well... just the way you look at it... sir', said Juan. 'I just came from Venezuela and before that Mexico...' 'And before that? The states? said the old man. But in his mind the question was not essential. Juan turned nervous while sweat danced on his forehead. "Well... there's a clear accent. The South?' asked the old man again in a friendly manner. 'Si senhor... The south, born in Mississippi,' said Juan with a hesitation. Never he had talk about that, but now he couldn't lie. 'And you... sir? Juan asked the old man while tryin' to coloured his Spanisch. 'Damned... I'm a real southerner, at least at birth son... Alabama, my sweet home,' said the old man with sadness in his voice. 'But, don't let us talk about that Juan, we both still talking reasonable English... let us keep it this way John... bothers you when I name you... John?' 'No sir not at all,' Juan responded quite confused. The old man called for Mulungu, his 'mulher', a still beautiful Indian woman, in spite her long and tough 72 years. Her black hair were long and entwined at her elliptical shaped haed. She was named after a butterfly-like tree with red-flamed flowers; a child of the Tamoyo tribe. 'Por favor bring us some booze... meu amor,' said the old man with a high pitched voice. In the meantime Juan couldn't keep his eyes of the lime-wall which was decoraded with some paintings of naked women, climbing snakes and a immitation Gaugin, and a painting of little white lizards, stickin' there like sleeping sugar-diagrams. That wall was also bejeweled with a guitar, hanging on a wooden grip: a old Martin 1947, and that was Juan's object. The old man saw the strong staring of Juan: 'I noticed that you are playing the guitar son?' while looking at his guitarbag. 'Yes sir,' 'May I take a look at that guitar, son? asked the old man. Juan opened his leatherbag and the black Gibson came alive, dusty but respectable, outside a few scratches which she run up during Juans drunken strolls. 'Fine lookin',' said the oldtimer, and touched the black Gibson softly. 'O Senhor... plays also?'' asked Juan na´f and stared passionated at the old Martin on the white wall. 'Music, my son... is my life, it's only life... Now I'm just playing for my soul, my wife, the animals and a few friends... I'm a happy man... son, but also a long gone roving cowboy...' Juan looked at the old man, named himself Lucas Errante and how he could place this old man in his memory. The old singer had a intensive image of the man which was in Juan his backmind. Mulungu brought some fruit juice and a jug of Jacuba, a kind of cachaša, the great brazilian sugarcane booze. Than the old man said calm: 'First let us eat something... i can see you are hungry son... Let's us drink for I can see you are thirsty... and then let's rest a little... for I see you are dead-beaten. After that we shall play our music... John... tonight some of my friends will come over and ... we...play some of our music... WE, I mean, the gypsy's of the notes... John,'
Juan stared at the oldtimer. Was this a indication? Hell! Who played the same music he did in this dessert? Forgtotten biy the saints? At the gates of hell? Could the old man lead him to this mysterious singer? 'Amanha, vou levar o senhor para lß... It's just a 50 miles from here... you know the old singers cabin lies more in the wilderness... way off the road... tomorrow i'll take you there,' said the oldtimer again. That night Juan drunk intensely, while his spirit wandered over lost highways, and back in a time, in fact a period he wanted forget. Moments of fame and fortune, hookers, teddybears, lost loves, just like the lost of his mother and pills. Early next morning he woke up beside Doeria, a sixty-three year old hooker, his company for the last hours. Her fleshy body was naked and he smells the cheap parfume, mixed up with sweat. Her hang-tits were like cow-udders and her buttocks like a grand mauseleum of pulp. Around her eyes where black stains, constructed by make-up who found the way to her copious mouth, so her face was a abstract painting of Salvador Dali and gaved her flabby cheeks a impression of putrecent kaki-fruit. Anyhow she tried to let him screw her, because the night was without potential, and it made her ambitious again. She did all she could to raise his feelings, but he felt himself like almost dead. His cock felt like a dyin' breed, and he felt like a galley-slave of which only the paddles were missing. Water! Fresh sweet water and his guitar, were his only thoughts. In the meantime the good hooker Doeria made her tries to let his willy sing again... what became succesfull after a while... yep, Juan was only human... They make love like rabbits in a hurry, she stood up, get dressed, with a lot of shocking words and asked her money. Juan gaved the podgy Doeria his last dinheiro. He remebered her like a echo, a female ghost out from his onexplainable situation. Right, there's no doubt, she was the woman which dragged him upstairs, the hooker Doeria.
