Monday, February 14, 2005

Because of love

You'll have to excuse me but i'm a romantic. I'll post some embarassing comic banter, anal rententive analysation of some comic scheme or clumsily worded reviews later.
Today, in the spirit of the day, its all about a song i love; Girl from Ipanema.

i don't know why, or even when i started my adoration for it but there's something just hypnotic about this song, it never leaves my mp3 player and if a band is taking requests I'll request it (usually at functions - not down at the pub).

In Bali there are restuarants on the beach where you sit at tables, on the sand, facing the sunset and roving musicians take requests. I asked for "Girl from ipanema", they looked at each other worried and apologised that they didn't know all the words. Well they mumbled there way through it and the bin tang helped my appreciation of their attempt. But I couldn't help myself and had to hastily scribble down the words and got them to do it again later that night.

The tune is infinitly hum-able, on the rare occassions when the theme to the "graduate" isn't running in my head ("Mrs robinson" is my 'rush to get things' done song), its "girl from ipanema". It usually doesn't matter what mood i'm in, its always the right song.

The song was written by Brazillian musician Antonio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinicius de Moraes and centres around a young woman who would pass by a bar near Ipanema beach and would get the attention of the drinking patrons. After the song was released the actual girl Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto, or Helo, became a celebrity and now has her own fashion line and chain of boutiques. Until I saw a doco about the subject, i thought she was just a figment of imagination, and embodiment of latin beauty, not a real person. But she exists and she's kind of like a precursor to today's reality tv star; a person with actual no talent (well she may have some talent - i dunno), propelled into the public sphere by the media (ie song not of her creation) and then building opportunities and wealth on that exposure.

Socially, there is a whole controversy about how the song has impacted the idea of beauty in Brazil. There's annual 'girl from ipanema' beauty contest, and apparently, the winners are usually blonde and tan, which is actually a small proporation of the multicultral and multiracial population; mainly african or hispanic descedants. The contest perpetrates one type or idea of beauty, which is actually not the message of the original song.

The english lyrics (by Norman Gimbel) are nice, sweet and kind of goofy (the "aaah" parts). The crux of the song is

Oh, 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 he.

Essentially the song is about unrequited love. The most interesting type of love when it comes to art; the love of wanting and fear, of greed and vulnerability.

But my sensitive politically correct side can't really justify the portrayal of beauty as being "tall and tan", especially when my own love is 5'4" and and of english/northern italian ancestry who's skin is either white or burnt and nothing inbetween. (me I'm decsdent from rampaging turks and tan up ok when i actually leave the house). To get over this pointless ethical dilema I prefer the original portuguese lyrics, because by not understanding portuguese I can be happy in the bliss of my ignorance. But the translation is interesting.

Look, such a sight, so beautiful,
So filled with grace,
Is she, this girl who comes and who passes,
In sweet balance, on her way to the sea.

Girl with body of gold
From the sun of Ipamena,
Her balance
Is more than a poem,
Is a sight more beautiful
Than I have ever seen pass by.

Ah, why am I so alone?
Why is there so much sadness?
This beauty that exists,
This beauty that is not for me,
Who also passes by alone.

Ah, if she but knew,
That when she passes by,
The World smiles,
Is filled with grace,
And becomes more beautiful,
Because of love.

Its not about unrequited love, a love based on wanting. Where as the english version (written in the mounting consumerism of post war america) ends with

and when she passes
he smiles
but she doesn't see.
She just doesn't see.
No, she doesn't see....

kind of blaming the girl for not seeing the guy (ie stalker) and throwing herself at him. The original version is more about beauty - the simple appreciation of love and beauty. Only one line is about the physical "Girl with body of gold" everything else can be said about every woman. Its about appreciate the concept of beuaty and being thankful we (men) have the fortune of mingling with the personification of that beuaty (women). Every guy can appreciate every woman, (even my gay friends appreciate their clothes).

So the lesson is Females are cool
So enjoy your valentines day, either being with the girl you love or just appreciating ladies exist.

Tommorrow - Why WWF is better than WWE and how to glass someone without spilling your bundy and coke.


Ian T. said...

Mark, I agree! I play "Girl From Ipanema" on the piano and it has the most divine seventhy chord modulations imaginable!

Does WWF mean the Worldwide Fund for Nature? I'm a member and *any* money sent to them is well-spent.


Ian T.

Ian T. said...

Actually, I'm figuring "WWF" probably means wrestling...

Olivia Sharpe said...

I got to your blog by googling "Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto" because I wanted to find a picture of her.
I didnt, but I decided to read your entry anyways and I just loved it!
you see, I am Brazilian and I've grown up listening to bossa nova, and yes, to Garota de Ipanema. And as much as I love this song, I kinda got used to it. But now that I've read your post I have more appreciacion for it... its good to know what other people think about it, especially when they like it so much like you do.
i particularly like the conclusion "females are cool."
(oh, and its more like, "girl with the golden body" not "body of gold" less like an idol, more like a goddess)
see ya