The third chosen version of “Mulher Rendeira” is the English translation. After the success of the song in O Cangaceiro in 1953, the song soon became a hit worldwide with versions popping up all over the place. Though it is a little difficult to track down who wrote the first English translation, many seem to attribute the lyrics to Michael Carr and John Turner. The most known version in English was recorded by The Shadows and released in 1962 on their second album Out of The Shadows which reached number 1 in the UK charts:
This English version was also recorded by artists like US country singer Tex Ritter, British big band leader Frank Weir (and his saxophone..) and Chaquito and the Quedo Brass. The interesting thing is to look how the lyrics were translated. Here is a little section of the English version.
I’m the quickest on the trigger, when I shoot I shoot to kill.
I’m a hero down in Rio, where they talk about me still
Once I robbed a big ranchero, who was rich beyond compare.
And to ransom held his daughter, she was young and she was fair.
Compared to the Portuguese original it isn’t exactly translation, more like a complete rewriting. Amongst the Portuguese versions there were also new verses added and differences made but it is interesting to see how the lyrics have been adapted for an English speaking audience with, presumably little knownledge of Brazil at the time. The lyrics are almost as an accompaniment to the film, feeling pretty distant from Lampião’s original:
A pequena vai no bolso, a maior vai no embornal.
Se chora por mim não fica, só se eu não puder levar.
O fuzil de lampião, tem cinco laços de fita.
O lugar que ele habita, não falta moça bonita.
It is from here that the song begins to take on a life of its own, being transformed and reinterpreted by various artists, not to mention how it is heard and thought about differently by audiences around the world in varying contexts.