Faroeste Caboclo

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"Faroeste Caboclo"
Single by Legião Urbana
from the album Que País É Este
Released 1987
Format 12"
Genre Folk rock, hard rock
Length 9:03
Label EMI-Odeon
Writer(s) Renato Russo
Producer(s) Mayrton Bahia
Legião Urbana singles chronology
"Faroeste Caboclo"
"Eu Sei"

"Faroeste Caboclo" (English: Caboclo western) is a song composed by Renato Russo and recorded by Brazilian rock band Legião Urbana. Written in 1979, the song was released in 1987 in the album Que País É Este.[1]

The song is a lengthy ballad, in the vein of Bob Dylan, that tells the story of João de Santo Cristo, a poor man from the Brazilian Northeast who moves to Brasília in search of a better life, gets involved in drug trafficking, briefly abandons the life of crime for the love of a woman and is finally murdered by a rival.[1]

Despite its unusual characteristics for a folk song (168 different lines, no chorus and 9 minutes of playing time), "Faroeste Caboclo" was a smash hit.

It is widely regarded as a Brazilian rock classic. A film adaptation was released in 2013.[2][3]


The music starts with the introduction of João do Santo Cristo and his twisted childhood. João lost his father, murdered by a soldier (it is unclear if was the Military Police or the Brazilian Army, since the music was written during the Brazilian Military Dictatorship) and, while growing up, he got himself flirting with the criminal life, stealing the "donation money" of the church, having sex with all the girls of the city and, when he was 15 years old, he was sent to a correctional facility, where he started to think about the discrimination against his social condition and his skin color.

João's main history starts when he is released of the correction facility and decides to leave his city, searching for a better life. He bought a ticket to Salvador, Bahia and there, he sat in a coffee shop and met a cowboy, who gives him a bus ticket to Brasília, DF because he (the cowboy) needed to visit his daughter and therefore, he would lose his trip. João readily accepted the ticket and entered in the bus to the city. When arriving, he got really impressed with all the Christmas' lights and decided to get a job around the "New Year's Eve". He started working as a carpenter in Taguatinga, DF and spent all his money partying around the city. In one of these parties, he met his "bastard" cousin - a Peruvian man named Pablo who lived in Bolivia - who was planning to start a business.

João worked hard as a carpenter, but his wage was too low even to his subsistence and decided to take Pablo as a role model, started to plant and sell marijuana and in a short time, he ruined every drug dealer in the city. With his "drug lord" persona, he met a lot of people, but he was caught stealing and went to state prison where he was brutally beaten and raped and these facts increased his anger towards the world. João's prison time made him a very fearless, dangerous man, who struck fear in the whole region of Brasilia. But his world was turned upside down when he met Maria Lúcia, a beautiful young girl who made him regret about his crime life. He promised her his heart, left the crime life, got back to carpentry and said that he wanted to get married and have a child with her.

One day, a very wealthy man came with a very shady job proposal to João. He refused it, saying that he wasn't going to bomb anywhere neither protect powerful, but coward men. The wealthy man was very angry and threatened João, saying that João "just lost his life". One day, he skipped his work and got drunk, only to know that he was replaced in his job. That enraged João, who turned to Pablo and got an association with him. Pablo would bring the drugs from Bolivia and João would sell them in Planaltina.

João activities enraged Jeremias, a very influent drug lord, who gave parties filled with Rock 'n' Roll, girls and marijuana, who saw João as an intruder in his turf. Jeremias decided to kill João and when João discovered this, asked Pablo for a gun and Pablo gave to João a Winchester .22 rifle. But João decided to wait Jeremias make the first move to use his gun.

João activities also made him leave his home for a long time. Feeling homesick and missing Maria Lucia, he returns home, only to find out that Jeremias married her and got her pregnant. That was the last straw for João and he called Jeremias out for a duel the very next day at 2:00pm in Ceilândia planning to kill both Jeremias and Maria Lúcia, who he saw as a traitor. Somehow, the word got out and even the TV broadcast the news about their duel.

At the duel's place, crowded with people who saw the news on the TV, Jeremias shot João in the back and João, feeling the blood down the throat and looking to all the spectators, started to remember his childhood and decided that he was not going to lose easily. Then, in a twist of fate, Maria Lucia brought João's Winchester .22 and gave it to him. João called Jeremias a coward for shooting him in the back with no chance of defense and shot him (Jeremias) five times. Maria Lúcia dies in the gunfight, at João's side and all the crowd claimed João was the winner of the duel and said that João was a saint, just because he knew how to die.

Film version[edit]

A movie based on the song was produced with screenplay by Marcos Bernstein, Victor Atherino and Paulo Lins.[1] The film stars Fabrício Boliveira as João de Santo Cristo and Ísis Valverde as Maria Lúcia. Antônio Calloni, Marcos Paulo, Rodrigo Pandolfo and Felipe Abib also co-star in the film.[4] Initially scheduled to a November 2012 release, it was postponed to May 2013.


  1. ^ a b c Ney, Thiago (2007-02-15). "Renato Russo inspira filme com ares de tragédia greco-brasileira" (in Portuguese). Folha Online. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  2. ^ Dapieve, Arthur (2000). BRock - o rock brasileiro dos anos 80. São Paulo: DBA. ISBN 85-7234-253-2. 
  3. ^ Júlio Naves Ribeiro (2005). "De Lugar Nenhum a Bora Bora - Identidades e froteiras simbólicas nas narrativas do "rock brasileiro" dos anos 80" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  4. ^ Fonseca, Rodrigo (2011-04-23). "Filmagens de 'Faroeste Caboclo', saga do anti-herói criado por Renato Russo, movimentam Brasília" (in Portuguese). O Globo. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 

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