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Se Me Agiganto

I’d like to thank Heike Dio who commented under a recent post about the Dulce Pontes / Moonspell collab. She suggested I have a look at the Linda Martini performance on Antena 3 with Ana Moura on guest vocals. It’s good: very stylish and original, so I’m really glad to have it on my YouTube music playlist. I must say, I still prefer the chaos energy of the Dulce Pontes one though. I’ve been watching that at least once a day since I first found it. Here is Heike’s recommendatiin though, and I’ll try and translate the lyrics underneath because that’ll help me understand it.

If I Grow*

Espero que te venha o sono /I hope sleep comes to you
Que te deites cedo, antes de eu chegar /That you go to bed early before I arrive
Que isto de ser dois, longe do plural /Because this thing of being a couple, far from being plural
É tão singular /Is so singular

Paredes de empena / Gabled walls
Já nem vale a pena /It’s not even worth it any more
Resta-nos arder / Now it’s time for us to burn
Que esta chama lenta /Because this slow flame
Já virou tormenta** / Has become a firestorm
E ao entardecer / And as it gets late

Ninguém me diz / Nobody told me
O que há depois de nós / That there was something after us
E se depois de nós / And that after us both
Os dois me Agiganto / I’ll grow.

Eu já fui embora / And i left
Já marquei a hora / And i marked the time
Pra não me atrasar / So as not to be late
Já comprei bilhete / i bought a ticket
Deixei-te um bilhete / i left you a ticket
E a descongelar / And once thawed out
Os restos de ontem / Yesterday’s leftovers
Dão pra o jantar / Will be enough for dinner

Ninguém me diz / Nobody told me
O que há depois de nós / That there was something after us
E se depois de nós / And that after us both
Os dois me Agiganto / I’ll grow.

*=Agigantar literally means become a giant, but with that little reflexive pronoun, it becomes a verbo pronomial meaning “get bigger” so “grow” seems like a better translation.

**=Tormenta looks like it ought to mean “torment”. It actually means “storm” but I translated it as firestorm because a flame becoming a rainstorm doesn’t seem right.

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It’s hard to think of two musical. Genres that would be harder to turn into a crossover performance than Fado and Death Metal. And yet, if you think about it, is it that surprising a combination? They both deal in heavy stuff like death and despair, everyone’s wearing black and it’s all guitar-based (albeit a different kind of guitar). Fado is usually more subtle of course, but could it ever work? Well, here’s Dulce Pontes and Moonspell coming to test the theory at the Play Awards a few days ago.

It starts out with her singing fado and him not really able to keep up, and they go along together for a while, but by the end she’s pretty much reigning supreme over goth metal and he still can’t really keep up. The bit right at the end where he roars and she shrieks, but she can keep up the shrieking about four times as long as he can keep up the roar so he’s just left there staring at heaven from whence God’s vengeance cometh while she’s still belting out the same note. No prisoners taken!

The song they’re singing at the start is “Porque”, from Dulce’s latest album, and it’s based on a poem by Sophia De Mello Breyner Andresen. It’s expressing admiration for another person’s bravery and independence of spirit (“because others wear a mask but you don’t, because others use their virtue to pay for what can’t be forgiven – because others are afraid and you aren’t”) After the beat drops at about the half way mark, they’re onto Moonspell’s “In Tremor Dei“* which is a doom laden song about the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake “Lisbon in flames – a lantern lit, when a city falls another empire arises…” On the face of it, the two songs don’t seem to go well together, but the segue works because of the lyrics: at the end of the second verse of the fado, they sing together “porque os outros se calam mas tu não” – “because others keep quiet but you don’t.” Cue drums, guitar, crowd chanting and first pumping. Epic.

There were some other crossovers at the same show, like one between Nenny and Ana Moura, or between Camané, Agir and the Ukrainian Orthodox Choir, all good in their own ways of course, but this one is by far the most epic.

I’ve got tickets to see a Dulce Pontes concert that was delayed from last November to this November and I’m hoping she brings these lads with her now.

*Don’t panic if you’re struggling to translate the title – it’s Latin, not Portuguese!

