Carlos Moreira de Castro
"Carlos CachaŤa"


Carlos Cachaça was born on August 2, 1902, the second
son of five other siblings. He was raised on an area
of the city of Rio de Janeiro, today known as Mangueira.
He was neither black, nor white, he was mixed.
His grandmother was an african-brazilian and his
grandfather Portuguese. His father was a railman employee,
which at the time was a job that did not pay much money.

The railway was the heart of the community,
and Mangueira was the first stop of the train line
coming from the center of town. That is why there
was a large community of railway employees living there.

Cachaça's background is easy to trace. He was born
in a modest environment, were people looked for cheap places
to rent in the best location possible. They were descendents
of former slaves, workers, maids and unemployeds.

Carlos lost his mother when he was 16 years old
and was abandonned by his father when he was a child.
Cachaça had a lot of love in his heart and he kept it
for the first one that could deserve it. So what happened
is that one year after his mother died, the person that would
be his best friend for the rest of his life, moved to Mangueira.
His name was Angenor de Oliveira, better known as Cartola,
who is also one of the biggest samba composers from Brazil.
They wrote a lot of music together.

Cachaça was one of the founders of the great samba-school
of Mangueira. Until today he lives on a pink and green house,
(the colors of Mangueira) where he lived with his wife Menininha,
who died several years ago. Cachaça when young, used to
spend lots of time in the streets and bars, singing and composing.
Nowadays he rarely goes out. But he says: "I do not see my old age
going by. It is like when I was young. I am going through it
exactly as when I was younger".

He is a very modest mand an does not talk much about the important
people who use to visit his house. In his sitting room, you can see
a lot of old pictures of famous politicians, artists, diplomats,
international celebrities, etc..

His nick name Cachaça in portuguese means a kind of
Brazilian white rum, and he was called that because he used to
go to musical gatherings every Sunday, and everybody would drink beer,
but he did not like beer so he always asked for "cachaŤa".

His biggest dream: to see his poem and his song lyrics published.
He's the author of more than 64 poems and song lyrics.
He certainly deserves it, because his poems are high quality
poems, and it is a shame that he only had the chance to have
one record released in all these years he is been writting poems
and lyrics. He should be one of the prides of brazilian peetry.
He certainly make us proud to be Brazilians.


From the Los Angeles Times - August 18, 1999

Carlos Cachaça, 97, whose graceful compositions helped
make samba Brazil's most popular music, died in Rio de Janeiro
of penumonia. Cachaça, began composing in 1923, when
samba was still largely unknown. He picked up his nickname
from the cane liquor that animated the late-night samba sessions
at the Mangueira hill shantytown, or favela. His compositions spoke
of life in the favelas, and for that reason were initially frowned on
by much of Brazilian society. Among his best-known works was
"Alvorada" ("Dawn" in Portuguese) written in partnership with the
composer Cartola. It begins: "Dawn on the
hill, such beauty, no onw weeps in sadness, no one feels bitterness."
CachaŤa helped found the Mangueira samba school and lived
to see samba and carnival rise from the shantytowns to be embraced
by mainstream Brazil. He received popular recognition but made little
money from his work.


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