Carta Ao Tom
Toquinho e Vinicius de Moraes
for the little Coomes: a translation of her favorite Brazilian song
Carta ao Tom 74 (Letter to Tom 74)
—Vinicius de Moraes (translation mine)
(This song takes the form of a letter from Vinicius de Moraes to Antônio Carlos (“Tom”) Jobim in recollection of their recording the album “Canção de amor demais” with Elizete Cardoso, the “garota famosa” of the song. The LP is considered the first bossa nova album and marked a turning point in the careers of Moraes, Jobim and Toquinho. What’s more, it was on this album that João Gilberto, then undiscovered, had his debut. The song is a nostalgic harkening back to those days of relative anonymity—before bossa nova; before fame)
Rua Nascimento Silva, cento e sete
Você ensinando prá Elizete
as canções de “Canção do amor demais”
Lembra que tempo feliz, ai que saudade,
Ipanema era só felicidade
Era como se o amor doesse em paz
Nossa famosa garota nem sabia
A que ponto a cidade turvaria
este Rio de amor que se perdeu
Mesmo a tristeza da gente era mais bela
e além disso se via da janela
Um cantinho de céu e o Redentor
É, meu amigo, só resta uma certeza,
é preciso acabar com essa tristeza
É preciso inventar de novo o amor
Letter to Tom
107 Nascimento Silva Street:
(I’m thinking of) you teaching Elizete
the songs from “Canção do amor demais.”
Remember that sweet time? Oh how I miss it:
Ipanema was nothing but happiness,
It was as if love itself were pining in peace.
Not even our little celebrity knew
At what point the city would dim into
that love-fiilled Rio that we’d come to lose.
Even the sadness of the people was so beautiful,
And what’s more we could see from the window
A little corner of the sky and the Redentor.
Yes, my friend. All that’s left is this certainty:
It’s time to end all this sadness.
It’s time to invent love once more.