Tico-Tico no Fubá  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Tico-Tico no Fubá is the title of a renowned Brazilian choro music piece composed by Zequinha de Abreu in 1917. Its original title was Tico-Tico no Farelo, but since Brazilian guitarist Américo Jacomino Canhoto (1889 – 1928) had a work with the same title, Abreu's work was given its present name in 1931.

Choro (literally translated meaning lament) is also popularly known as chorinho in the affectionate diminutive form of Brazilian Portuguese. "Fubá" is a type of maize flour, and "tico-tico" is the name of a bird, the rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis). Hence, "tico-tico no fubá" means "tico-tico in the cornmeal".

The first recording of the work was made by Orquestra Colbaz (Columbia 22029, 1931).

Tico-Tico no Fubá was recorded and made popular internationally by Carmen Miranda (who performed it onscreen in Copacabana (1947)) and Ray Conniff. Another well known recording was made by first lady of the organ, Miss Ethel Smith on the Hammond organ.

A biographical movie by the same title was produced in 1952 by the Brazilian film studio Companhia Cinematográfica Vera Cruz with Anselmo Duarte playing the main role.

The song was also featured in the "Aquarela do Brasil" segment of the Walt Disney film Saludos Amigos (1942) and in Woody Allen's Radio Days (1987). It was also featured in the MGM film Bathing Beauty (1943).

The expression also features in the lyrics to the song O Pato made famous by João Gilberto.

The great flamenco guitarist Paco De lucia performed Tico, tico in 1967 Watch Watch Paco De Lucia Tico tico guitar version



The complete version of Aloysio de Oliveira's original Portuguese lyrics:

O tico tico tá, tá outra vez aqui,
o tico tico tá comendo o meu fubá.
Se o tico tico tem, tem que se alimentar,
Que vá comer umas minhocas no pomar.
O tico tico tá, tá outra vez aqui,
o tico tico tá comendo o meu fubá.
Eu sei que ele vem viver no meu quintal,
e vem com ares de canário e de pardal.

Mas por favor tira esse bicho do celeiro,
porque ele acaba comendo o fubá inteiro.
Tira esse tico de lá, de cima do meu fubá.
Tem tanta fruta que ele pode pinicar.

Eu já fiz tudo para ver se conseguia.
Botei alpiste para ver se ele comia.
Botei um gato um espantalho e um alçapão,
mas ele acha que o fubá é que é boa alimentação.

Loose translation of the original lyrics:

The tico tico is here, it is here again,
the tico tico is eating my cornmeal.
If that tico tico has to feed itself,
it better eat a few earthworms at the orchard.
The tico tico is here, it is here again,
the tico tico is eating my cornmeal.
I know that it comes to live in my yard,
and that it puts on airs like a sparrow and a canary.

But please take this animal off my granary,
because it will end up eating all the cornmeal
Throw that tico out of here, from the top of the cornmeal (heap),
it has so much fruit to eat from.

I have done everything to see if I could,
Threw it canary feed to see if it ate it.
Let a cat loose, and (even) set up a trap,
but it finds cornmeal to be good nutrition.


English version (not a translation):

Oh tico-tico tick!
Oh tico-tico tock!
This tico-tico - he's the cuckoo in my clock.
And when he says: "Cuckoo!" he means it's time to woo;
It's "tico-time" for all the lovers in the block.
I've got a heavy date -
a tête-à-tête at eight,
so speak, oh tico, tell me is it getting late?
If I'm on time, "Cuckoo!" but if I'm late, "Woo-woo!"
The one my heart has gone to may not want to wait!

For just a birdie, and a birdie who goes no-where,
He knows of ev'ry Lovers' Lane and how to go there;
For in affairs of the heart, my Tico's terribly smart,
He tells me: "Gently, sentiment'ly at the start!"

Oh-oh, I hear my little tico-tico calling,
Because the time is right and shades of night are falling.
I love that not-so-cuckoo cuckoo in my clock:
tico-tico tico-tico-tico tock!



This was often performed by the Grateful Dead during their tuning jams which often happened in between songs.

This song was also played as an instrumental by James Booker with the Jerry Garcia Band.

In Quebec the song has been used for several decades in commercials for Sico paint.

The song was recorded by The Andrews Sisters in 1944.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tico-Tico no Fubá" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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