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KE

Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 90
Location: Chicago





Translation Help
Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:18 am
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Hello Again

My webmaster and I have been working on pages to give you all an exclusive online preview of my forthcoming record - Nightmoves. I am very excited about the recording and about giving you all the world's first sounds (and eyeball kicks) relating to the record on this site.

As a part of the final preparations my friend Denis Guichot and I have been working on a translation from Portuguese to English of the lyrics to Tom Jobim's marvelous composition "Luiza", which I recorded for Nightmoves. I would really like to include a translation on the site. I know we have some native and highly trained Portuguese speakers out there. If you are one, please help us out with our translation of this deep and mysterious piece. (Amazon Girl - you out there?)


LUIZA A.C. Jobim

Rua
Espada nua
Boia no céu imensa e amarela
Tão redonda a lua
Como flutua
Vem navegando o azul do firmamento
E no silêncio lento
Um trovador, cheio de estrelas

Escuta agora a canção que eu fiz
Pra te esquecer Luiza
Eu sou apenas um pobre amador
Apaixonado
Um aprendiz do teu amor
Acorda amor
Que eu sei que embaixo desta neve mora um coração

Vem cá, Luiza
Me dá tua mão
O teu desejo é sempre o meu desejo
Vem, me exorciza
Dá-me tua boca
E a rosa louca
Vem me dar um beijo
E um raio de sol
Nos teus cabelos
Como um brilhante que partindo a luz
Explode em sete cores
Revelando então os sete mil amores
Que eu guardei somente pra te dar Luiza
Luiza, Luiza



Street.
A naked sword.
A buoy in the sky, huge and yellow
A moon so round
How it floats
Comes sailing over the blue of firmament
And in a still silence
A troubadour, head in the stars

Now listen to the song I wrote
To forget you, Luiza
I am just a pitiful amateur
In love
Apprentice for your love
Wake up, my Love
‘Cause I know underneath the snow lives a heart

Come closer, Luiza
Give me your hand
Your desire is mine, always
Come and exorcize me
Give me your lips
And the « confederal rose »
Comes and gives me a kiss
And a sun ray
Through your hair
Like a brilliant which, splitting light
Blows up in seven colors
Exposing then, the seven thousands loves
That I kept inside me, simply to give you, Luiza
Luiza, Luiza


Best,

KE


tropicalismo

Joined: 15 Jan 2007
Posts: 16
Location: When? Just now? mmm...





Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:17 pm
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Hello everyone,

I'd like to comment on a couple of difficulties I had to translate Luiza; Parts where I do think there are more suitable words...

Particularly, has anyone got a better idea as to how to translate the following:

- espada nua: a naked sword, a bare blade maybe. I just can't tell what it may represent here
- rosa-louca: litterally, the hibiscus flower, white in the morning, red at night. In the US, it's called a "confederal rose". However, we lose here the metaphor for the "crazy rose". That crazy rose, which I finally decided to be Luiza's mouth and not her sex (thinking of Georgia O'Keffe, here). Really, I believe there may well be several possible interpretations; Depending on how you associate the words and what's on your mind. Thanks to Jobim's talent in poetry.
What other flower could help us keep both sides here?

Can't wait to read your suggestions!

Denis


JazzSailor

Joined: 02 Dec 2006
Posts: 77
Location: Chicago





Re: Portuguese translation
Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:47 am
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Kurt..I do believe that Mike Allemana's (guitarist in Chicago, has been playing with Rob and Vonski at the Apartment tuesday nights) wife is a native Brazilian....maybe she can give you some assistance......also, Karma went nutso for the shirt, thanks...did the recordings come out ok?

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David

amazongirl

Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 90






Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:25 pm
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Hi Kurt et al.

Happy New Year!

Sorry I feel off the map for a spell. Beginning os spring session got me down.

Give me a night to chew on it. Of course as tropicalismo points out -- you have to make some compromises inevitably. I'm partial to playing around with the crazy rose bit....

Check back tomorrow.