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Dia De S Receber

I have been listening to other Xutos and Pontapés songs after getting over my mental block with A Minha Casinha the other day, I like this one: Dia de S Receber. I’m not a catholic so the title is a little bit alien to me, but saints’ days seem to be more of a thing in Portugal than they are in britain, at least if my Twitter feed is anything to go by. the S in the title is short for Sao (“Saint”) so São Receber means “Saint Receive” and that means o Dia de Sao Receber is payday, right? I’m not wrong about that am I? I hope not or this translation is going to be a right old mess….

This is the best kind of video, by the way: It has the lyrics appearing as part of the video, not just as inaccurate subtitles, which is really helpful for us learners. If you want to find out more about them you shouldn’t find it hard: there’s loads of their stuff on Youtube, on Spotify and all the usual places. I’m sort of intrigued by a book I came across on bertrand’s website too: there’s a comic book about them with a free CD. It’s part of a series including eight well-known portuguese bands. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it but I might bung it in the basket next time I’m shopping for books, I shouldn’t be doing any such thing of course, because I’m on a book-buying ban, but it’s nearly my birthday so I might just treat myself.

Dia de S receber

Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiii a minha vida / Oh my life!
Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiii a minha vida / Oh my life!
Embora falar da arte / Let’s talk about art
Da arte de sobreviver / About the art of survival
Daquela que se descobre / Of what we find out
Quando não há que comer / When there’s nothing to eat
Há os que roubam ao banco / There are those who rob banks
Os que não pagam por prazer / Those who don’t pay for pleasure
Os que pedem emprestado / Those who borrow money
E os que fazem render / And those who earn money
Este dia a dia é duro / This day-to-day is hard
É duro de se levar / It’s hard to get up
É de casa pró trabalho / It’s from house to work
E do trabalho pró lar / And from work to home
Leva assim uma vida / A life could get taken up that way
Na boínha* sem pensar / Fair enough if you don’t think about it
Mas há-de chegar o dia / But the day has to come
Em que tens de me pagar / When you have to pay me
Ai é o dia / Oh** it’s the day
De S. Receber / The day of São Receber
Dia de S. Receber / Day of São Receber
Já não chega o que nos / It’s not enough what
Tiram à hora de pagar / They take from us on payday
É difícil comer solas / It’s difficult to eat
Estufadas ao jantar / stewed shoe soles for dinner
De histórias mal contadas / By badly-told stories
Anda meio mundo a viver / Half the world is living
Enquanto o outro meio / While the other half
Fica à espera de receber / Are waiting to get paid
Ai é o dia / Oh it’s the day
De S. Receber / The day of São Receber
Dia de S. Receber / Day of São Receber
Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiii a minha vida / Oh my life!
Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiii a minha vida / Oh my life!***
É assim esta diálise / That’s how it is, the dialysis****
Entre o deve e o haver / between owing and having
Sei que para o patrão custa / I know it’s hard for my boss
Enfrentar este dever / to face this duty
O dinheiro para mim não conta / Money doesn’t count for me
Eu trabalho por prazer / I work for pleasure
Mas o dia que eu mais gosto / But the day I like the best
É o dia de S. Receber / Is the day of São Receber

* You won’t find boínha in the dictionary. It’s just a diminutive though: Na boa + inha = na boínha. Ciberdúvidas says it shouldn’t have an accent but this is how I found it on the lyrics page so I’m leaving it in.

**Ai is an exclamation like “Oh!”, not to be confuised with “Aí” which means “There”. If you look at the video, it’s the same word he’s shouting at the beginning and in the middle as “AAAAAAAAIIIIII”

*** In the video, when he gets to the middle of the song at the second round of “AAAAAAAIIIIIII” etc, he adds a couple of extras in: first, a nursery rhyme called “Atirei o pau ao gato” (“I threw the stick at the cat”) which has been criticised for cruelty to animals (I wrote a blog post about this ages ago but it’s pretty much what you’d expect from people who have nothing better to do than to closely analyse nursery rhymes). Secondly, there’s a bit of swearing: “A puta da minha vida” – “My bitch of a life”, which seems to be quite a common expression. For a start, it’s used in the title of this very good collection of essays by Miguel Esteves Cardoso, which I read a few years ago when I was at B1 level and even then found very easy to read and very funny.

