Aquarela Do Brasil (Brazil's Most Famous Song)

By Thomas Keyes
May 19, 2005

“Aquarela do Brasil” (“Watercolor of Brazil”) is Brazil’s most famous song, and is sometimes called the unofficial anthem of Brazil. In the US, it is generally known simply as “Brazil”. It was composed in 1939 by Ary Barroso (1903-1964). A song of this genre is known as a samba, one of a number of famous styles of dances and songs originating in Brazil.

Although I’ve been vaguely familiar with this song since I was a teen-ager, it’s been only in the last month that I finally got the lyrics and the complete melody. The melody contains an introductory part that is often omitted when the song is played, but for which words do exist. So I could never reconcile the words and the music until recently. Otherwise, assuredly I would have learned it before.

The complete Brazilian-Portuguese lyrics, two stanzas, are listed below, along with my own literal translation. Below my translation, which isn’t fitted to the music at all, I’ve added the published English lyrics by S. K. Russell, which have virtually nothing to do with the original lyrics.

Here is an URL featuring a sung version, which, however, includes only the first stanza unfortunately. At that web page, just scroll down to the list of songs at the bottom. “Aquarela do Brasil” has an icon that looks like a music box. Just click on the icon.


Here’s an instrumental version, which omits the introductory part corresponding to the first seven lines of each stanza, as I mentioned. Furthermore, it’s a little too “jazzy”; "jazziness" tends to ruin an otherwise good piece. Click on the ninth song on the left. Don’t confuse “Aquarela do Brasil” with “Aquarela”; they are different songs.


AQUARELA DO BRASIL (Brazilian-Portuguese Lyrics)

Brasil, meu Brasil brasileiro,
Meu mulato inzoneiro,
Vou a cantar-te nos meus versos.
Ô Brasil, samba que dá
Bamboleio que faz gingá.
Ô Brasil do meu amor,
Terra do Nosso Señor,
Brasil, Brasil, prá mim, prá mim!
Ô abre a cortina do passado.
Tira a mae* preta do cerrado.
Bota o rei congo no congado.
Brasil, Brasil, prá mim, prá mim!
Deixa cantar de novo o trovador
Á merencória luz da lua
Toda cançao* de meu amor.
Quero ver a Sà Dona caminando
Pelos saloes* arrastrando
O seu vestido rendado.
Brasil, Brasil, prá mim, prá mim!

Brasil, terra boa e gostosa,
Da moreninha sestrosa,
De olhar indiferente.
Ô Brasil, verde que dá
Para o mundo admirá.
Ô Brasil do meu amor,
Terra do Nosso Señor,
Brasil, Brasil, prá mim, prá mim!
Ô, esse coqueiro que dá coco,
Oi onde amarro a minha rede
Nas noites claras de luar.
Brasil, Brasil.
Ô oi estas fontes murmurantes,
Oi onde eu mato a minha sede
E onde a lua vem brincá.
Oi, esse Brasil lindo e trigueiro
É o meu Brasil brasileiro,
Terra de samba e pandeiro.
Brasil, Brasil, prá mim, prá mim.

[* Each Word marked with a star has a tilde (as in ñ) over the next-to-the-last vowel, which my keyboard can’t duplicate.]

AQUARELA DO BRASIL (Literal Translation)

Brazil, my Brazilian Brazil,
My good-looking mulatto.
I’m going to sing you in my verses.
O Brazil, samba that gives
A swing that makes you sway.
O Brazil that I love,
Land of Our Lord,
Brazil, Brazil, for me, for me!
O, open the curtain of the past.
Bring the black mother out of the pastures.
Put the Congo king dancing the Congo.
Brazil, Brazil!
Let the troubador sing again
To the melancholy light of the moon
Every song of my love.
I want to see the Holy Lady walking
Through the halls, wearing
Her garments of lace.
Brazil, Brazil, for me, for me!

Brazil, good and pleasant land
Of the beautiful brown girl
With the indifferent gaze.
O Brazil, greenness that gives
The world cause to wonder.
O Brazil that I love,
Land of Our Lord,
Brazil, Brazil, for me, for me!
O, this palm tree that yields coconuts,
Where I tie my fishing net
On clear moonlit nights.
Brazil, Brazil!
O, these murmuring fountains
Where I quench my thirst
And where the moon comes to play.
O, this Brazil, beautiful and wheaten,
Is my Brazilian Brazil,
Land of the samba and the tambourine.
Brazil, Brazil, for me, for me!

BRAZIL (Published English Version)

Brazil, the Brazil that I know,
Where I wandered with you
Lives in my imagination.

Where the songs are passionate,
And a smile has flash in it,
And a kiss has art in it,
For you put your heart in it,
And so I dream of old Brazil

Where hearts were entertaining June,
We stood beneath an amber moon
And softly murmured “someday soon”
We kissed and clung together,
Then tomorrow was another day
The morning found me miles away
With still a million things to say
Now when twilight dims the sky above,
Recalling thrills of our love,
There’s one thing I’m certain of;
Return I will to old Brazil.


About the author Thomas Keyes: I have written two books: A SOJOURN IN ASIA (non-fiction) and A TALE OF UNG (fiction), neither published so far.

I have studied languages for years and traveled extensively on five continents.

Email: udikeyes@yahoo.com

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