Girl from Ipanema Revisited

    We were 2 years into the project of re-translating some classic bossa nova tunes by Tom Jobim before deciding that we have to tackle “Garota de Ipanema.” At first reading, the existing translation from Norman Gimbel has a great lilt to it and is reasonably accurate.

    Unlike many translations from the 60’s explosion of bossa nova this song starts by following the order and meaning of the original. The translation also does a wonderful job of replacing the open vowels of Portuguese with the harder sounds of English words.

    But as I looked further, past the first verse, I thought there was a case for more accuracy. Poetry is not easy to translate, and this Gimbel translation is an absolute classic in its own right, but I thought there was something fundamental worth looking at…

    Olha que coisa mais linda, mais cheia de graça,
    í‰ ela menina, que vem e que passa
    Num doce balanço, caminho do mar
    Moça do corpo dourado, do sol de Ipanema, O seu balançado é mais que um poema
    í‰ a coisa mais linda que eu já vi passar .

    Ah, porque estou tão sozinho, ah, porque tudo é tão triste, ah, a beleza que existe
    A beleza que não é só minha, que também passa sozinha
    Ah, se ela soubesse, que quando ela passa, O mundo sorrindo se enche de graça
    E fica mais lindo, por causa do amor

    Chris Slater, a Portuguese translator and keen bossa musician, did a first, literal translation to work from:

    Look, what a most pretty thing, most graceful,
    She is the girl, who comes, who passes with a sweet swing,
    (on the) way to the sea
    Girl of a golden body, from the sun of Ipanema, her sway is more than a poem,
    it’s the prettiest thing that I ever saw go by.

    Ah, why am I so alone, Ah, why is everything so sad? Ah the beauty that exists.
    The beauty that isn’t just mine, That also goes by alone.
    Ah, if she knew, that when she passes by, the world fills with grace, smiling,
    and becomes more lovely, because of love.

    Norman Gimbel chose to return to the opening verse instead of pursuing the full meaning of the second section. This provides some lovely lyrics and rhymes including “But each day when she walks to the sea, she looks straight ahead not at me”.

    When we were working on many Jobim songs we found it necessary to alter the order of the song’s content in order to get the scanning in the right place””and Gimbel’s version is a perfect combination of lyric and tune.

    But I like what Jobim””and more so Vinicius de Moraes””achieved. An acceptance of the beauty of youth, of men desiring a gorgeous woman…but including the loneliness that desire brings…and then knowing that this beauty is not just for men, for this man or this woman, but for all of us…that a young woman’s beauty is part of what makes life worth living.

    I have written some unsuccessful songs, had a poem published and was once runner-up in a UK playwriting competition””so am no authority! What I have done with Chris’ help is to interpret what is actually there and kept re-writing so that the music and lyric join up.

    As a long-time lover of bossa nova I hope this English version adds something to people’s pleasure and respect. Regardless of what I think of the song, “Garota de Ipanema” is full of love, longing, sun and sea””the wonderful bossa nova themes.

    Garota de Ipanema

    Watching so much graceful beauty
    The girl who swings so sweetly’s walking
    As she passes she’s only wanting the sea

    Dark & gold from Ipanema, poetry cannot describe her
    The way she’s swaying – the best of swaying I’ve seen

    Why do I have to be lonely?
    How do we all become so sad?
    Yes she’s a thing of such beauty
    But her beauty’s not there to be owned
    As she’s walking she’s so alone

    Does she know that as she’s walking
    The world is smiling oh so graceful she fills with beauty
    Becoming lovely for love

    Jobim & de Moraes ”“ translated Adam & Slater

     


     

    Article written by Mal Adam

    Mal Adam and Chris Slater have re-translated some Tom Jobim’s songs, which are available on the new CD Nova Jobim from Puratone Recordings. You can listen to selections and buy the CD at http://www.puratone.co.uk. Comments are welcome at mal@puratone.co.uk.

    Tags:

    • Show Comments (1)

    • free dissertation samples writing

      Education
      Your blog is described on the real estate topic which is my favorite one. All the information in this blog shows your creativity in the real estate area.So thanks for putting this kind of information in front of me.

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    comment *

    • name *

    • email *

    • website *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Ads

    You May Also Like

    Cars Brazil

    3.14 Million in 2009: Brazil Has Never Sold So Many Vehicles

    Last year, in Brazil, sales of automobiles, light commercial vehicles, trucks and buses totaled ...

    Pascal Lamy, WTO's director general

    Brazil Calls Latest Round of Global Trade Talks Pointless

    The ministerial meeting in Geneva in the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ...

    Brazilian presidential candidates Lula and Geraldo Alckmin

    Lula’s Electoral Stumble Gives Brazilian Politics New Lease on Life

    The first day of October 2006 will remain in Brazil’s political memory for a ...

    Itamaraty Palace in Brasília

    Brazil’s Foreign Ministry Workers Go on Strike. Up to Four Months Pay Delays

    Career officials of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, known as Itamaraty, in Brazil, have been ...

    As Expected, Brazil’s Key Interest Rate Drops to Still High 15.75%

    Wednesday, April 19, Brazil’s equivalent of the Fed, the Monetary Policy Committee (Comitê de ...

    Beyond City of God

    As if from an Asian swell there has been a rising tide of Brazilian ...

    Cyclone or Hurricane? Brazil Cannot Decide What Hit Her

    While American weather experts analyzing satellites pictures called a Brazilian storm a hurricane even ...

    Money

    Brazil’s Exchange Flow Goes US$ 1.4 Billion into the Red

    Figures disclosed by the Central Bank of Brazil show the balance between the flow ...

    Minister Word to Brazilian Landless: Our Settlement Figures Are Indisputable

    In a note issued Thursday, December 22, the Brazilian Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) ...