Outro dia liguei na Rádio Nacional e só ouvi música brasileira. Parecia que eu estava em Nova York.

The other day I turned on Radio Nacional and I only heard Brazilian music. It felt like I was in New York.
Tom Jobim

With Waldir 59 and Monarco, Velha Guarda da Portela, July 2013

With Waldir 59 and Monarco, Velha Guarda da Portela, July 2013

Hi there and thanks for reading.  My name is Victoria Broadus and I first went to Brazil in 2008,  when I spent a summer in northeastern Brazil while working on a Master’s degree at Georgetown.  Since then,  thanks mostly to Georgetown’s wonderful Portuguese professors,  I have become fluent in Portuguese.   I spent about six months between 2009 and 2010 in Brazil, moved to New York for a couple years, and have been back in Brazil since early 2012.  I started this site as a way to share more Brazilian music with friends and family and any other readers out there who wonder what the songs they’re listening to are saying, and why.

Please let me know if there is a song you would like translated or would like to hear more about! You can leave a comment here or anywhere else on the site.  I also offer guide services in Rio de Janeiro.

You can follow the blog by clicking “Follow” at the bottom of the main page, and follow blog posts and other updates on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lyricalbrazil. I also have a Twitter that I admittedly update less regularly: https://twitter.com/LyricalBrazil

Readers who speak Portuguese should check out Instituto Moreira Salles’ online radio program based on the book A Canção no Tempo, 85 Anos de Músicas Brasileiras, vol. 1 (Jairo Severiano and Zuza Homem de Mello):  http://ims.uol.com.br/Radio/D400 


110 Responses to About

  1. Pingback: Introduction to the site « transongs

  2. Pingback: Se todos fossem iguais a você « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  3. Pingback: Domingo no Parque « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  4. Pingback: Tanto Mar « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  5. Pingback: “Ingenuo” and “Carinhoso” « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  6. Pingback: Insensatez « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  7. Pingback: Sabiá « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  8. Pingback: Rapaz folgado « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  9. Pingback: Lenço no Pescoço « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  10. Pingback: Back in Bahia « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  11. Pingback: Apesar de você « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  12. Pingback: Ruas que sonhei « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  13. Pingback: Essa é pra tocar no rádio « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  14. Pingback: Aquarela Brasileira (Brazilian Watercolor) « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  15. Pingback: Luz Negra « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  16. Pingback: A Banda « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  17. Pingback: As Rosas Não Falam « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  18. Pingback: O Leãozinho « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  19. Pingback: O Quereres « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  20. Pingback: Piano na Mangueira « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  21. Pingback: Sei lá, Mangueira « Brazilian Lyrics in English

  22. Evandro says:

    Hello, already seen this clip of CRIOLO?
    Lion Man (clip animation); http://bit.ly/zANOhA

  23. Hi Evandro, I hadn’t seen it yet- thanks!!!

    • Evandro says:

      Obrigado pela atenção Victoria, eu sou brasileiro e não falo inglês ainda, você fala português?.
      O clipe não é oficial, é de minha autoria, mas quem viu aqui no Brasil, gostou muito, espero que goste também, e se possível, divulgue no site 🙂


      Thank you for your Victoria, I’m Brazilian and not speak English yet, you speak Portuguese?. The video is not official, is my own, but who saw in Brazil, like much, hope you like it too, and if possible, publish the site 🙂 Thank you!

  24. Mark says:

    Thank you for the site. It’s a great idea and very useful! Some of the songs by Baden Powell & Paulo César Pinheiro would be great. (Refém da solidão, Samba do perdão, voltei, Vou deitar e rolar etc ) 🙂 abraco

  25. Nick says:

    Great site! I’ve been obsessed with Brazilian music for years, and this is the perfect way to learn Portuguese while discovering more great tunes. Just a suggestion – would it be possible to post the original Portuguese lyrics alongside your translations?



    • Hey Nick,
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the site, and thanks for your suggestion! I had been thinking about posting the Portuguese lyrics — I’m going to try to find the best way to include them.

