Friday, August 14, 2009


Poor Choice for Wheel Block

I am feeling a bit of melancholly after attending my 30 year reunion to Memorial High School in Newark, California and a bit of anxiousness after our dress rehearsal tonight for our Saturday garden performance. The band is a group of us who took Rhan Wilson's Uke U class. I really wanted to take this class to build confidence in performing and singing. So this is going to be a real test and I haven't made it very easy on myself. I try to remind myself that by continuing to put myself in front of others I will improve each time.
The challenge is singing The Girl from Ipanema. It IS a challenging song and I made it more difficult by enthusiastically requesting to sing Garota de Ipanema in Brazilian Portuguese. The song is memorized but not truly "mastered" and those darn Aaaahs:
Aaaah! porque estou tao sozinho Oh, why am I so alone?
Aaaah! porque tudo a tao triste Ah! why is everything so sad?
Aaaah! a beleza que existe Ah! the beauty that is there.
I have been torturing my extremely tolerant bandmate's eardrums for quite a while now. There was some talk about eliminating it from the set list. But the band really likes the tune and I have invested so much time preparing and memorizing it would seem a crime to eliminate. After all everything was about improving skills, this is a test along the way.
That leads me to the next topic. I am still not comfortable with the microphone and there is a much different sound or movement of sound that takes some getting used to. I think I should get a mic and a reasonably-priced quality recorder for home practice. I'll have to ask my research assistant Dougie C. to dig up some (more) info for me.
Playing in a band is probably the best vehicle for forcing yourself to spend time memorizing all of the songs chords and words.


  1. There's a PBS documentary floating around with Sinatra & Jobim performing the song. Frank sings in English & when Tom (playing guitar) begins in Portuguese, Sinatra says something along the lines of, "The only way to do it." And he's right. The English rendering is stilted & staccato (especially in the Getz/Gilberto hit song version) when the song calls out for a lushness & a sensuousness present in the native tongue to a much greater degree than in ours.

  2. Portuguese is one of the Romantic Languages and Brazilian Portuguese tends to blend words so that when sung is quite fluid. The english and BP versions are sung quite differently. BP like a poem of longing. The english language version evolved in a different manner as a Samba of love.

    I have a translation:

    Look, what a most beautiful thing there
    Moreover, full of grace,
    And she, this girl that comes and goes
    with this sweet, swinging gait,
    Along the way to the sea...

    This girl with the golden body
    from the Ipanema sun
    Her swinging gate is more than a poem
    And the most beautiful thing
    That I ever saw go by.

    Ah! why am I so alone?
    Ah! Why is everything so sad?
    Ah! the beauty that is there!
    The beauty that is not mine...
    That is passing by alone.

    Ah! if she only knew that when she passes by
    The world is smiling filling up with grace
    And turns more beautiful
    Because of love
    Because of love
    Because of love

  3. Hello my humble-uker -

    Please note that my suggestion of elimination was not because of YOU, it was because of me. I did not hear the song right in my head and wasn't happy with my performance. Sheila will do a beautiful job and now I've had extra time to work on the chords, so I will contribute in a better way. Sing on my friend.