**** Weird word choice, this. According to Priberam it really does only have that medical meaning. I wondered if it was a misprint – maybe some other word meaning “dichotomy” or “dualism” or something but it’s right there in the video, so I asked Mrs L about it and she says yeah, it does just seem to be that idea some idea that there’s a medical procedure required to separate out the money owed and the money you have.

Posted in English, Portuguese


Here’s a corrected text from a couple of days ago with some additional notes. The theme is this weird new Mad-Libs policy about refugees that the British government came up with just before Easter and then were shocked… shocked! – when every vicar in the land used their easter sermons to say it wasn’t what Jesus would have done.

Pensei em escrever sobre a nova política do partido conservador face à imigração de refugiados mas é tão ridículo que, contado, ninguém acredita. A questão da imigração e dos refugiados (não são iguais mas são semelhantes até certo ponto) é complicado e cada país tem de pensar bem antes de fazer uma política que passa a prova de justiça e de compaixão, mas o nosso governo não se importa.

Amazingly this text didn’t need any corrections (it’s not often that happens!) but Dani told me more about the phrase “Contado Ninguém Acredita”. I only know it from the Deolinda song

… But it’s also the Portuguese translation of the name of the American movie “Stranger than Fiction”.

It’s usually said as part of a larger expression “Isto só visto porque contado ninguém acredita” which basically means “You have to see it to believe it. There used to be a TV series in the nineties called Isto Só Vídeo which was a sort of Portuguese equivalent of those cheap shows where people send in their home videos of terrible disasters – falling off bikes or getting whacked in the face by a swing or whatever – and you wonder how long they had to spend on A&E to bring the nation 30 seconds of amusement. I’m thinking of Jeremy Beadle because my cultural references are very out of date but I’m pretty sure they are still a thing now and of course YouTube is full of them. Anyway here’s what it looks like.

How’s that? I’ve gone from the refugee crisis to Jeremy Beadle in 5 paragraphs. Not bad eh?

Posted in English, Portuguese

Primavera – Amália Rodrigues

Well, I mentioned it’s spring here in the northern hemisphere, so here’s my attempt at a translation of Primavera. I can’t find any videos of Amália singing it but I’ll drop a live recording of Mariza’s version here for those who don’t know it.

Ai funesta Primavera!

Todo o amor que nos prendera /All the love that had stuck to us
Como se fora de cera /As if it were wax
Se quebrava e desfazia /Broke apart and disintegrated
Ai, funesta Primavera! /Oh terrible spring!
Quem me dera, quem nos dera /If only I, if only we
Ter morrido nesse dia /Had died on that day
Ai, funesta Primavera /Oh terrible spring
Quem me dera, quem nos dera /If only I, if only we
Ter morrido nesse dia /Had died on that day

E condenaram-me a tanto /And they condemned me so much
Viver comigo o meu pranto / To live with myself and with my mourning
Viver, viver e sem ti / To live to live without you
Vivendo sem no entanto / But living without
Eu me esquecer desse encanto /forgetting that enchantment
Que nesse dia perdi / That I lost in that day
Vivendo sem no entanto / But living without
Eu me esquecer desse encanto /forgetting that enchantment
Que nesse dia perdi / That i lost on that day

Pão duro da solidão / The stale bread of loneliness
É somente o que nos dão / Is all the give us
O que nos dão a comer / What they give us to eat
Que importa que o coração / What does it matter if the heart
Diga que sim ou que não / Says yes or no
Se continua a viver / If it keeps on living
Que importa que o coração /What does it matter if the heart
Diga que sim ou que não / Says yes or no
Se continua a viver /If it keeps on living

Todo o amor que nos prendera /All the love that had stuck to us
Se quebrara e desfizera / Broke apart and disintegrated
Em pavor se convertia / It converted itself into dread
Ninguém fale em Primavera /Nobody talk about spring
Quem me dera, quem nos dera / If only I, if only we
Ter morrido nesse dia / Had died on that day
Ninguém fale em Primavera /nobody talk about spring
Quem me dera, quem nos dera / If only I if only we
Ter morrido nesse dia / Had died on that day

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Lisboa Não é Hollywood

Here’s an attempt at translating the song “Lisboa Nao é Hollywood” by Os Azeitonas. It doesn’t seem to haave a translation on lyricstranslate so I thought I’d make one. Seems like quite a simple song but it’s really, really tricky!