Beijos,

Amazongirl

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"One thought fills immensity." -William Blake

amazongirl

Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 90






Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:38 pm
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Denis and Kurt,

ok-- so i'm ranting... sorry i'll apoligize in advance. first thanks for the request.... let's see if i can deliever. i think Denis has done a pretty good job. but a few things arise.

Quickly I want to respond a bit before giving a shot at the translation. I am digging around.... I haven't heard Luiza for awhile so I had to step back... the thing is the flower Rosa Louca is key to the song. Confederate rose doesn't work + it sounds way too patriotic anyway. Kurt are you planning on singing this in english or is this for translation purposes (web site) only? You could either use hibiscus flower or perhaps 'wild' rose? The analogy is key here-- in portuguese it often suggests a person who is sort of -- how shall I say, wishy-washy or fickle, liable to change their heart... Uncertain. Unstable. But very very beautiful. The rosa louca shows up in other poetry and literature symbolic as mysterious, a seductress, but like the flower full of contradictions (day/night) and subject to change at a whims notice. The Rosa Louca is a complex flower because it is both simple and at the same time complex-- fragile in certain contextual instances (light, temperature and humidity) but very resistant in other ways.....

I think there are a few places where you might go off slightly (i understand why) that changes the whole tone of the piece (at least for me)... for instance, 'Vem Ca, Luiza'-- you translate as 'come closer Luiza', but really in the tense used here here it is a COMMAND--one that you often hear said as an order, or when there might be some tension, or when someone is in trouble-- parents often tell their children--simply 'come here' NOW (also can be used like listen up...) adding 'closer' to the translation suggests that the two are already close. I would suggest that she is not. Like many Jobim's best pieces this love is unrequited.

To me there is a sense of urgency here. He says da-me tua boca-- which you translate as give me your lips (understandably)-- but really its give me your mouth... and although you might want to keep it like you already have it-- i think that for the lover in this piece-- lips aren't enough. There is a sense of devouring (or wanting/needing)-- hence the need for exorcism....

Also the seven thousand loves part-- you translated from guardei to kept inside of me. That's ok. But guardei-- guarded or protected are better choices-- there is more painstaking care in guarding or protecting something than keeping it.... again it is just a word choice-- but it changes the sense of urgency and maybe sacrafice(?)-- because that LOVE is SOMENTE-- ONLY (simply implies something else for me) to give to her.

I'll post a translation when I am done. I think ultimately it is a poet/artist's choice what word to use but it is important that you understand the context or the feeling Jobim is going for-- so whether you use hibiscus flower, crazy rose, wild flower, or confederate rose it doesn't matter as long as you get the point.


Hope this helps. More later,

Amazon Girl

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"One thought fills immensity." -William Blake

KE

Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 90
Location: Chicago





Very Nice
Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:52 am
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Thanks for all those insights, AG. I am happy to hear that some of my less literal suspicions have a basis in reality. I am eager to see what you come up with and see how it compares to Denis' version. (Denis has also done a version in French - He is a native French speaker - and I am interested to see if and how he will choose to change that version in light of what you bring.)

I am recording LUIZA only in Portuguese so, at least in the original, I hope to say that none of the poetic complexity of the text will be lost. This means that you need not stay with the original meter, as we have not. The meaning and its nuances are what is important to bring out. This is an exercise strictly for those who love the music and who come to this site to understand it better. Any suggestions you have will be most welcome.

Thanks once again to Denis for giving us a good place to start.

I should mention that my recording of this beautiful piece will be available only on itunes as a single download and will be considered a bonus cut on the European editions of NIGHTMOVES.

Best,

KE


dadaddyman

Joined: 15 Jul 2006
Posts: 30
Location: ATL, USA





Re: Very Nice
Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:59 am
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KE wrote:

I should mention that my recording of this beautiful piece will be available only on itunes as a single download and will be considered a bonus cut on the European editions of NIGHTMOVES.

Best,

KE


ooo..thanks for the heads up, KE. Will fire up itunes when the time is right!

