Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Aquarela" ("Watercolor")

A song for an overcast Thursday (overcast at least here in the Pacific Northwest)—the beautiful music & words of “Aquarela” by Toquinho & Vinicius de Moraes. “Aquarela” translates to “Watercolor.”

For those of you whose Portuguese is a bit rusty, I’ve included a translation following the video. This is based on a version from the Lyrics Translate site, but I’ve altered a fair amount, since the original translator seemed to have some problems with English idioms—& in a couple of places I’ve taking some minor liberties in order to suggest (I hope) some of the lyrical beauty of the original. For those who are interested, the Portuguese words are here. One point: the repeated phrase at the song’s end, “Que descolorirá” (translated as “which will fade someday”) is cognate, as you can see, with “discolor,” so the idea of color fading away is right on the surface; it's also a verb that would be used to describe fabric dyes fading in the laundry. The original translator added “someday,” which isn’t in the Portuguese, but I kept it because it gives the impression of an action that takes place gradually & at an indefinite time, which seems very much in the spirit of the song.

Just beautiful!


On a sheet of paper
I draw a yellow sun
And with five or six straight lines
it’s easy to draw a castle

I trace my fingers with the pencil
and there’s a glove on the paper.
And if I draw the rain,
by just stroking two dashes,
I have an umbrella

If just a drop of paint
drips on a blue portion of my drawing,
for an instant I imagine it to be
a beautiful gull, flying in the sky

And the gull flies on and on
tracing a huge line over the horizon,
from the north to the south.
And I'm flying along with her
Over Hawaii
Beijing or Istanbul.
I paint a sailboat,
sailing smoothly away
There's so much of the sky and sea's immensity
in the blue-green color

Through the clouds a beautiful airplane,
pink and granite-gray, flies over
its colors tingeing all the surroundings,
as it passes by, lights blinking and flashing

With a little imagination,
I see it taking off, serenely, beautifully
And if you want,
I can make it land

On any sheet of paper,
I can draw a sailboat leaving the quay,
with me and some of my friends on it
drinking and having a good time, all at peace with life

From America to America,
I can travel in just a blink.
I just turn a compass around
and with a circle I draw the world.

A boy is walking on and on
until he reaches a wall
Over this wall, not too far from it,
the future is waiting for us

And the future is a spaceship
that we try to pilot.
But the future’s hurried and relentless.
There's no right time for it to come,
and without asking or warning us,
it just changes our lives
and then it beckons us
to cry or to laugh together

Along this road, it's not our duty
to know or see what's coming to us
No one surely knows where it's taking us
We're just going on the way
crossing a beautiful footbridge
painted in watercolor
that someday will fade after all

On a sheet of paper, I draw a yellow sun
(which will fade someday)
And with five or six straight lines I draw a castle
(which will fade someday)
I just turn a compass around
and with a circle I draw the world
(which will fade someday)

Translation from the Lyrics Translate site, modified by yours truly 

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons.
A watercolour painting set. by Björn Laczay 

The image is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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