Chega Cândida de capeline 
Cândida arrives wearing a capeline*
Como ela respira saúde**
She's glowing with health
Quase que parece a Marilyn
She almost looks like Marilyn
Ao chegar*** a Hollywood
On her arrival in Hollywood
Mas sem tapetes encarnados
But with no red carpets
Sob os seus pés de dama
Under her ladylike feet
Os seus sapatinhos delicados
Her delicate little shoes
Apenas pisam na lama
only step in the mud
Lisboa é paleio de Aljube****
Lisbon is well known to criminals
Por entre ruas, esquinas
Among its streets and corners
Também tem suas colinas, mas
It has its hills too, but
Lisboa não É Hollywood
Lisboa isn't Hollywood
Lá vai Cândida a correr atrás
There goes Cândida, chasing
Seu peito diz sorria
Her spirit***** says smile
Mas nos seus dentes nunca brilha o flash
But the flash of a photograph has never
Da fotografia
Lit up her teeth
Lá vai Cândida a mandar beijinhos
There goes Cândida, blowing kisses
Com o seu jeito rude
In her rude way
Como quem atalha caminho
Like someone taking a shortcut
Para chegar a Hollywood
To arrive in Hollywood
Lisboa é paleio de Aljube****
Lisbon is well known to criminals
Por entre ruas, esquinas
Among its streets and corners
Também tem suas colinas, mas
It has its hills too, but
Lisboa não É Hollywood
Lisboa isn't Hollywood
Como ela cai na trama
How she falls into the trap******
E vai esbanjando******* virtude
And squanders her virtue
Pelo passeio da fama mas
On the walk of fame, but
Lisboa não É Hollywood
Lisboa isn't Hollywood
Olha Cândida na solidão
Look at Cândida, all alone
De capeline, rouge e baton
In her Capeline, rouge and lipstick
Não foi parar ao panteão
She didn't end up in the pantheon
Morreu na vala comum
She died in the gutter
Lisboa é paleio de Aljube****
Lisbon is well-known to criminals
Por entre ruas, esquinas
Among its streets, and corners
Também tem suas colinas, mas
It has its hills too, but
Lisboa não É Hollywood
Lisboa isn't Hollywood

* = It’s a kind of hat apparently. Never heard of it!

**=Respira Saúde = Literally “breathes health” so visibly healthy, confident and in good form, not just “is healthy”. Researching this on the web, there’s some use of it in a more loreal way, meaning “breathing in a healthy way”, eg giving up smoking, but it is used as an expression too.

*** = I wrote about this “Ao + infinitive” construction a couple of months back and I seem to have seen it everywhere since.

**** = This line is a real enigma. The word aljube with a small letter can be a dark prison or a cavern. The fact that it’s written with a capital letter in all the sources I can find seems to imply that it’s a reference to A Cadeia do Aljube, which was the name of a prison (cadeira) that has been in existence since the peninsula was colonised by the muslim imperialists in the 8th century. The name Aljube comes from the arabic for a well. After the reconquista, its use changed but certainly by the twentieth century it was being used for political prisoners of the fascist Estado Novo, and had a pretty terrible reputation. These days, it’s a museum of resistance and liberty. “Paleio” means gossip or small talk, so the sentence “Lisboa é paleio de Aljube” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. My wife didn’t know what they were driving at. I asked around on reddit and had four different replies, all different. The two closest guesses were along the lines of “a rumour in the prison”, meaning it was something lowlifes and criminals talk about, which is why I’ve translated it as “well known to criminals” but others have suggested “A trick in a cavern”, or even “pillow talk” (because Aljube can also mean alcove, and “de alcova” in Brazilian Portuguese can imply something relating to sex). Meh, its slightly odd that there’s a lyric like this that no two listeners can agree on the meaning, but there are plenty of songs on English that are obscure and ambiguous so I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised!