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man!...I'm outta clean dishes again!?! Guess it's Wally World time!!

amazongirl

Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 90






Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:33 am
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Hi Guys,

Ok I think Denis did I fine job so I haven't changed much-- but I think the changes that I made help to change the overall tone-- you be the judge. I enlisted the help of my Brazilian colleague who is also a great Brazilian classical guitarist. The first stanza remains a riddle. But obviously in portuguese it is more about the meter and rhyme.

As you know this song was written for the great telenovella O Brilhante. It was about the usual love, sex, fame, money, and murder with a jewelry/gem designer as the leading lady--Luiza. Unfortunately neither Valerio and I can remember how it ends, so I can't give you any more insight beyond that.

You will find the portuguese version then mine (an update of Denis' below) broken down by stanza.

LUIZA A.C. Jobim

Rua
Espada nua
Boia no céu imensa e amarela
Tão redonda a lua
Como flutua
Vem navegando o azul do firmamento
E no silêncio lento
Um trovador, cheio de estrelas


Street.
A naked sword.
A bubble in the sky, huge and yellow
A moon so round
How it floats
Comes sailing over the blue firmament
And in still silence
A minstrel, full of stars

(This remains the most illusive stanza (for me)--3 things here—i think naked sword works fine bare blade would work too, or "sword drawn" or "drawn sword" (whatever you like better)-- the point is the sword is drawn and ready for battle. there is a popular children’s poem called O que esta? By Luisa Ducla Soares—it is a sort of jabberwockey-esque poem that is playful and contains the first line—rua espada nua. This may represent a visual illusion more or less —the moon is only large when in the horizon. This playfulness leads us to believe that he is referring to Boia no sabao—the popular child’s pastime of blowing soap bubbles…it also goes with the roundness of the moon. So I don’t think Buoy works as a literal translation. Second, troubadour works just fine but for some reason (folk/class status) I think minstrel works better here--there seems to be more of a sadness about them). Also I was tempted to change (but didn't --you decide) firmament to "heaven and sky" (for ease of reading mainly-- but as a word it is so much more--it is clouds and stars, sky and heaven, a celestial sphere, it is where God resides)


Escuta agora a canção que eu fiz
Pra te esquecer Luiza
Eu sou apenas um pobre amador
Apaixonado
Um aprendiz do teu amor
Acorda amor
Que eu sei que embaixo desta neve mora um coração

Now listen to the song I wrote
To forget you, Luiza
I am just a simple amateur
In love
An apprentice of your love
Wake up, Love
‘Cause I know underneath the snow lives a heart


Vem cá, Luiza
Me dá tua mão
O teu desejo é sempre o meu desejo
Vem, me exorciza
Dá-me tua boca
E a rosa louca
Vem me dar um beijo
E um raio de sol
Nos teus cabelos
Como um brilhante que partindo a luz
Explode em sete cores
Revelando então os sete mil amores
Que eu guardei somente pra te dar Luiza
Luiza, Luiza

Come here, Luiza
Give me your hand
Your desire is mine, always
Come, exorcize me
Give me your mouth
And a wild rose
Come, give me a kiss
And a ray of sun
in your hair
Like a diamond which, splitting light
Explodes in seven colors
Exposing then, the seven thousands loves
That I have guarded, only to give you, Luiza
Luiza, Luiza

(The biggest change here is the tense change you made to 7th line of the stanza (I changed it back), suggesting that she actually gives him a kiss when in reality he is only telling her to come here and give me a kiss, which she doesn’t. I would suggest that she is nowhere to be found. She is like the illusion in the first stanza…and he is left to remember the brilliance that he once had.)

Hope this helped. Good job guys. Can't wait to hear it.

Beijos,

Amazon Girl

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"One thought fills immensity." -William Blake

tropicalismo

Joined: 15 Jan 2007
Posts: 16
Location: When? Just now? mmm...





