Voyage to Vera Cruz

Tajapanema (The Plant of Sadness)

Maguinha and Douglas Lora
Waldemar Henrique and Antonio Tavarnard


I learned this song from my mother, Natercia Pires do Prado, when I was 6 or 7. Written by the great Waldemar Henrique, from Belém do Pará, with lyrics by Antonio Tavarnard, it talks about Tajapanema (the plant of sadness). This plant “weeps” when something bad is about to happen. This song explains what happened to a young girl who left her village on the Coastal boat.  As the legend goes, the manatee comes out of the Amazon River as a seductive and irresistible young man... to steal heart and all-good sense from beautiful innocent girls. 



Tajapanema chorou no terreiro

E a virge morena fugiu no costeiro

Foi boto, sinhá, foi boto, sinhô

Que veio tentar e a moca levou

No tar dançará, aquele doutor

Foi boto, sinhá! foi boto, sinhô!


Tajanema se pos a chorar

Quem tem filha moça é bom vigiar

O boto num dorme no fundo do rio

Seu dom é enorme

Quem quer que o viu

Que diga, que informe, se lhe resistiu

O boto num dorme no fundo do rio



Tajapanema cried in the yard

And the virgin brunette ran off on the boat

It was the manatee, m'am, it was the manatee, sir.

He came to tempt the girl and take her

At the dance by the river, that well-dressed guy,

It was the manatee, sir, it was the manatee, mam.


Tajapanema cried in the yard   

You'd better keep an eye on your young daughters

The manatee doesn't sleep at the bottom of the river

His gift is huge whoever has seen it

Must tell, must inform if it can be resisted.


Maguinha, vocals

Douglas Lora, guitar