The following translations of Brazilian song-texts into English by Tim Clarke (German: Frank Alva Buecheler) should not be taken as literal,word-for-word and musically correct translations, rather as more informal, poetic interpretations which try to take into consideration the moods and atmospheres of the Brazilian originals.  (nb All English translations copyright ©OmeletteGardenLtd)


1.  Chega De Saudade – An End To Longing

Away, sadness, away!

Tell her, that without her, nothing is right

Tell her, like a prayer, she should return

And that I can’t bear to suffer like this any more!

Chega da Saudade!

The truth is, that without her, there is neither peace nor beauty

Only melancholy and despair and that without her

They will never leave me.

Yet if she were to return

Oh! How fine would everything be!

How wonderful that would be!

I would smother her lips with more kisses

Than there are fish in the sea

If she were in my arms!

A thousand hugs I would give her,

As if welded together, I would hold her so tight

Endless embraces, kisses and tendernesses

To let you know where you belong

That we stop this nonsense of you being away from me

Let’s leave this madness well alone,

You, living without me!


2.  Tamba-tajá

Tamba-tajá, bring me the luck to love and be loved!

Let my love be mine alone

Mine and no-one else’s

Mine, only mine!


Tamba-tajá, bring me all your luck, all of it!

Make our love a happy one!

Tamba-tajá, make sure no-one else hears what only I may hear

And that no-one else may look into those eyes as deeply as I do


Do you understand, Tamba-taja?



3.  Aquarela Do Brasil – Brazilian Watercolour

Brazil!  My Brazil!  Made up of so many things,

My beautiful flower, I celebrate you in my song!


Oh Brazil!  You are the samba, hullahup!  You have such rhythm in your soul!

Oh Brazil, dearest love, land of our fathers!  My Brazil!  My Brazil!


Oh tear down the curtains of the past, free the slaves from their slumber, Mao Preta

Jewel of all carnivals, Marienbad, make way for the Rei Congo

Brazil, Brazil!  In the dreamy moonlight may the singer sing again the songs of my heart!

I want to see Sa Dona in her lace dress, as it stretches out acroos the floor,

Stride through the splendour of the colonial halls!    My Brazil!  My Brazil!


Brazil, with your fertile soil, you land of beauty, such a crazy mix, such a clever flower!

Oh Brazil!  So green, envy of the world  Oh Brazil!  Dearest love, land of our fathers!  My Brazil, my Brazil!


Oh coconut trees, you give us your lovely fruit and somewhere to hang my hammock!  Brazil, Brazil!

On clear moonlit nights I hear your whispering springs, they quench my thirst, your still waters’ silver reflections

Oh this Brazil!  As beautiful as fields of waving, ripened corn!  That’s my Brazil, land of the samba and the pandeiro!

My Brazil, my Brazil!


4.  Minha Terra – My Homeland

This Brazil of ours, so great, so beloved, our heavenly land!

Home of such love and such promise!

So green, so green – and ours!


In the warmth of the moonlit night, left all alone

The poor Sertanejo sings to his love

The sad song of his suffering


Behind the great mountains the sun rose in the cool of the morning

Now its red magic bejewels the evening sky

The sun, the moon!  The rivers and the rains!

The forests and the sea!  This paradise!

You are all of these, my Brazil!  God gave it all to you

God must surely be Brazilian, like me!


5.  Uirapuru

There was a time, long ago, when a boat went out hunting on the river

The captain, a true boatman, stood at the rudder

And talked and talked and never stopped

Oh!  How he talked without end

Oh!  He was born to talk, this boatman


He babbled on about werewolves and river monsters, and the holy Taja

And how the cackle of the great Jurutahy with his enormous beak put a spell on the moon!

Oh!  How ridiculous, a bird laughing at the moon!

Oh!  He was born to babble, this boatman


He wanted to make fools of us

Why, he had slain the great serpent Surucucu

And swore blind that he had captured Uirapuru

Oh!  Captured Uirapuru, in the rain-forest!

Oh!  What a tale-teller, what a windbag!


So then, you old rogue, bring one to me!

I am desperate to have one, even a small one would do!

Hardly had the words been said

Than the little devil disappeared and left me empty-handed!

But I’d give my last penny to buy one!

And on that day you will see your pack of lies that you hold so dear

Come crashing down around you!

Oh yes, all that stuff you love going on about,

I won’t give you a minute more of my time, you lying old boatman!


6.  Samba de uma Nota só – One Note Samba

So here’s the little samba made up of just one note

Other one’s will join it, but that’s basically all I wrote

Oh yes, the other notes belong, just as I belong to you

But just one note is all I need to say that I love you


Many people talk and talk, have nothing much to say

I played the whole scale up and down for ever and a day

But all the time this little note kept coming back to me

Just as I’ll return to you, as true as true can be


With just one note I can tell you all you need to know

I don’t need a do-re-mi to say I love you so

Whoever wants a melody from the bottom to the top

Will end up empty-handed; so stick with what you’ve got!


