…“what’s it like in New York City? I’m a thousand miles away but girl tonight you look so pretty.” It had been a while since I last heard this cute song by the Plain White T’s, but this week I turned the radio on and there it was, with its soft and sweet melody. It occurred to me that I’ve been listening a lot to a Brazilian song with the same girl’s name: “Cadê Dalila?”. It’s a song written by Carlinhos Brown and sung by Ivete Sangalo. It was a Carnival hit last year and will, for sure, be also played a lot this Carnival in Brazil.
Though both songs are about Delilah, they talk about different things – The Plain White T’s song is a love letter to a girlfriend who is miles away. Ivete says in her blog that the nonsense “Cadê Dalila?” is about “a woman who can foresee a very positive and joyful future” – but who is Delilah, anyway?
Like Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah are characters in a love story that ends in tragedy. Samson was a biblical hero known for his enormous physical strength. He was one of the six judges of Israel. Delilah was his lover, who betrayed him and led him to death. She got a tempting proposal by the lords of the Philistines, Samson’s enemies – if she found out the secret of his strength, each one of them would give her eleven hundred pieces of silver. She asked Samson about it again and again. After much insistence she finally found the source of his extraordinary strength – his hair.
Delilah told Samson’s secret to the lords of the Philistines and his hair was cut off while he slept. As a result of her betrayal, the name Delilah is often associated with infidelity, with a woman who does not worry about hurting others to get what she wants. Delilah is a Hebrew name and actually means weak, docile, and poor. Even Ross and Rachel, from the TV series Friends, consider naming their daughter Delilah. They changed their minds after Rachel cae to the conclusion she sounded “like a Biblical whore”.
The famous couple has been featured in several movies and, especially Delilah, in several songs. Chuck Berry sings “sweet as apple pie, always gets a second look from fellas passin’ by” in “Beautiful Delilah”. Freddie Mercury shows his love for his kitten in a song named “Delilah”. Whether it’s a song about love or betrayal or a Brazilian Carnival hit, Delilah is undoubtedly a source of much inspiration. Powerful, isn’t she?