Bossa Nova Daydreams


New English version of "The Little Boat"

“The Little Boat” (“O Barquinho” in Portuguese) is one of the most popular Bossa Nova standards. I haven’t done the research, but I suspect that just about every bossa nova diva has performed a version of this delightful, happy song. I don’t speak Portuguese, and I wasn’t happy with the exisiting English versions of the song. I wanted a version that would more faithfully represent the orginal lyrics, that would maintain the rhyme scheme and that wouldn’t be too corny. So, I wrote my own version. It’s up to you to decide whether or not I succeeded. Here is my new version, hot off the press. If you like it, use it. And if you use it, I would be glad to hear about it (and glad to hear it as well).

The Little Boat

Bright shiny day, a feast of sun, and a little boat so free, drifting on the soft blue sea.
Summer is high, love is in bloom in a little boat at sea that keeps drifting endlessly.
All on its own our little song is emerging from that sea. And the sun…
Gives the boat a kiss.
Days of deep blue bliss!

Heading for shore, sun’s going down, drifting in a boat so free, singing happy melodies.
Blue is the sky, tropical isles, the little boat just drifts along, a heart sailing on a song.
This atmosphere of peaceful air brings a summer calm upon us and then…
The little boat sets sail.
Twilight bids farewell.

English version by Matthew Marth,
based on the original Portuguese song “O Barquinho”
by Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Bôscoli.

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I knew a better version that fits perfectly, from jhonny alf. I don´t speak english well then i cannot transcript the lyrics, but it´s a wonderful music!

Comment by arnaldojrbrnaldo

I would be interested to see that Johnny Alf version. If you find it, please share.

Comment by Matthew

This is really perfect…I sing this song in Portuguese but the lyrics you’ve created follow the rhythm quite precisely! Well done!

Comment by kristi

Thanks for your kind remarks. I’m glad you like it.

Comment by Matthew

Wow! you are a genius! And you say you don’t speak portuguese? Maybe you don’t have to, with the ability to write like this. If only you’d been doing this in the late fifties, early sixties, you’d be a famous lyricist today.

Comment by saci

A Genius? You’re making me blush. It’s true I don’t speak Portuguese, but I do have a couple of dictionaries and knowing some Spanish and French doesn’t hurt. I don’t know about being famous in the hypothetical past, but I do want to at least do better than some of the cheesey English versions that so many bossa nova songs ended up with (lines like “ah take a look and you’ll see the way I have become and the way things became”). Anyway, thanks for your compliments–that made my day. I hope you do perform my version–I would love to hear it!

Comment by Matthew




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