Samba da Bênção

Lyrics from “Samba da Bênção” by Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell

Album: Vinicius (1967)

Listen on Grooveshark


It’s better to be happy than to be sad

Happiness is the best thing that exists

It’s just like a light in your heart

But to make a samba with beauty

You need a lot of sorrow

You need a lot of sorrow

If not,  a samba can’t be made


If not, it’s like loving a woman who’s just beautiful

And from there?

A woman must have something – anything beyond beauty

A bit of sorrow

A bit that cries

A bit that feels longing

A beauty that comes from the sorrow

Of knowing that she’s a woman

Made only to love

To suffer for her love

And to be nothing but forgiveness


Making a samba isn’t like telling a joke

Whoever makes samba like that, isn’t anything

A good samba is a form of oration

Because samba is  sorrow that sways

And sorrow always has a hope, sorrow always has a hope

Of one day not being sad anymore.


Take these people who go around

Playing with life

Be careful, comrade!

This life counts,

And don’t be fooled, there’s just one!

Two lives, which would be good,  nobody can claim to have

Without proving really well

With a certificate stamped in the registry office of heaven

And signed at the bottom: God

And with a notarized signature!

Life isn’t a game, friend

Life is the art of the encounter

Even though there might be so much discord (dis-encounter)  in this life

There is always be a woman waiting for you

With her eyes full of tenderness

And her hands full of forgiveness.

Put a little bit of love in your life,

Like in your samba!


Put a little bit of love in a rhythm

And you’ll see that no one in the world can conquer

The beauty of a samba, no…

Because samba was born up in Bahia

And if today, it’s white in poetry,

If today it’s white in poetry

It’s oh-so black at heart.


I, for example, the Captain of the Bush

Vinicius de Moraes

Poet and Diplomat

The blackest white man in Brazil

In the direct lineage of Xangô, Saravá!

Blessing, senhora

The greatest ialorixá of Bahia

Land of Caymmi and João Gilberto.

Blessing, Pixinguinha

You, who cried through the flute all of my heartache …

Blessing, Sinhô, blessing, Cartola,

Blessing, Ismael Silva

Blessing, Heitor dos Prazeres

Blessing, Nelson Cavaquinho

Blessing, Geraldo Pereira

Blessing, my dear Cyro Monteiro

You, nephew of Nonô

Blessing, Noel, blessing, Ary

Blessing, all the great sambistas of Brazil

White, black, mulatto

Beautiful like the soft skin of Oxum

Blessing, master Antonio Carlos Jobim

Partner and dear friend

Who has already journeyed through so many songs with me

And there are still many to be traveled

Blessing, Carlinhos Lyra

Partner, one-hundred percent

You, who unite action with sentiment

And with thought.

Blessing, blessing, Baden Powell

New friend, new partner

Who made this samba with me

Blessing, friend

Blessing, master Moacir Santos

You’re not only one, you’re so many,

Like my Brazil of all saints

Even my San Sebastian

Saravá!  Blessing, I’m going to go

I’m going to say “adeus


Put a little love in a rhythm

And you’ll see that no one in the world can conquer

The beauty of a samba, no…

Because samba was born up in Bahia

And if today, it’s white in poetry

If today it’s white in poetry

It’s oh-so black at heart.

— Interpretation —

As he mentions in the lyrics, Vinicius de Moraes was not only a sambista but also a celebrated poet and diplomat (until the military government removed him from the foreign service in 1969).  Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1913, Moraes  wrote the lyrics for some of Brazil’s most well-known samba and bossa nova songs – including Garota de Ipanema and Eu não existo sem você.

Moraes collaborated with guitarrist Baden Powell on the 1966 album Os Afro-Sambas; many musicologists argue the LP marked a watershed moment in MPB because of its mix of African sounds with samba carioca (samba from Rio de Janeiro). “A samba da bênção,” released a year after Os Afro-Sambas, represented part of this collaboration. The song is a celebration of Afro-Brazilian music and African influence on contemporary samba. Vinicius states that samba is “oh-so black at heart” (“Ela é negra demais no coração), incorporates the Afr0-Brazilian salutation saravá – which is similar to the Brazilian interjection of “salve!” or literally “save!”  — and refers to ialorixá – a Macumba princess. The lyrics exemplify Moraes’s simple yet brilliant style: the song imparts a powerful message with such understated lines as “It’s better to be happy than to be sad” (“É melhor ser alegre que ser triste”) and “Sadness always has a hope of one day not being sad anymore” (“A tristeza tem sempre uma esperança de um dia não ser mais triste não”).

After a life full of passions — he married nine times — Vinicius de Moraes fell ill and died in 1980, at the age of 66, his health problems stemming from his overindulgence in the drink he called “a man’s best friend,” whiskey.

Post by Victoria Broadus (About)