Lyrics from “Tristeza” by Haroldo Lobo and Niltinho (1966)

Good Audio Version (Jair Rodrigues)

(I want to sing again…)

Please, go away
My soul that cries
Is foreseeing my end
You made my heart into your home
My suffering has already gone too far
I want to go back to that life of joy
I want to sing again

La da la la…

I want to sing again…

— Interpretation —

In 1966, "Tristeza" was released by Ari Cordovil, but it even more popular after Jair Rodrigues sang it live on the program "O Fino da Bossa."
“Tristeza” was released by Ari Cordovil in 1966, but the best loved rendition came from Jair Rodrigues, who sang it live on the program “O Fino da Bossa.”

This was the last traditional samba to win Carnival before the style was totally displaced by sambas-enredo (sambas that tell a story), the samba schools’ parade themes.

The song’s release in early 1966 turned out to be sadly appropriate:  The year started out with catastrophic flooding and landslides that killed 250 people and left around fifty thousand homeless in Rio de Janeiro; January 2, 1966, held the record for rainfall in the greater metropolitan region of Rio until April 2010. This video shows images of the destruction. The rain destroyed some samba schools’ studios and supplies, and there was speculation that the city’s Carnival celebrations would be cancelled that year. These circumstances made the song all the more resonant.

“Tristeza” began as a lengthy samba by Niltinho (Nilton de Souza,b. 1936), who was just starting out as a composer in the early 1960s.  He wrote it after a fight with his future wife left him quite glum and a friend told him to “send that sorrow away.” In 1965, the celebrated Carnival composer Haroldo Lobo heard the original, longer version and liked it. He cut it down – from 18 lines to 8 – and incorporated some pieces from an old melody he had composed, and the song was released in 1966 by Ari Cordovil.  It became Lobo’s last great hit – a posthumous one, he died in 1965 – and was so popular that from then on, Niltinho became known as “Niltinho Tristeza.” In 1967, Norman Gimbel released an English version,  “Goodbye Sadness.”

Lyrics in Portuguese

Por favor vai embora
Minha alma que chora
Está vendo o meu fim
Fez do meu coração a sua moradia
Já é demais o meu penar
Quero voltar aquela vida de alegria
Quero de novo cantar
Lá, rá, lá, rá
Lá, rá, lá, rá, lá, rá, rá
Lá, rá, lá, rá, lá, rá, rá
Quero de novo cantar

Main source for this post: A Canção no Tempo: 85 Anos de Músicas Brasileiras, vol 2: 1958-1985 by Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello

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