Friday, June 20, 2008

Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho

The tune 'Apanhei-te Cavaquinho' was composed 1915 by Ernesto Nazareth and is considered the second most recorded choro by Nazareth next to his 'Odeon'. Actually, the piece 'Apanhei-te Cavaquinho' is a polca in terms of musical form, but the tune has always been considered a typical choro, as it was adapted early on by choro musicians as part of their standard repertoire. The composition originally was dedicated to the then famous cavaquinho player, Mário Cavaquinho (Mário Álvares da Conceição), a friend of Nazareth and a virtuosic musician, who is said to have invented the five string cavaquinho together with Ary Vasconcelos according to some sources.

'Apanhei-te Cavaquinho' was recorded for the first time by the choro group O Passos no Choro, in 1916. Later, in 1930, the composer himself recorded his solo version at the piano, a great historical document to demonstrate Nazareth's conception of the way his composition was supposed to be performed - the recording may be found at the two-disc anthology by Frémeaux, 'Choro 1906-1947' (FA 166).

In 1943 Ademilde Fonseca recorded a vocal version of 'Apanhei-te Cavaquinho' with words by Darci de Oliveira, a recording that immediately was a success with the public and set the career of Ademilde Fonseca on a successful level. Outside Brasil it may be mentioned that the famous Argentine guitarist and performer, Oscar Alemán, also had a big hit with his instrumental version of 'Apanhei-te Cavaquinho' in 1943.

The title of the composition means in English 'I Got You, Cavaquinho' and reflects a sudden way of performing when playing in a choro ensemble in the early days. It refers to the spirit of choro, malícia - "(...) an attitude of spirited competition in which one musician strives to outwit the other. "Malícia" refers to the choro soloist who enjoyed throwing off his accompanists with unexpected modulations or virtuosic improvisations. It was said, however, that the delight of audiences was even greater when accompanists showed greater malícia by maintaining their cool and playing through the complex sections with panache and finesse." (quoted from T.E. Livingston-Isenhour & T.G.C. Garcia: Choro - A Social History of a Brazilian Popular Music (2005), p. 10).

I found a couple of uploaded video performances of 'Apanhei-te Cavaquinho' inserted below.

The first video features a piano player performing the tune as intended by Nazareth

The next video features Zé Carioca, Donald Duck & Ethel Smith from the 1948 cartoon by Disney, "Blame It On The Samba", which for the first time made Americans aware of Nazareth's music

The last video this time features the version of 'Apanhei-te Cavaquinho' by Armandinho & Yamandú Costa in a live-performance



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Jo.
Other foreign recordings of Apanhei-te Cavaquinho that could be mentioned are:
Edmundo Ros and his Rumba Band(1940s)
Ethel Smith (1940s)
Ivor Moreton and Dave Kaye (piano duo) 1948)
Peter Kreuder (1950)
Emil Coleman (1950)
and many others
Not to mention the Dining Sisters singing the lyrics in English at the "Blame it on the Samba" video you posted
Best wishes

20 June, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you jo reminding us this great melody. I like the Yamandu Costa - Armandinho version very much !!

Keep swinging


20 June, 2008  
Blogger Jo said...

More info on Ernesto Nazareth at the following link, recommended:
According to list of Nazareth's compositions 'Apanhei-te Cavaquinho' was released already 1914 and dedicated to especially Juracy Nazareth de Araújo among others. - The info in my small contribution was based on info taken from


23 June, 2008  

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