  26. James Woodall says:

    Hi Victoria

    I’m admiring your work here. I too have translated some MPB songs and am currently working on Chico Buarque’s lyrics. I wrote a book about him (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Simple-Brazilian-Song-Journeys-Through/dp/0349108498). I’d be interested to discuss your work and perhaps tell you about mine. I’m giving a talk on Chico in Cambridge (UK) in October. You can find me on Facebook. If my e-address shows up where you are, do mail me.


  27. Hi Vitoria, a question regarding the live recordings of Gilberto Gil’s Domingo No Parque as seen on this longer version recording on Youtube http://youtu.be/nrstmBhpZts.
    Why is Gil being booed practically all through the song? Is it because it was to innovative?

  28. Hi “Perroverde” (I can’t see your name):
    Yep, that’s right!
    Booing was really common throughout the festivals. In this case, it was particularly bad because Gilberto Gil was playing such an innovative song and using electric guitars — part of what he and Caetano called their “universal sound” — which a lot of people thought had no place in Brazilian popular music.
    In this story – Jornal da Tarde from Oct 4, 1967 (http://tinyurl.com/bofbpnc) – he says he’s prepared to be booed:
    “I’m not worried. It would be easier if I were competing with songs like ‘Roda’ or ‘Louvação,’ my compositions that have already been accepted by the public. But that would be dishonest with myself and with the people, because [those songs] don’t represent my current way of thinking. I don’t do this as a challenge, I just think that all experiences/experiments are valid in music, seen in a universal manner.”
    Hope this helps. Also, no worries about my name — that’s the way most people spell it here, anyway 🙂
    Thanks for reading.

    • Oz says:

      Awesome! Thank you very much for the info and your rapid response!
      The video’s show a really ‘charged’ and electrifying atmosphere by the way, with the crowd wholeheartedly booing anyone that they didn’t like, and religiously chanting the lyrics with others (Chico Buarque’s Roda Viva). Was that a ‘selected’ audience? (as national television was state-run) or does it reflect the general attitude of the people towards their MBP in those days?
      Many thanks again,

  29. bibliomaniac says:

    Hi Victoria, I really love Brazilian music, but I’m still learning (I started by buying a Toquinho album by accident!)

    If you could please answer two questions, I would greatly appreciate it:

    I searched for Dorival Caymmi’s song “Marina” here, but I could not find it. Could you please provide a translation of that song?

    Secondly, the Sergio Mendes song “Lapinha” has one lyric with a strange word “besouro” — could you please translate this line and tell me what “besouro” means in that line? Surely, it cannot mean a beetle like the insect??? That doesn’t make sense. I’m thinking it must be a colloquial meaning or phrase:

    Adeus Bahia, zum-zum-zum
    Cordão de Ouro
    Eu vou partir
    Porque mataram meu besouro…

    Thanks so much

  30. bibliomaniac says:

    I really appreciate your help. I never considered the possibility that “besouro” is the name of a person. I’ll look that up, thanks.

    Marina is such a great song — I didn’t even know who Caymmi was until this week! I noticed he’s the author of a Santana song on their “Borboletta” album, “Promise of a Fisherman” and I looked him up.

    Thanks again.

  31. bibliomaniac says:

    PS: I just read your explanation — thanks for all the details. I always wondered how a Brazilian got the name “Baden Powell”….!

    And that one line in the song is very poignant —

    Ai é tão desesperador
    O amor perder do desamor

    — is probably untranslatable, but I like your choice of “indifference” for “desamor”. Perhaps, though, “so disheartens” might work for “tão desesperador” better than “so maddening”…? I hesitate to even suggest anything, since you obviously know a million times more than me about Portuguese and Brazil!

    Thanks again…

  32. KB says:

    Translation of any song or interview by Criolo would be very much appreciated. I am studying an MSW degree right now and am quite interested in the LIberation Theology movement in Brazil, Paulo Freire in particular, and what some contemporary artists are saying/rapping about social justice. Word is Mr. Criolo has much to say and I would love to hear(read) more!

  33. bibliomaniac says:

    Thanks for “Marina”, Victoria! What a charmingly odd little song!

  34. bibliomaniac says:

    Hi Victoria, I’d love to know the meaning of another song — “Alô Alô” by Toquinho. If you can find the time, I would be so grateful.

