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

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