***** = Not sure about this one either. “her chest says smile” just sounds weird but one of the lesser meanings of peito is “ânimo” so I’m interpreting it as she’s making an effort of will to smile…? But at least one of the people who replied to my question about paleio said that there was an implication that Cândida is a prostitute so maybe there’s some sort of implication that people are smiling at her cleavage…?

****** = Another iffy one: Trama can be a thread, either literal or in the sense of a unifying plot-line of a book (in fact, I think I used it in a a book review a couple of days ago!) or even a tram line. I wondered if we were supposed to imagine her literally tripping on a tram track but it didn’t seem to fit well with the next line.

******* = fantastic! I only learned this word a week or two ago, doing one of Paulo Freixinho’s old crosswords and here it is again!

By the way, I see Os Azeitonas are candidates for this year’s Eurovision but they’ve come down a long way since they lost their most talented dude, Miguel Araújo, and the song is vanilla AF.

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The First Rule of Bruno Club

My daughter is currently obsessed with the new Disney Film, Encanto, so she’s listening to different language versions of the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”. There are a couple of Portuguese versions of it, but of course Brazilian Portuguese is usually more common. This is the European version (lyrics only, from the official accounts so as not to risk them dropping of YouTube before you see this)

And the Brazilian

You can have fun spotting the differences between them. Just a quick warning though, in case you haven’t seem the film, it’s about a Colombian family and even the English version has Spanish words in it. They probably blend in better in Portuguese, but “Mi Vida” is Spanish for example. The noun sounds like Portuguese but the possessive pronoun gives it away; and Abuela isn’t a name, it’s Spanish for Avó. Those are the only ones I can remember off the top of my head but I might be missing one of two, so keep your wits about you.

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Toy Story – Com Diogo Cabeça-de-Batata

No texto de ontem falei do vídeo do Diogo Bataguas/Batuta/Batman/QualquerCoisa*. Mas não mencionei a maior estrela do vídeo, o Toy. Para ser sincero, nunca antes tinha ouvido falar desse senhor, mas andei à procura de vídeos das músicas dele. Parece que é boa música de festa mas não senti me uma grande pulsão* em comprar os seus álbuns.

Mas percebo o génio de contratar um cantor famoso daquele estilo de música para gravar o tema duma rubrica dum programa televisivo.

*=in the original version of yesterday’s text, I got Diogo Bataguas’s name wrong and called him Diogo Batuta.

**=not really the right word. I’m reading a book that has Sigmund Freud as one of its characters and he uses this word – it means an urge, in the psychological sense. It would have been better to say something like “não me senti compelido a comprar…”

Thanks to Dani for the grammar corrections. She’s also given me some factual corrections which I’ll pass along so as not to give the wrong idea:

The video is a web series, not a TV show. Diogo Bataguas is “um moço singelo” (a simple, innocent lad) who asks for contributions from his fans in order to be able to pay his team – namely, Sandro, who is always hungry

Toy doesn’t just sing party songs as I’ve described here, he also does emotional ballads and TV soap opera theme songs but he’s also known for being an interesting personality. He gave away tickets to his wedding to random fans and he… Invented a style of driving with his knees…? Speaking as a cyclist, this doesn’t exactly endear me to the bloke, to be honest, but apart from that he seems OK. One fellow learner told me (s)he had met him in a seafood restaurant in Azeitão and he had spoken warmly and at great length of his love for Canadian audiences. Telling this story later, (s)he found out that virtually everyone who has ever been to any restaurant in Azeitão has had a similar experience because he is “um senhor bastante gregário”.

He wasn’t hired to do the song, (it’s at about 7:55 in the video I linked to yesterday) Bataguas just mentioned he’d like to get Toy to sing it and fan pressure did the rest.

Some examples of his work:

Party music


Knee driving

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Come+A’s you are

Closely related to the post about vir and chegar: what’s the difference between “vir a saber” and “vir saber”? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Vir a saber, as you’ll know if you read “The Spy Who Chegged Me” is a way of saying that you came to know something, perhaps in a slightly roundabout way, by chance, but the light dawned and then you knew.

Vir Saber is more like “I came to find out”.

