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Sampa (English translation)

  • Artist: Caetano Veloso
  • Song: Sampa
  • Translations: English #1, #2
English translationEnglish

Sampa (it's a nickname for the city of São Paulo/BR)

Versions: #1#2#3
(the first three lines on the text on line are the name of the song and of the singer/songwriter, it starts at “Alguma coisa”)
Something happens in my heart
Only when it crosses Ipiranga and São João Avenue (two streets in the city)
When I got here I didn't understand anything
Not the concrete poetry of your street corners
Not the discreet inelegance of your girls
I didn't know Rita Lee (a singer from São Paulo)
Your most thorough interpretation
Something happens in my heart
Only when it crosses Ipiranga and São João Avenue
When we were face to face I didn't recognized myself
I called what I saw bad taste, I called bad taste, bad taste
Because Narcissus thinks that what is not a mirror is ugly
And what is not yet old scares the mind
Nothing from before when you are not a mutant (Mutantes was the name of Rita Lee's band)
And you were a difficult beginning
I get away of what I don't know
And those who sell a different dream of a happy city
Soon learn to call you reality
Because your are the other side of the other side of the other side of the side
From the people oppressed in the waiting lines, in the small streets, in shanty towns
From the power of the money rising and destroying beauty
From the ugly smoke that rises and erases the stars
I can see your poets of fields and space
Your forest factories, your rain gods rise
Pan-Americas from utopian Africas, tomb of samba
The newest of Zumbi's quilombo (a village created by escaped slaves)
And the new baianos “promenade” thru your garoa (a kind of rain typical from São Paulo, that doesn't really fall almost like a very wet and windy mist)
And the new baianos can enjoy you leisurely
thanked 53 times
Submitted by marqmlcmarqmlc on Wed, 14/04/2010 - 14:47
Added in reply to request by dextepaynedextepayne
Author's comments:

This song is a declaration of love/hate to the city of São Paulo, one of the largest cities of the world and the richest city in Brazil. Caetano, who wrote it is from a state called Bahia, i.e. baiano as in the last two lines. Novos Baianos is, also, the name of a band from Bahia who tried working in São Paulo. Zumbi was a slave that started the largest quilombo of the country during the 19th century. Poetas de campos is a reference to two famous modern poets from São Paulo called Campos. In São Paulo, you can find people from all over the world but people from Latin America and Africa look at home without changing most of their habits and sometimes you feel like your are in another country or continent. And I think he calls it the tomb of samba because he doesn't like the samba made here. To understand more you have to go there.



algebraalgebra    Mon, 13/06/2011 - 07:50

Beautiful translation. However, I think you should use the preposition "of" or "about" in the early lines. That is "I didn't understand anything about the concrete poetry..." and so on. Would your "NOT" give an idea of exclusion as the text flows to the next line? I mean "I didn't understand anything, except", this is not the case here.

domurodomuro    Wed, 27/03/2019 - 16:14

The source lyrics have been updated. Please review your translation.

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