Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Without the Atomic Bomb

This is a Villa-Lobos fragment from 1948 entitled "O Trambolho do Mundo (Sem a Bomba Atômica)". The picture - originally from the Arquivo Historico do Rio Grande do Sul - is reproduced on the back of the liner notes of the CD Musica em torno do Modernismo, from the amazing Caixa Modernista book/kit published by Editora UFMG, Sao Paulo, in 2003.

The subtitle means "Without the Atomic Bomb" - a nice dream in 1948 as it is today. I'm not at all sure what Trambolho means - Google translate doesn't seem to know, and I can't make head or tail of the word in various Portuguese language websites.

You wait here - I'll get help!

My friend Wellington Müller Bujokas to the rescue:

This is a hard word to translate, though the meaning is quite simple. I found the following translations in a dictionary: clog; (fig.) hindrance, impediment, burden; bunch (of keys), but I guess the better is to explain. Trambolho is an object that is big, useless and quite troublesome. Think that there's a huge old washing machine in the center of your living room that neither works nor ever will again, and that is there just because there's no other place to put it. For making it worse, you always stumble in its cable. For sure, you'll call it a trambolho. It's a very informal word and it sounds a little awkward, but it's not vulgar.

Thanks for the help, Wellington!

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