Um Dia Na Senzala


Song Lyrics

Quem ja foi na Senzala um dia

Sabe me dizer como e

Moendo cana

E socando pilão

Moendo cana

E socando pilão


O negro era escravizado

Sobre o olho do capitão

De dia trabalhava descalco

Com os pes no chão

Moendo cana

E socando pilão


Moendo cana

E socando pilão


Negro sofria na senzala

na vista do coronel

Onde olhava da sacada

Como um raio vem do ceu

Moendo cana

E socando pilão


Moendo cana

E socando pilão


Mas que vida era aquela

Hoje jã não existe mais

Como era ruim ficar

na mira de um capataz


Moendo cana

E socando pilão


Moendo cana

E socando pilão

English Translation

Whoever has been in Senzala

Can you tell you how it is

Grinding cane

And pounding pestle

Grinding cane

And pounding pestle


The blacks were enslaved

Under the watch of the Captain

During the day they worked barefoot

With their feet on the floor

Grinding cane

And pounding pestle


Grinding cane

And pounding pestle


The blacks suffered in the slave quarters

Under the watch of the Colonel

Where he watched from the balcony

Like a ray of lightning from the sky

Grinding cane

And pounding pestle


Grinding cane

And punching pestle


But that was life

Today it no longer exists

How bad it was to stay

under the gaze of a Captain


Grinding cane

And punching pestle


Grinding cane

And punching pestle

History and sentiment behind song

Senzala refers to a slave camp in colonial Brazil.

The word senzala comes from the bantu language Quimbundo (or Kimbundu) which meant dwelling. A Senzala became the name for the houses where the slaves were kept with their families during the hours when they were not working in Brazil. Before the eighteenth century they were called black houses or slave shacks or huts.

They were precarious houses without privacy or luxury of any kind, the only separation was between men and women who were rarely permitted to sleep in the same room. Sometimes they chained the slaves in the senzala to prevent them from fleeing, and there would be guards posted at the door who watched to avoid escape attempts. These guards used to be black, the Capitão do Mato, and they were in charge of persecuting and torturing the slaves.