‘Captain of Sand’: Find out how the song that went viral on TikTok was made

Produced by Kazuza’s father, a 1964 recording of Jorge Amado’s work became a video track for characters like Neymar

“The abandoned boy in Bahia, captain of sands / captain of sands, captain of sands.” The verses of the song “Capitão de Areia”, inspired by the novel by Jorge Amado, have achieved extraordinary success on TikTok.

Here’s an audio clip of a video of a dog hitting a boy or one by ex-player Z Roberto. In another online video, with Neymar’s lookalike, by Marcelo and Iran Ferreira, Lova de Pedrero, the same verses are circulating again.

“I have already recorded about 120 to 200 channels on Youtube doing remixes,” says conductor Agenor Ribeiro, who was appointed by a magazine at the time as a candidate for the new Roberto Carlos.

Originally recorded in July 1964, the composition by Oswaldo Matheus and Zé do Violão had the boy Agenor Ribeiro, at the time 12 years old, sing. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Ribeiro began his career at the age of nine, in Tres Rios, in the interior of Rio de Janeiro, after winning a competition to imitate the Cariquinha clown.

Then, as a child, he began to sing in the clav ensemble, replacing singer Carlos Alberto, who later won the title “King of Bolero” from Chacrínha. It was Carlos Alberto who took the boy Agenor to Rio to record in Philips a single with “Natal de um Menino Pobre” on side 1 and “Capitão de Areia” on side 2.

The production was directed by João Araújo, Cazuza’s father. “He told me he also had a son named Agenor,” Ribeiro says of Kazuza’s real name.

The orchestra, which had flautist Dante Santoro, was arranged and conducted by conductor Guerra-Peixe. “A great character, you see? We worked together later, on MEC Radio. He was a great expression of jazz-leaning music, and a great joke-narrator,” Ribeiro laughs.

Despite the weight team, the agreement was not successful at the time. “Even because the intent was the Christmas song, Phillips delayed pressing the song so much so it was almost never worked on. This even upset my dad, who later terminated the contract,” Ribeiro says.

In 2018, after discovering the song through a DJ friend, DJ Rodrigo Vellutini, who signed to work under the name Afterclapp, also released the song Capitão de Areia in a remix version. One of the releases on Youtube has exceeded 8.1 million views.

“I released my novel and suddenly thousands of plays came from Russia and Ukraine. I didn’t understand anything,” says Velotini.

Success in Russia came after player Marmok used the song at the end of one of his videos. After that, Russian UFC videos started using the theme. “Whunderson Nunes used it on Reels recently, and it’s one of the things that really hit it in vogue in Brazil,” Vellutini explains.

By the way, the Russians have a romantic relationship with Bahian Jorge Amado. Filmed in Salvador in 1969, “The Sandpit Generals” was a hit in the Soviet Union and was cited by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a nod to his childhood.

“I’ve been playing it live, and the audience loves it, singing along with it,” says the DJ, who has played a different version of it, already sampled by many music groups. “For me, there is some magic that resonates with people. I can’t explain it, but there is something that people recognize,” Vellutini assesses.

After enrolling at Philips, Agenor Ribeiro continued his career. “I was singing on Paulo Gracindo’s show, Sundays, on Rádio Nacional.” There, Ellis met Regina, Emelineha Borba and Marilyn. “Before going on stage, we’d just hang out in the hallway and talk,” he says. On TV Excelsior, he appeared on César de Alencar. In Tupi, that was Flávio Cavalcanti.

As a teenager, he played the organ in iê-iê-iê bands, inspired by the Beatles and Jovim Guarda. “At the age of 18, I was hired by CBS to record with Renato and his Blue Hats.” That’s when Renato Barros Ribeiro gave the stage name Marcelo. At the time, he sided with Roberto Carlos in Amiga magazine, along with other artists considered potential replacements for the King.

In 1978, it was part of Caetano Veloso’s “Vamos Romântico” recording, a success with the voice of Roberto Carlos the previous year.

In the version sung by Caetano on the album “Much”, Ribeiro was given the name Agenor Marcelo. “There are no musical instruments, only the sounds accompanying them. I participated as a musician in the choir, and the arrangement was by Bahia doctor Berna Froes,” he recalls.

But Agenor Ribeiro narrowly missed reviving the “Captain of Arya”. In 2020, he contracted Covid-19, fell into an induced coma and was intubated for nine days. As sequelae, he had to remove the gallbladder and develop cataracts.

“It was a lot of suffering. I got to the point where I thought it was easier to die than to exert all this strength to continue to survive,” reveals the maestro, who has lived in Vitoria since retiring from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 2013.

After Covid came the late success with the song he recorded as a boy. “Honestly, I didn’t expect it,” he says. “I’m 70, and after 58, it was a huge surprise to me.” (Lucas Froes/Fulhubers)

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