This is good because I had been wondering how to interpret a line in one of the poems (it’s a song, actually) that I learned a week or two back. the people in the next room either “finally got to know about us” or “came to find out about us”. Well, now I know so here we go with a translation of the whole thing

Bem te avisei, meu amor
Que não podia dar certo
Que era coisa de evitar
I gave you fair warning, my love
That this wasn’t going to turn out well
And it was something best avoided
Como eu, devias supor
Que, com gente ali tão perto
Alguém fosse reparar
Like me, you have to suppose
That with people so nearby
Someone was going to notice
Mas não
Fizeste beicinho
E como numa promessa
Ficaste nua para mim
But no
You made a pouty face
And as if in a promise
Got naked for me
Pedaço de mau caminho
Onde é que eu tinha a cabeça
Quando te disse que sim
Bit of a wrong turn
Where was my head at
When I said yes to you
Embora tenhas jurado
Discreta permanecer
Já que não estávamos sós
Although you had sworn
To remain discreet
Since we weren’t alone
Ouvindo na sala ao lado
Teus gemidos de prazer
Vieram saber de nós
Hearing in the room next door
Your moans of pleasure
They came to find out about us
Nem dei pelo que aconteceu
Mas mais veloz e mais esperta
Só te viram de raspão
I didn’t even know what had happened
But being faster and smarter
They only caught a brief glimpse of you
A vergonha passei-a eu
Diante da porta aberta
Estava de calças na mão
I went through the shame
In front of the open door
With my trousers in my hand

It’s great isn’t it! Lots of really good stuff in there. The one line that I really had trouble understanding was the first line of the last stanza “A vergonha passei-a eu” which seems like he’s saying “I passed her the shame” as if he were trying to blame it all on the girl, but that doesn’t make sense for all sorts of reasons. The “-a” on the end of passei is actually referring to “a vergonha”. So it’s like “The shame, I passed through it”. Normally in conversation you’d say “passei pela vergonha” but poetic license applies. Here’s the full thing. I’ve probably posted it on here before but I just love it so much it’s worth repeating.

Posted in English, Portuguese

Buarque Ode

I’ve really got quite evangelical about this Chico Buarque song, you know. I insist that everyone should learn Portuguese so they can appreciate its greatness. Here’s something I wrote about it in WritestreakPT, and this probably won’t be the last time I mention it either!

Acabo de ler um capítulo do meu livro (“Idiotas Úteis e Inúteis” de Ricardo Araújo Pereira) no qual o autor descreve uma canção do cantor brasileiro Chico Buarque chamada “Construção”. A letra da canção tem um ritmo ligeiramente diferente do que o padrão. Porquê*? Seguindo o Ricardo, é por causa de… Hum… uma palavra desconhecida. Ainda por cima, mal consegui pronúnciá-la! Estava a ler na cama e o dicionário na mesa de cabeceira também a desconhecia, portanto tive de aguardar até hoje de manhã.

A palavra era “Proparoxítono”**. Significa que a palavra tem o acento tónico na antepenúltima sílaba. Todas as palavras de cada linha são proparoxítonas. Em resultado disso, a canção soa muito diferente de qualquer outra canção portuguesa que já ouvi.
Que colheita boa! Num único capítulo, aprendi uma nova palavra, ouvi falar duma nova canção (que é mesmo bonita – acreditem!) e ganhei um novo ponto de vista sobre a língua.

* miraculously the corrector found only one single error in this entire thing except that they thought this should change to “por quê?”. This surprised me a bit because explanations of the various types of por/que usually have only 3 forms and “por quê” is not one of them. According to ciberdúvidas it can be used if you are asking “for what?” but it doesn’t mean “why” according to Elsa Fernandes’s book so at the risk of sounding arrogant, I don’t think the corrector was quite on the mark here. [UPDATE – A better corrector came along and agreed that yes, I was right about Porquê, but they have also pointed out some other mistakes which I have since corrected in the text above. It wasn’t terrible…]

** Amazingly there is a second word for this. Two words meaning “having the accent on the antepenultimate syllable”! It’s like the Eskimos and snow! The other word is Esdrúxulo.

And finally if you’re wondering what you call words that have the stress on the final or penultimate syllable they are oxítono and paroxítono respectively.