Beleza!
Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:17 pm
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Hi AmazonGirl, hi Kurt,

Just landed in DC.
And I see a lot has happened since I left the other side of the pond!
Exciting!
Thank you for enlightening us with all the background information on Luiza and AC Jobim, AmazonGirl. Really wonderful!

I must say when I started working on the translation, I thought I knew the song. In fact, I completely re-discovered it.
Well, I feel we've done justice to Jobim's work. I'm not completely sure about the "bubble" in the sky. Maybe we lose an element in the sky as the ocean metaphor...In spite of that "O que esta?" poem. But well, I was not so thrilled with the buoy, either!

Alright, with all this new information, I shall definitely take a fresh look at the French translation!
Thanks to you both. It was fun!

Beijos,
Ate mais,

Denis


amazongirl

Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 90






Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:27 pm
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Ola Denis,

My colleague and I actually got into a fight (we have worked together for years in Brazil so we basically fight about everything Smile about this bubble bit-- but it actually makes sense and well did you ever watch a bubble wander off-- navigating through the sky until it bursts--inevitably (like the explosion at the end of the song). Bubbles also have that luminiscent quality like the diamond.

If you are stuck on the sea metaphor-- I say you survey a few more native speakers before abandoning it.

And if Kurt ever wants to turn this into something to sing (an english version). I would be happy to work with either of you into making the english translation more poetic.

This is a great song that is rarely recorded mostly because of how difficult it is to sing. I look forward to hearing Kurt et als version!

Beijos,

Amazon Girl

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"One thought fills immensity." -William Blake

tropicalismo

Joined: 15 Jan 2007
Posts: 16
Location: When? Just now? mmm...





Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:59 pm
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Ola Amazon Girl,

Laughing Well, at least I feel my doubts were not unfounded.
Now, your arguments to keep this bubble alive are very convincing!
The explosion, the light quality...that bubble is a keeper. Very well done.

Yes! I'm, too, really looking forward to hearing Kurt's interpretation!
I enjoyed very much enjoyed Kurt's version of (louca?) Rosa Morena. Can't wait for the follow-up to Kurt's adventures into brazilian music.

Beijão,

Denis


tropicalismo

Joined: 15 Jan 2007
Posts: 16
Location: When? Just now? mmm...





Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:02 am
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Bom dia!

Woke up early (jetlag) with Luiza in my head!
After sleeping over it, doubts emerged again about this "rosa louca" Confused

First, remembering the interpretation --which, I felt, helped me a lot when I got stuck on the translation--
"E a rosa louca, Vem me dar um beijo" comes together as one.
Also, it's "a" (in english, "the") rosa louca and not "uma" (indefinite article "a") rosa louca.
It does mean he's getting that kiss...can still be imagining it! But isn't that kiss key to the "explosion" and somehow making this sun ray so magical to him. It all leads to deliverance.
How do you feel about this, Amazon Girl?
Kurt, you have first hand experience in interpreting the song. What do you reckon?
Good day to you both,

Denis

PS. by the way, in the tele-novela, Luiza is a jewelry designer wearing short hair! Apparently, that drove AC Jobim crazy as he wrote the song with a long-haired girl in mind (a sun ray in your hair)...


amazongirl

Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 90






Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:50 am
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Ola Denis,

You are right about the a/the mix-up-- that one slipped by me when working off of your translation!
However, the vem me dar um beijo-- that tense is imperative-- an order(?)...SOOOOOOOO I see that as him asking her to come. I guess it remains as a question-- whether she does OR not... The way that both my colleague and I interpret it is that this is about a romance gone a-wry. Meaning, he had the girl at one point (there is love between them-- requited once, but now unrequited) but he lost her. I think she is resisting him, but they still have somethings in common if she would only let her heart melt again-- i.e. they share the same passion (desires). So it isn't necessarily hopeless. The rosa louca symbolizes the trials and tribulations of any grand passion--it can drive anyone crazy! I am not sure that we have the answer to this question-- this is a guy calling her back to him. BUT still that rose is unpredictable-- so does he ultimately get her back? He might-- you may be right that kiss may be key to the explosion OR he might be remebering it....but we do know that he is asking her for that kiss-- I don't think that we have enough info here, maybe we aren't supposed to-- I suspect that is something only Jobim knows.... And well in my mind that would be for Kurt to decide....

