Fun with Tico-Tico

Posted on | Leave a comment
Here’s a song that’s supposed to be very hard for Gringos (and some Brazilians) to sing. It was made famous by Carmen Miranda in the 1940′s. Rent the dvd “Copacabana” with Groucho Marx and see Carment singing this and other classics. Remember that the idea is to HAVE FUN while learning!! DIVIRTA-SE!!!

If you listen to it several times, I’ll bet you can learn at least the first verse and surprise your Brazilian friends!


Por Zequinha de Abreu

Cantada por Carmen Miranda no filme “Copacabana” com Groucho Marx

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.

Mas por favor tira esse bicho do celeiro,
porque ele acaba comendo o fubá inteiro.
Tira esse tico de cá, de cima do meu fubá.
Tem tanta coisa 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 little sparrow is here, it’s here again,
the tico tico is eating my cornmeal.
If that tico tico must feed itself,
let it go eat a few earthworms in the orchard..

But please take this animal out of the granary,
because it will end up eating all the cornmeal
Throw that tico out of here, from on top of my cornmeal.
It has so many things that it can peck at.

I’ve done everything to see if I could.
I threw out birdseed to see if it would eat it.
I let a cat loose, set a scarecrow and a trap,
but it thinks that cornmeal is good food.

Also, listen to these wonderful versions of “Tico Tico” on your computer:

Carmen Miranda:

Great 4-hands version on one guitar:

By flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía:


Posted on | 2 Comments
Trying to learn Portuguese on your own can be a little lonely. How do you get the feedback you need to improve your accent and choice of words? And who’s there to pat you on the back for a job well done when you finally manage to put together a complete sentence?

To help language learners with this need, in 2010 I
organized weekly conversation groups in San Diego,

Grupo de Conversa na praia do
Leme, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

California, and Rio de Janeiro through the
organization Actually, in Rio we
practice both Portuguese and English at the
same time. These groups have been meeting
regularly for a little over two years.

Read more