    Here are the Portuguese lyrics and a video:


    Thanks again,

  35. Victoria, I was looking for reference material for an article about Gozanga because he would turn 100 years this week and then I was redirected by google to your website, and wow good job!Well done for you! All the cultural explanations before the lyrics are so well presented, I will take a look into the references that you recommend, keep up the great job!

  36. Bruno says:

    Hi can you translate “voce e linda” by caetano Veloso? that would be awesome. I love that song!

  37. Frangale says:

    I don’t know if anyone could help me. Does anyone know of a master’s degree focused on Brazilian music? I’m looking for a study programme along those lines, and I’m not sure where to look and where to start from. I’m more into the music and lyrical content, however I might be interested in delving into the social link between the music and it’s people too. I’m considering other countries too, although I’m based in France.
    Thanks in advance. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Hi Frangale – the best programs I know of along these lines in the United States would be at Tulane University in New Orleans (with Christopher Dunn) and University of Florida (with Charles Perrone), but both would be Portuguese programs. I’m not sure of programs in France.

  38. Mike Storry says:


    I am very impressed with your work. I worked in Brazil 1965-7 and 1969-70 and have periodically looked for the wonderful carnival songs I heard in those days, in Salvador and Curitiba.

    5 years ago on Youtube one would only find some old guy plucking out the melodies on his verandah–or, more often: nothing. When I last visited, in 1995, you couldn’t buy the old songs in Rio and most young people didn’t seem to value Samba even. Pagode was all the rage. I had to do my own halting translations of the songs I could remember, eg: A banda, Tristezam, Quem nao gosta… A felicidade.

    Ate hoje, tenho saudades do Brasil! Parabens para o website.


  39. gurkski says:

    thank you so much for the literal translation of Insensatez,
    It seems that “how insensitive” translates “Assim tão desalmado”?

    • Hi Gurkski, I’m glad you liked it. Yeah – no part of the song in Portuguese literally translates to “how insensitive”, but “tão desalmado” comes the closest (so soulless). Hope this helps!

  40. gurkski says:

    “Please let me know if there is a song you would like translated or would like to hear more about!”

    Cobra criado (the lyrics Elis Regina sings.. there are 2 different lyrics. I absolute adore elis and to understand her’s.


  41. Caren Harris says:

    We love the song Lapinha by Sergio Mendez and Brazil 66. Is there an English translation?

  42. Brian says:

    Hello Victoria , do you have any medium through which i can contact you directly ?

  43. bibliomaniac says:

    Hi Victoria,

    Have you heard the version by US-born singer Karrin Allyson of the song “Faltando Um Pedaco” ? It’s amazingly beautiful. How did she learn Brazilian Portuguese so well!?
    Could you please translate the lyrics to that song?


    Karrin Allyson on YouTube:

  44. bibliomaniac says:

    Why did you delete my comment?

  45. Just found your blog …
    What a wonderful thing to do.

    I’ve always thought that the reason Brazilian music hasn’t made much of an impact outside Brazil is because of the language barrier. I’m sure if songs were presented in English they would be irresistible to most people in English speaking countries like USA, UK, Canada, Australia, …

    Anyway, you may be interested in this English version of Tom Jobim’s “Derradeira primavera,” “The Final Springtime.” I recorded it with some of my musician friends.
    Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urua_xoW2uk

  46. bibliomaniac says:

    Oh well…

  47. Dell Hollingsworth says:

    Hello from Austin Texas, Victoria! And on behalf of the Austin Samba School, thank you for this fabulous resource! I stumbled upon your site today while searching for a translation of Aquarela Brasileira, which is going to be our samba-enredo for our next Carnaval show. We are already being asked to learn the song, and when I sent out the link to your version I got a lot of enthusiastic replies about it and about your site in general. A number of us are also studying the music and the language of Brazil in more depth, and your blog will be a great help.
    (By the way I love the line in your translation “And the asphalt as a catwalk” …)

  48. dehiscent says:

    wonderful site! wondering if you could help me translate this song: ONDE ANDA VOCÊ – Vinicius de Moraes

  49. herb says:

    Thank you so much for this site! I am in love with brazilian music and have recently started learning bossa nova and samba on guitar and find that a lot of the translations done in the 60’s are pretty hokey and don’t get what i believe to be the full meaning across. I want to play covers in english (as i don’t speak portuguese). Glad i stumbled on this site, I was looking for “Luz Negra”, Nara Leao’s version being one of my favorite songs. Valuable! Thanks!