He heard the screaming of Filinho behind the door. It was about time to leave and visit the old singer. Juan his head was a mess, his brains misplaced fragments which were collapsing by each move he made. He cleaned up his Gibson, kissed and embraced her and stumbled downstairs. It was hot outside, like hell, in spite the early hour. The sun was a climbing and the evil spirit would be attacking today. This was the dry Brazilian land. He got in to a old truck which made putterin' sound when it hitted to road. The blue-sky had a nuance, transparent and there was no string which disturbed the blue carpet. The cactuses seemed pale pieces of art, bizarre little trees on the road to hell and beside that road laying bones of rotten animals, the Vulture's buffet. The road was rough with some deep gaps and the oldtimer sung a song wich Juan couldn't understand, something about birds and women, a sad song. When they passed a dry riverbed Juan felt unwell and emptied his stomach. Ten minutes later they passed Sete Coraš˘es. The cabin of the old singer lay one kilometer more to the west, a small house made of clay and painted in pastel blue; beside the cabin was a little coral, decorated with a roof of red tiles with two horses standing in the shade. Two barking dogs welcomed them, when the old truch arrived and the old Filinho was cursing at his old automoblie, he named 'old rusty'. A older woman walked up to them en shook hands with the oldtimer. He introduced Juan and drove off on his old Rust. She showed Juan the way into the cabin where it was simple and comfortable and cool like a shady cave.
Juan moved on together with a gold-digger named Evaristo who owned a little plane. They arrived in the city of Santarem on the big Madeira river. Then he joined with some fortune-hunters and fisherman over te rivers until the city of Itaituba. There he starded hitch-hiking, on trucks, old automobiles and strange colored motorcycles on his way to Bahia, the country of dusty roads, the Brazilian wasteland. This is the barbaric landscape, homeland of the Sertanejo, the occupier who could deal with the harsh climate of sun and dust. The land where the Icˇ-brushes decorate scarves on face and leather outfit of the 'vaquero' the Brazilian northeast cowboy. And in this wild land still strayed the ghost of man like Antonio Conselheiro, the advisor, the messiah who died for the poor of this wasteland, and the ghost of a man named 'LampiÔo', Lampoon, for his gun-barrel coloured fire-red in the shootings. It's no secret that the spririts of these man still wander in the wilderness, and folks say that they are able to find liquefied cactuses, filled up with blood. This were the place where Juan arrived, and where he was noticed by a old Sertanejo, which brought him to a lodge-bar, one of the thousands in this neighbourhood, dark and decorated with old tables, jars, sugarcane-gin and even older hookers, with sparkling faces, red gleaming eyes of hunger and spicy voices, which seem to come from the deepest holes of famelness and sexual fury. What was this gringo doing in this by God forgotten place Pinhua, not far from Cicero Dantas? Was he only here to screw one of the whores? Because here in this by God and the devil forgotten deadland, was nothing to get, or it must be dust and love? No! Thumbs down. Juan Rojo was on his way to Sete Coraš˘es! Why? Well, he had no answer yet, he just wanted to get to Seven Hearts, and it was a force which entered his brains, and in some way even repressed his music. Shovin' aside his music? Goddamned! Fuckin'! Where are the God's who once were angry on him? Where was his guardian-angel? The black man with three fingers who sang the blues for him, that night in a old cabin in Mississippi... and told him to be his protector! His music... No! They may take everything, but not his music! Not his soul! Damned! Suddenly the night fell over the village and a old recordplayer started playing, the music of the Sertanejo, named Modinha. Songs of homesickness, tears of drunken paupers in ragged shirts and jeans, of drunken man hanging against the counter and withered women who'll never be reasonable again, the faded roses of the wilderness. But they were kind and tenderly, like babies in a craddle, and soft like drifting breeze. The people asked Juan to pick up his guitar and play for them. He stared at his black Gibson, painted with red roses. He kissed her and called her Gladys. His Spanisch was just perfect and he had translated old country songs in to Spanish. But the Brazilians understood the mainline of the songs when he sang "Love Tender". The people were listing like they could hear a soft wind blowing from the dessert. Than he sang his favorite song 'I'm so lonesome I could cry', but in English, and even they could not understand the words, they felt the strenght of the melody. The old Sertanejo came unsteadely up to Juan and with quivering hands he served him a 'feijoado', a plate of black beans and pork. They wanted Juan to drink and eat, he was a guest, a special. The Sertanejo, which was a descendent of a slave and Indian mother, told Juan that he knew a man close to Sete Coraš˘es, which played the same music as he did, with the same strange words: 'Sim Senhor... a mesmo que vocÚ!' Yes mister... just like you! 'Com o mesmo gringo lingua!' With the same gringo language! And ain't that strange?
