This week we want to celebrate love. I mean, love should be celebrated every second of our lives. But you know, this week there's the special event of Valentine's Day week and all. So we will be traveling around the world celebrating love – with beautiful images from travelers, and international poetry.

The mythical Ipanema Beach, in Rio de Janeiro

Love Traveling The World

By Lucas Compan, a guest storyteller

 Today's poetry comes from an internationally known Brazilian songwriter and poet. Vinícius de Moraes (October 19, 1913 - July 9, 1980,) Born Marcus Vinícius da Cruz de Mello Moraes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His father, a scholar and poet, named Vinícius after a character in Henryk Sienkiewicz's historical novel Quo Vadis. Born into a family that loved books and music, Vinícius pursued both fields and was an instrumental figure in modern Brazilian music. As a poet, he wrote lyrics for songs, which have become classic songs, all time hits such as Garota de IpanemaInsensatez and Chega de Saudade.

Garota de Ipanema (The Girl From Ipanema) carries a mythical story, told here Bill DeMain, music journalist and musician. It was Summer 1962. Rio de Janeiro. At the Veloso Bar, a block from the beach at Ipanema, two friends—the composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and the poet Vinícius de Moraes—are drinking Brahma beer and musing about their latest song collaboration.

The duo favor the place for the good brew and the even better girl-watching opportunities. Though both are married men, they’re not above a little ogling. Especially when it comes to a neighborhood girl nicknamed Helô. Eighteen-year-old Heloisa Eneida Menezes Pais Pinto is a Carioca—a native of Rio. She’s tall and tan, with emerald green eyes and long, dark wavy hair. They’ve seen her passing by, as she’s heading to the beach or coming home from school. She has a way of walking that de Moraes calls “sheer poetry.”

Legend has it that Jobim and de Moraes were so inspired by this shapely coed, they wrote a song for her right on the bar napkins. It’s a good story, but it’s not quite true.


LIsten to the one of the first versions of 'The Girl From Ipanema', performed by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz (1964)

Garota de Ipanema / The Girl From Ipanema (Original lyrics in Brazilian Portuguese)

Lyrics

Olha que coisa mais linda,
Mais cheia de graça
É ela menina
Que vem que passa
Num doce balanço
Caminho do mar

Moça do corpo dourado
Do sol de Ipanema
O seu balançado
É mais que um poema
É a coisa mais linda
Que eu já vi passar

Ah, porque estou tão sozinho
Ah, porque tudo e tão triste
Ah, a beleza que existe
A beleza que não é só minha
Que também passa sozinha

Ah, se ela soubesse
Que quando ela passa
O mundo sorrindo
Se enche de graça
E fica mais lindo
Por causa do amor

Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes
Each one she passes goes, aaaaaah

When she walks, she's like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gently
That when she passes
Each one she passes goes, aaaaaah

Ooh, but he watches so sadly
How can he tell her he loves her
Yes, he would give his heart gladly
But each day, when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at him

Tall, and tan, and young, and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes
He smiles, but she doesn't see

Ooh, but he sees her so sadly
How can he tell her he loves her
Yes, he would give his heart gladly
But each day, when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at him

Tall, and tan, and young, and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes
He smiles, but she doesn't see


Following their success composing songs for the 1959 film Black Orpheus, the writers began work on a musical comedy. Conceived by de Moraes, it was called Blimp and concerned a Martian who arrives in Rio during the height of Carnaval. And what might impress a little green man the most about our planet? A beautiful girl in a bikini, of course.

Vinicius de Moraes e Pablo Neruda

Jobim and de Moraes were stalled two verses in on the song they called “Menina que Passa” (“The Girl Who Passes By”). They needed a fresh breeze of inspiration, something vivid to stir their alien visitor’s blood. Conjuring up the vision of their favorite hip-swaying distraction, they poured out all their secret longing and lust into the newly titled “Garota da Ipanema.”

Though Blimp never got off the ground, the tune became not only a hit in Brazil, but the international calling card for a style of music that charmed the world—bossa nova.

Vinicius de Moraes, Elizabeth Cardoso e Baden Powell

While Helô inspired the song, it was another Carioca who carried it beyond Rio. Astrud Gilberto was just the wife of singing star João Gilberto when she entered a NYC studio in March 1963. João and Jobim were making a record with tenor saxman Stan Getz. The idea of cutting a verse on “Ipanema” in English came up, and Astrud was the only one of the Brazilians who spoke more than phrasebook English.

Astrud’s child-like vocal, devoid of vibrato and singerly mannerisms, was the perfect foil for her husband’s soft bumblebee voice. Jobim tinkled piano. Getz blew a creamy smooth tenor. Four minutes of magic went to tape.

Vinicius de Moraes

A year later, the song was casting its quiet spell of sea and sand on the charts, washing past the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” It peaked in mid-June at No. 5, selling over two million copies.

“The Girl From Ipanema” went on to become the second-most recorded popular song in history, behind “Yesterday.” Covered by an A-Z gamut of performers, it’s become the ultimate cliché of elevator music—shorthand for the entire lounge revival of the ’90s.

Vinicius De Moraes and Helô Pinheiro, (in 1960, when she was an 18-year-old teenager) the girl that inspired him to write the most iconic Bossa Nova song.

Over the years, Helô Pinheiro (her married name) enjoyed country-wide fame, ranking with Pelé as one of the goodwill ambassadors of Brazil. She never settled on an occupation, dabbling in acting, then running a modeling agency. In 1987, she posed nude for Playboy(and again in 2003, with her daughter Ticiane). In 2001, Helô opened the Girl From Ipanema clothing boutique in a Rio shopping center.

Shortly after, the heirs of Jobim (who died in 1994) and de Moraes (who died in 1980) filed a lawsuit, claiming Helô was only inadvertently involved in the song’s creation and didn’t have the right to use it for commercial purposes.

'Veloso Bar' (now 'Garota de Ipanema') and the table where Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim composed the famous song in 1962 – a poem to celebrate love.

Helô says, “I never made a cent from ‘The Girl From Ipanema,’ nor do I claim that I should. Yet now that I’m using a legally registered trademark, they want to prohibit me from being the girl from Ipanema. I’m sure that Antonio and Vinícius would never question the use of the name.”

After much ugliness in and out of court, Helô was able to keep the name for her boutique. Today, she reflects on the early ’60s in Ipanema with nostalgia. “I like the time when everything was prettier because of love, as it says in the Portuguese version of the song. I am still touched when somebody plays the song in my honor.”


One of the most famous poems composed by Vinicius

Sonnet of Fidelity

Above all, to my love I'll be attentive
First and always, with care and so much
That even when facing the greatest enchantment
By love be more enchanted my thoughts.

I want to live it through in each vain moment
And in its honor I'll spread my song
And laugh my laughter and cry my tears
When you are sad or when you are content.

And thus, when later comes looking for me
Who knows, the death, anxiety of the living,
Who knows, the loneliness, end of all lovers

I'll be able to say to myself of the love (I had):
Be not immortal, since it is flame
But be infinite while it lasts.


One of the most popular versions of 'The Girl From Ipanema' was recorded by Stan Getz on his "Live at Tanglewood" album. Lou Rawls, Sarah Vaughn, The Ray Charles Singers, Diana Krall, Cher, Nat King Cole, and Amy Winehouse, among many others, have recorded this tune. Enjoy the original U.S. version and one performed by Frank Sinatra


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