  50. herb says:

    Oh, and a few songs i would love to have translations for: “E Preciso Perdoar” by Joao Gilberto, “Pois E” by Nara Leao, and “A Tamba” by Jorge Ben. And also, I live in Brooklyn, NY. Do you know anywhere to go see Brazillian music performed in the city? Thanks again, and hope all is well!

    • Hi Herb,
      My favorite Brazilian bar is Beco Bar, in Williamsburg, where there’s music sometimes. Otherwise it just depends on the weekend I guess. I’ll add those songs to the list! Abraços,

  51. Amanda says:

    Hi Victoria. Thanks for a fantastic site, and such a great resource for me. I am a jazz singer and am in love with Brazilian music. I love to know what I am singing about, but its difficult to fid decent translations of songs. Could you add Djavan’s “A Rota Individuo” to your list please? I’ve searched and searched for a translation, but no luck, and Google translate is unintelligible!
    Thanks so much! Amanda

    • Hi Amanda, Thanks so much for your kind comments, I’m glad you’re finding the site useful. I’ve added “A rota do individuo” to my list of songs to translate! Let me know any other requests.

  52. Olá, Victoria, tudo bem? Eu gostaria que, se possível, você traduzisse algumas das músicas de Los Hermanos. Eles são uma banda popular entre os jovens brasileiros e têm letras bonitas. Eu traduziria (na realidade já tentei) Mas sempre que as traduzo sinto que escrevi algo errado. Se possível, gostaria que traduzisse estas quatro em especial: “A flor”, “De onde vem a calma”, “Último Romance” e “Conversa de Botas Batidas”.

    Ah, parabéns pelo site 🙂 Sempre procuro traduções das músicas para mandar para meus amigos estrangeiros mas nem sempre as acho. Agora que achei o seu blog, já encontrei várias traduções 😀

  53. Anna Salleh says:

    Hi Victoria… would it be possible to get your email address.

  54. lflorencio says:

    Gostei muito do teu site.
    A seleção musical é de primeira e a tradução com interpretação é ótima.
    Tomei a liberdade de fazer um post sobre ele no google+ http://bit.ly/1gpHoAT.
    Parabéns e obrigado.

  55. Larry Cox says:

    This is great!
    My favorite songs (without the accents that I don’t know how to make) are E De Oxum and Aguas De Marches. The second is widely sung in English since Tom made his own translation of it. But I would love to see a professional translation of E De Oxum!

  56. Sandra says:

    Hi I met a very nice man from Brazil on a trip to Mexico and we have become good friends. He has asked me to listen to the song “Roza Azul”.. But I can’t seem to find the English lyrics anywhere.. Please help, thanks!

  57. Sandra says:

    This is the song Roza Azul by Novo Somhttp://youtu.be/U38mR-2nBxw

  58. Sandra says:

    Please translate or let me know where I can find these lyrics in English or Spanish.. Thanks!

  59. Pingback: Brazilian Music 2: Early sambistas

  60. Lenguaraz says:

    What a beautiful site you have! I found it looking for a translation/more about Mar Grande (Paulinho da Viola). I absolutely love that song, and I find it quite meaningful and poetic. Nevertheless, there are a couple of parts that aren’t quite clear, and I can’t make sense of them with just the dictionary… I’m sure there are some contexts or some uses I’m missing. I would love it if you find the time to zrite about it. Thanks a bunch!

  61. Lenguaraz says:

    (Don’t know if my comment got lost or it’s awaiting moderation, but here I go again…)

    I love your blog! What a beautiful space you have here. I found it looking for Paulinho da Viola’s Mar Grande lyrics. I wonder if you could write about that song here. I understand almost everything, but I would love to read more about it and discuss the meaning….

    Thank you !!!

  62. Wolfgang Koch, Vienna says:

    Thank you for this intelligent introduction into a new cosmos.