I think this song has love (there was real love, not imagined, between them), loss, and possibility for deliverance-- but I can't say more beyond that-- and frankly I like the mystery.


OR we could all get together and watch the tele-novela and see if we learn anymore clues!!!!!!!! Gotta LOVE LOVE LOVE em!!!

Beijos,

Amazon Girl

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"One thought fills immensity." -William Blake

tropicalismo

Joined: 15 Jan 2007
Posts: 16
Location: When? Just now? mmm...





Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:27 am
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Ola Amazon Girl,

Yes, i like mystery, too.
However the more info I find out about the novela, the more I realize this song was written to fit the story line...
I understand that Jobim was extremely upset that the director cut the actress' hair without telling him, making the song not as relevant...Jobim accused him of betrayal and never forgave him. Very practical details, I agree. But they do tell us how Jobim worked on this composition.
Apparently, Luiza was not such a "rosa louca"...but the love between her and Paulo Cesar was not meant to be, made difficult by other protagonists...as you said, watching the novela would probably give us the key.
I'm not completely convinced that in "E a rosa louca vem me dar um beijo", the tense is imperative...doesn't it make sense as a whole sentence?

Well, we are faced with difficult choices, indeed...Keeping the mystery --I'm for it--or seing that song more as an illustration of the novela...(one not being exclusive of the other, of course)
On the whole, I believe, we remain faithful to Jobim's intentions...

Adorei trocar ideias!
Tudo de bom.

Denis


amazongirl

Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 90






Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:56 am
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Prazer Denis! 'Tou adorando tambem....

Yes what you say is true about Luiza in the novela--that the distance between them is caused by others mostly-- but there is a great deal of stubborness/fear on her behalf (as I recall...it was a long time ago and all these novelas run together although I remember it b/c it took place in the Pantanal -- one of my favorite places on earth). However, the rosa louca shows up in TONS of Brazilian poetry and usually symbolizes the trauma/pain/joy/difficulties associated with love/ and the sudden and constant changing face of love....most Brazilians who pick up on the metaphor would associate it with the things I spoke of in my first posting.

The novela might give us a greater picture-- BUT we are then operating on the assumption that Jobim knew the WHOLE story-line in advance (1) and that it is indeed represented in the song (2)-- rather than losely based (i.e. the hair, the diamond etc etc).... Now we're getting into deep philosophical stuff about representation and an artist's interpretation and intentions......

As far as my interpretation of "E a rosa louca vem me dar um beijo." I actually got into a fight with Valerio (like you I am an optimist that the kiss actually took place) about this bit too (yes, fighting with Brazilian men is my forte)... I can buy your interpretation IF we can look at the original scrore-- because we are interpreting these as seperate phrases based on the text as it was posted on this site-- you, on the otherhand, I can see are interpreting this as one phrase....

Vem cá, Luiza
Me dá tua mão

Dá-me tua boca
E a rosa louca

Vem me dar um beijo
E um raio de sol

(a series of impertatives)

vs. your "E a rosa louca vem me dar um beijo" ...

taken together it can indeed be as you say.... it might really have happened... Or he could just be thinking about it. As he sings it is hard to tell because of the rather quick nature of the phrasing and the repetition of the word vem....in the Jobim version it is quickly song BUT there is a glimmer of emphasis on the word vem that makes us think that it is indeed a seperate request.... Argh.
I guess it comes down to whether Kurt is an optimist or a pessimist?

If you think this is tough-- try translating Rumi into portuguese-- that was a something....I'm still recovering.

This is the most fun I have had in weeks. I am always accused of getting caught up in semantics (the poet in me), so its nice that those skills can actually be put to good use. Thanks!

Beijao,

Amazon Girl

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"One thought fills immensity." -William Blake

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