7.  Garota De Ipanema – The Girl From Ipanema

So slim, so brown, so young, so beautiful

She’s the girl from Ipanema

And when she passes by

Everybody sighs


She walks with a rhythm, she moves like a dancer

Carrying the beat of the samba

And when she passes by

Everybody sighs


He ses her every day as she walks down to the sea

But she never looks his way and his pain can’t set him free

How can I let her know that I love her so?

Oh, she never looks at me when she walks down to the sea


So slim, so brown, so young, so beautiful

She’s the girl from Ipanema

He smiles at her in vain

But she walks by again


8.  Modinha

Darling, I am not capable of winning your love

And thus will my life fade away with lonliness

Despite your contempt, I will always love you

With sadness in my voice, I will sing you my song

I want to know that you will be forever happy

But one day your joy will turn to an uneasy pain

When you hear my voice as it softly and tenderly

Reminds you of my declaration of love.


9.  Canção do Amor – Love Song

Azure blue the day unfolds and I dream of my lover, far away

The longing lies heavy on me, feeding my sorrow, opening the wound again and again


So far apart, my pain torments me

But in my lonliness I try still to be close to you, my love


Stillness and silence are friends to me, help me to be

And so I survive somehow – and cry.  When, oh when will you come back to me?


I still feel the warmth of your kisses, inside of me

But every tender moment that I recall hurts me, scares me


Yet when asleep and dreaming, how sweet is that time!

Alone and in love’s glow I feel the passion that you arouse in me, you, my love!


So far away from you, from your touch

How can my poor heart give this up?  It’s you, my love, my love!


10.  Cair Da Tarde – Twilight

A white heron glides slowly by

The shadows lengthen

Night falls, slowly smothering the light


The forest rests

Still now the wind

And a leaf falls with a whisper


The branch creaks

And a nest sways

The river drinks from the heavenly clouds


An echo sounds

And the stifled voices fade

With the grey of the day


11.  Veleiro – Sailing

In the silver’d dusk, the sails make their way across the sea

The waves breathe, rise and fall

I feel the pain of our lost love

But still a secret sweetness lingers


There is a sadness as vast as the ocean

I always took such care, never to hurt your heart

Oh heavens, drown my sorrows in your welcoming waves!

The moon, small now, slowly rises, white in the distant firmament


12.  Canto De Xangô – Xango’s Song

I come from far away, how far I do not know

From where I do not know

I am the son of a king

I had to fight hard to become what I am

I am black, black is my skin

Yet I am full of love

For me, all is love

Xango a godo!

I call out: now is the time for love!

Even though today I feel the pain inside of me

Long live my king, my God and protector!

Long live my hope!

Your skin has seven shades, like the seven days on which we may love

Long live my king, my God and protector!

Long live my hope!

Your skin has seven shades, like the seven days on which we may love

Yet to love is to suffer and to love means death from pain

Xango, my lord, sarava!

Let me suffer, let me die from love

Long live my king, my God and protector!  Long live my hope!


13.  Samba Do Avião – Airplane Samba

Eparê aroeira!

At the edge of the ocean, a canoe

Praise God in the highest and Thiago e Humaitá!

Such a fertile and rocky coastline for the wicked sea-anglers!

Oh, Xango, help me arrive safely!

My heart is singing!  I can see Rio de Janeiro!

How I’ve been longing to see you!

Rio!  Your ocean!  Your endless sandy beaches!

Rio, just as you are, you will do for me!

Cristo Retendor protects Guanabara with his outstretched arms.

This samba only exists because – I love you so, Rio!

Hello, my beautiful brown loveliness, your entire body is swaying with the rhythm of the samba!

Rio!  City of sun, sky and sea!

In a few minutes we’ll be landing in Galeao

Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

Cristo Retendor protects Guanabara with his outstretched arms.

This samba only exists because – I love you so, Rio!

Hello, my beautiful brown loveliness, your entire body is swaying with the rhythm of the samba!

Fasten your seatbelts, we’ll soon be there!

The puddles on the runway are glistening, we’re getting closer.  We’re there!


14.  Corcovado

Somewhere here is a little alcove, a guitar and your love!

And my song to make you happy.

Silence and the time to reflect.

A time to dream and look out of the window at the Corcovado and Cristo Redentor!

How lovely it all is!

I would like life to be always as lovely as this – with you

Until our flame must one day day out!

I was full of grief, had lost my faith in the world

Until one day luck came my way – and I met you, my love!


15.  Eu Sei Que Eu Vou Te Amar – I Know That I Will Love You

I know that I will love you my whole life long

With every parting, I will love you more than before

I will love you desperately

And every verse that I write

I write to let you know

That I know I will love you for a lifetime

I know that I will cry every time you go away from me

I will cry when you return to me as well!

