Bossa Nova Daydreams

New English version of “Ah!, se eu pudesse”

Here is another one of my new English versions of a Bossa Nova classic. This time I chose the lesser known “Ah!, se eu pudesse” by Menescal and Bôscoli, the same authors that brought us the more famous songs “O Barquinho” (the Little Boat) and “Rio”. As far as I know, there is no other English version of this gem. Check out Lúcio Alves’ recording of the orginal Portuguese version on the 1963 Elenco release entitled “Balançamba”, which is one of my favorite albums. According to Ruy Castro, author of the excellent book “Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World”, Alves was one of the Brazilian singers who influenced the famous João Gilberto.

If I Could Only

If I could only come and find you smiling
and if the day was beautiful as it once was,
the beauty of the day made for the two of us,
when everything surrounding us became a song.

If I could only show you all the flowers
whose choruses sing praises to the growing morning
and fill the streets with fragrance like someone intoning
the loveliest devotions to the rising sun.

If I could only, at the end of the street, find our little boat and take it out to sea!
If all that poetry would come together,
If I could only have that day forever,
If I could find you sitting there serenely,
I’d take you by the hand and we would stroll together,
both looking out to sea and somehow speaking volumes
almost silently.

— English version by Matthew Marth,
based on the original Portuguese version,
entitled “Ah!, se eu pudesse” by Roberto Menescal
and Ronaldo Bôscoli



New English version of "Só danço Samba"
December 1, 2009, 11:23 am
Filed under: lyrics | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t spent much time lately with the stated project of posting about the Divas, but I have spent a fair amount of time creating English versions of several bossa nova classics. Here’s the latest. I suspect there may already be an English version of “Só danço samba”, but I haven’t been able to locate it, so I did my own. I left the Portuguese “Vai vai vai” in there, because I don’t think “go go go” sounds good with the rest—too guttaral. I figure the “vai vai vai” helps keep the Brazilian flavor in any case. If you like it, use it.

I Only Dance the Samba

I dance the samba, but only samba.
Vai vai vai vai vai
I dance the samba, but only samba.

I’ve already twisted all I can,
so please don’t wear me thin
with calypso and cha cha cha.
[alternative 2nd verse:
I’ve danced the twist so much I’m out of breath.
So please don’t bore me stiff
with calypso and cha cha cha.]

English version by Matthew Marth,
based on the original Portuguese version,
entitled “Só danço samba” by Antonio Carlos Jobim and
Vinicius de Moraes


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