  63. Hello! This blog is so amazing!!!!! Thank you! It’s so nice be able to share my favorite brazilian songs with my friends. Could you translate some songs by Los Hermanos?

  64. Shelley says:

    Hi Victoria, just came across your site looking for lyrics to ‘Tristeza’ as I have been learning this beautiful song as part of a selection of Bossas and Sambas that I love to play and sing. I started to learn Brazilian Portuguese because of the music, and translations although they can be really great, are just not the same! I’m sure this site will be a great resource for me so just to say thankyou for that in advance, or I should say, Muito Obrigada 🙂

  65. Shelley says:

    I of course meant, the English translations!

  66. Arnia Zaheera says:

    I need to know the song meaning of Acai by Djavan. …I realy love that song. ..music. .o love jazz…voice… I love Brazilian song also….can u help me to know ….

    thanks lot

  67. Hi Victoria, I hope you are doing well.
    I have started a project on teaching Brazilian guitar and Brazilian music for English speakers and I’d like to tell you that I put a link to your blog in my website. Translation of lyrics is always something hard to do due the intrinsic subjectivity of poetry and the culture of a people and you are doing a great job.
    So, thanks for that.

  68. Hi Victoria,
    I’m an acoustic guitar teacher from Brazil. I have been teaching acoustic guitar here since 1991 and I’m used to teach Bossa Nova, Samba, Choro and the most traditional styles of Brazilian music. I have started this project because I think that many people around the world would like to learn Brazilian music on guitar and that there is a lack of available online resources that could really help them.
    If you want, take a look at my website, although it is a site for members anyone can subscribe and get 7 days of full access without credit card or whatever.

  69. Bittercreek Bell says:

    It would be wonderful to see a translation of Gilberto Gil’s “Nos Barracos da Cidade.”
    Thanks for creating this terrific site. It’s addictive.

  70. twenty3nyc says:

    I’d love a translation/backstory for “Roda-Viva” by Chico Buarque.

    As a side note, your blog is great — I took a class on Brazilian music and globalization in college, and I’m rediscovering everything (and learning Portuguese) now. Thanks for sharing with us.

  71. Miguel says:

    I would like to know more about the song. “Tempo de Amar ( Samba do Veloso) by Baden Powell

  72. Zeca Afonso Amilcar Cabral says:

    Thanks for the breakdown of Chico Buarque’s “Tanto Mar.” I’m Portuguese-American and have always loved the song and was looking for a way to adequately explain it and its political/cultural significance to folks. I thin you mostly hit the nail on the head. Great blog, keep up the great work!

  73. Mary says:

    Hi! As someone who loves Brazilian music but doesn’t speak a bit of the language, this is a godsend. Having the lyrics translated by someone who knows the language and the history beats trying to gather the meaning behind the lyrics from google translate. Especially your interpretations and explanations of the historical context – I have loved going through this blog and discovering new meanings to songs I thought I knew well. Hope you carry on this blog, I will be reading!

  74. Denise says:

    I am currently living in Rio and learning to play the Mandolim. This is my first song I am learning, and I am wondering if you would enjoy helping me translate it to english.
    I find it really beautiful.
    So lovely to happen upon your website! I look forward to listening to and looking at lyrics of the many songs you are sharing. Thank you!
    – Denise

  75. otavio says:

    splendid, is only missing more alternative sounds, o rappa, nação zumbi … congratulations!

  76. Anna says:

    Hi! I can’t remember if I’ve posted here before, but I’ve been following this blog for a while now and felt the need to comment. This page is absolutely amazing for a clueless foreigner! I have a huge love for Brazilian music, how varied and deep it is, with so many incredible song writers and musicians. I love that this site makes it easy to understand the lyrics too! That is definitely something I’ve been missing while listening, so you’re doing something amazing here.

    I have always been fascinated by this performance of Partido Alto from the Caetano Veloso and Chico Buarque live CD from 1972. Not only is it a really livewire performance with this amazing creeping tension to it, but I’ve also heard that it’s a protest song and somehow significant to the anti-military movement of the time? Obviously I’m having a lot of trouble trying to discern the meaning behind the words. Is this something you might be able to explain? I would love to just get a good English translation to be honest!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s