When you return, I will forget you have ever been away

But I know I will suffer,

Overflowing with the sweet anticipation

Of living with you my whole life through


16.  Retrato – Portrait

So rigid, so severe, so sad is my face.

It is not mine.

Nor mine those empty eyes

Nor the lips so thin

Nor the hands so unfeeling, cold and dead.

Nothing stirs this heart.

It is not mine.

I did not notice that I had changed.

Oh, visage of mine, inside which mirror are you sealed?


17.  Ouve o Silêncio – Listen To The Silence

Just listen to the silence!  Yes?

It is telling us our love is forbidden and must end.

No word passes between us.

Queitly we whisper our secrets to ourselves

Verses of hope for our love

Yes, my beloved!

Sing loud of life’s beauty, of the sun

And the happiness of the lovers here in their vast lonliness.


18.  Acalanto da Rosa - Rose’s Lullaby

Up in the sky a star sleeps, as does the moon in the sea

The rose slumbers in her garden, as does love in me

As quiet and gentle as the rose’s scent sleeps my love

Soft steps, soft words, peaceful, pure and unending sleeps my love


19.  Amor que partiu - The Love That Went Away

The pain of longing for someone

The pain of not sharing a life any more

The pain that no-one can wish away

My love, who shows me no mercy, has gone. 

My flower, my passion, my love!

Yes, you who went away, show me some mercy!

Come to me!  Come close to me!

I am shattered by this terrible pain and lonliness.


20.  Novelozinho de Linha – The Little Ball Of Wool

Back and forth flies the little ball of wool

Back and forth it jumps from the little hands

Swaying and swinging, here and there, all a-tangle

Until the child sleeps, ssshh!

Then just once more, back and forth

Until it falls to the floor, the little ball of wool


21.  Epigramma – A Satire

A ladybird flies hither and thither

And settles on a welcoming rose

The wind blows

And the ladybird flutters away

Then withers the rose

And the budded petals fall to the earth


22.  Solidão – Solitude

There outside, from the roof

Constant and melodic,

The rain drips its painful song

It was on such a day,

When the rain dripped from the roof,

That you went away


23.  Fotografia – Photography

You and I, we two alone

On a terrace, high above the sea

The sun is going down and in your eyes

The colours of the sea sparkle and play

It’s time to go, the day is over

Shadowy fingers reach out from the dark

The sun slips into the sea

And down below on the beach,

A light in a window beckons us

Only you and I

You and I, we two alone

In the half-light of the bar

As the moon rises above the sea

Soon the bar will close for the night

But for you and me the song goes on

To tell the tale

Our never-ending story of desire

And, in a moment, we kiss, kiss, kiss


24.  Desafinado

When I feel the urge to sing, you can’t stand it!

You always make the same complaint!

You tell me that I’m out of tune and that I can’t sing

You are so pretty, but all your beauty can one day disappear

You sigh at how tuneless I am, my darling!

Do you know how painful that is for me?

Not many people have such a good ear as you…

I only have what God gave me

Yet you insist on judging me, you dissect my talent

You say that my singing is off-key

Though I could say that, when singing the bossa nova, that’s what ‘s required!

What you don’t know, and perhaps don’t even want to know

Is that even a tuneless singer has a heart1

I took a picture of you with my camera

The negatives revealed straight away how ungrateful you are

You can’t keep on doing that, saying such horrible things about my love for you!

You won’t get a bigger or better love than mine!

You, with your musical ideals, are forgetting the most important thing,

That deep down, secretly and discreetly, inside the breast of this tuneless singer, there beats a heart!


25.  Como Nossos Pais – Like Our Parents

I don’t want to tell you, my darling, what the old LP’s have taught me

I want to tell you, my love, of how I lived and what happened to me

Living is better than dreaming, and I know that love is a good thing

But I also know that each and every song is not as valuable as someone’s life

Keep a good eye out for yourself, my darling, danger lurks around the corner

The powers that be have changed the lights to red for all those young people

Who might want to embrace their brother noisily and joyfully

Or might want to kiss their girl out on the street

That’s why we have our arms, our voices, our lips!

You ask about my passion?

I am delighted at the new things I discover!

I am staying right here, in this town, I’m not moving out to the country!

I know that a storm is coming, bringing with it the winds of change

I know what is burning in the open wound of my heart

I know how long it is since I saw you on the street

Happy and carefree with your young friends

On the walls of my memory hang the dark paintings of my pain

Which remains, despite all that we have done

We are the same.  How things might look can’t fool us

We are the same, living as our parents did, our ideals are the same as theirs

You say that nothing remains of them any more,

Well then, tell me I am wrong, that I am fantasising!

Yet you, you cling to the past and can’t see the way ahead!

Today I know who led me to the future, and that of our youth

The parents, at home, protected by God, counting their pennies!

The pain is real, despite everything that we have done.

We are the same.  We are the same, living as our parents did.