Susan and I went to see Sergio Mendes at Ram’s Head Tavern in Annapolis this year, nearly 50 years after we first saw him in Pittsburgh. During the months before the show, I listened to a lot of Brazilian music, and made some playlists. When I’m working but need something to drown out background distractions, I sometimes listen to instrumental music or non-English songs.
Among the songs I liked well enough to look into was Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Águas de Março (Waters of March). This is an unusual song based on a sort of stream-of-consciousness poem he wrote at his country place, when the torrential rains of March in Brazil made the road impassable. I’ve read that it was once voted the greatest Brazilian song. Jobim also translated the poem into English. I have many renditions of the song, in Portuguese, English and French.
It occurred to me that it might be interesting to make new versions of the poem, with words that evoke people, places or events in my own life. It then occurred to me that it might be fun to engage Ren in a project to make versions based on things we share from time to time, potentially over several years.
It also occurred to me that if an instrumental version of the song is available, it could be used as background (like karaoke) to sing the new poems.
- In the Castle Knob scheme, this project is identified as CK-0-MB-WM.
- I started by making a document with the original Portuguese lyrics next to Jobim’s English lyrics. I might be able notate the structure the poem should follow to fit the music (emphasis and rhymes).
- I downloaded an instrumental version of the song by Ernest Coleman. I don’t know if this matches the original or the English version (which has a couple of extra lines).