THE MYSTERIOUS MUSICALLY GATHERING AT SETE CORA├ç├öES, BRAZIL by Ramblin' Wayn
Short-story devided in 5 chapters
1 The sun was a-shining like a villain, while Juan Rojo stared at the bleak road, where birds of preys circling full excitement close to the ground, lookin' for lifeless body's. Juan was dressed in a old jean and filthy white shirt, his hair, now with threads of silver, plunged at his shoulder. He was wearing black leather sandals and a rawhide guitarbag balanced at his back. He was sixty-five now and appeared to be a half-gipsy with a beard full of silver strings. This time he came from Caracas, Venezuela, where he lived for the last six years, before that, he stayed, our let me say this more evident, he rambled through Mexico and Guatemala. The reason that he ended up here around Cicero Dantas was a kind of destiny, just like his life always had been. It's a long time since he said farewell to the world in which he had sunk, a irregular world full of fame, fortune and sadness. Away from Memphis, Tennessee. He wanted to live another life, a new and it should be a penitence. He took another name: Juan Rojo, worked on farms, factory's, constructions, was a tramp and played in small immortal bars a long the way. In Guatemala he lived together, just for a while, with a little hooker named Pluta. She reminded him, and this were Juan words, of his mother. But all went wrong and he started drinking, said goodby to Pluta ant went for Caracas, where he lived in region where crime was a passion and booze a normative obsession. But everywhere he went he took along his biggest love, his Gibson 1958, his support and remembrance of the things he always loved. And there was a another thing he couldn't get rid off: his love for music, the blues, country and gospel, the crying of the negro's way down at the lonely bars in the heart of old Memphis, and the spritual voice of big mama Loretta, which sang the words of the lord in that little sunday morning church. There was not a single day he didn't sang "How great thou art", and when he got too sentimental he crossed over to 'That's all right mama', a commitment to the woman he loved mostly. Well, Caracas was a living hell, and one night he got that stoned drunk, he reached a coma and stayed in there for two days, and while laying on his belly he throw up the fat-milk he drunk after two bottles of cheap rum, which assisted him to escape from a definite alcohol-poisoning. Anyway, he woke up in the rotten hotel 'Concordia' and the the first thing he did was looking for his Gibson, his wooden love. Then he saw the cockroaches dancing like ballerinas, while littlle rats racing across the room, over the tear-down sheets of the worn-out bed. It was like a destiny-circus, a world without meanings. He stood up, stumbled to the handbasin, but there was no water, no salvation! Just the horrible smell of a dung-hole, cockroaches and rats! But one of the rats took his attention, when it escaped through a litlle hole beneath the door and he saw the playing-card. It was a 'seven of hearts' with on the edge of the card the words: Bahia, Brazil. 'Amazinly,' he thought. How came this card beneath that door... and who put it there? That was the question! He started thinking, but his brains were a bunch of homeless jelly-fish, but then there was a light; this card m˙st be a sign, a mark to a place? In the Potuguese langue it signifies 'Sete Coraš˘es' or 'Seven Hearts'; a place named Seven Hearts. Right, thats the answer. Many times he looked back at his life, a glorious one, than it became real, surreal, and because of that secrecy was not strange to him. The name on the card fascinated him, so he embraced a new direction.