Aquarela – Toquinho

13 Jan 2017

Toquinho – Aquarela (Watercolour) – 1983

Along with Romaria (Elis Regina version) and Canção da América (Milton Nascimento) this is another song from my childhood that makes me feel very emotional and melancholic whenever I hear it. I can’t even try to sing along to Canção da América because I always burst into tears! Canção da América is about saying goodbye to a friend and about meeting again one day. For someone who moved around a few times as a child and left friends behind it’s quite powerful. But that’s a whole other story, so moving on to the subject at hand…

I found Aquarela recently on YouTube, while looking for children’s songs in Portuguese to play to my granddaughter.
This is the full compilation ->

These songs transport me back to my own childhood and it’s basically a ready made ‘inheritance track’ (in this case a soundtrack) that I play for my little beloved whenever she’s here (which is at least once a week). All the tracks but one in there I know very well, and I still remembered most of the lyrics even though I hadn’t heard some of them for well over 25 years! I’m not entirely sure Aquarela and João E Maria – Nara Leão e Chico Buarque (first track) were made specifically for children? But given that they were a big part of children’s lives growing up in the 70s and 80s it just makes perfect sense to have them there. I can’t thank the people who put these together enough! They also made the animation and subtitles, so a lot of work and love was put into these.

Some of the tracks are from the Os Saltimbancos album which I was already playing for her a lot. This is one of the great things about the internet, when my son was a baby getting hold of these songs would have been difficult and expensive and now it’s all there a few clicks away FOR FREE.

My granddaughter is just over a year old and the chances of her being fluent in Portuguese with only ONE Portuguese speaking grandmother are very slim. But I hope she will learn the words to these, which in turn will give her the potential to have good diction in Portuguese, if she ever chooses to learn it. I’m basically just playing A LOT of brazilian music and videos (including a lot of capoeira) hoping to gently plant seeds in her beautiful mind.

So much is lost in translation here, including the poetic flow of the words, but I felt like translating it to see what it would look like in English. I promise you it does not sound contrived or cheesy at all in Portuguese!!!!

Numa folha qualquer eu desenho um sol amarelo
I draw a yellow sun on any old piece of paper

E com cinco ou seis retas é fácil fazer um castelo
And with five or six lines it’s easy to build a castle

Corro um lápis em torno da mão e me dou uma luva
I run the pencil along the outline of my hand and give myself a glove

E se faço chover com dois riscos tenho um guarda-chuva
And if I make it rain with two squiggles I have an umbrella

Se um pinguinho de tinta cai num pedacinho azul do papel
If a tiny drop of paint falls on a tiny blue bit of paper

Num instante imagino uma linda gaivota a voar no céu
I instantly imagine a beautiful seagull flying in the sky

Vai voando contornando a imensa curva norte-sul
It goes flying, contouring the vast north-south curve

Vou com ela viajando Havaí, Pequim ou Istambul
I go with it travelling Hawaii, Peking or Istanbul.

Pinto um barco à vela branco navegando
I paint a white sail boat navigating

É tanto céu e mar num beijo azul
There’s so much sky and sea in a blue kiss

Entre as nuvems vem surgingo um lindo avião rosa e grená
A beautiful pink and grenade airplane is emerging between the clouds

Tudo em volta colorindo com suas luzes a piscar…
Everything around becoming colourful with its flashing lights

Basta imaginar e ele está partindo, sereno e lindo
It’s enough to imagine and it departs, serene and beautiful

E se a gente quiser ele vai pousar…
And if we want it will land…

Numa folha qualquer eu desenho um navio de partida
I draw a parting ship on any old piece of paper

Com alguns bons amigos bebendo de bem com a vida…
With a few good friends, drinking and at peace with life…

De uma América a outra eu consigo passar num segundo
I can go from one America to another in one second.

Giro um simples compasso e num círculo eu faço o mundo…
I turn a simple compass and in a circle I draw the world

Um menino caminha e caminhando chega num muro
A boy walks and walking he arrives at a wall

E ali logo em frente a esperar pela gente o futuro está
And there straight ahead waiting for us is the future

E o futuro é uma astronave que tentamos pilotar
And the future is a spaceship we try to pilot

Não tem tempo nem piedade nem tem hora de chegar
It has no time nor piety nor a time to arrive

Sem pedir licença muda nossa vida e depois convida a rir ou chorar
Without asking for permission it changes our life and then invites us to laugh or cry

Nessa estrada não nos cabe conhecer ou ver o que virá
We can’t know or see what’s coming on this road

No fim dela ninguém sabe bem ao certo onde vai dar
No one knows for sure where the end of it will lead

Vamos todos numa linda passarela de uma aquarela
Let’s all go on a beautiful watercolour walkway

Que um dia em fim descolorirá
Which one day will finally fade

Numa folha qualquer eu desenho um sol amarelo
I draw a yellow sun on any old piece of paper
Que descolorirá! (which will fade!)

E com cinco ou seis retas é fácil fazer um castelo
And with five or six lines it’s easy to build a castle
Que descolorirá! (which will fade!)

Giro um simples compasso e num círculo eu faço o mundo
I turn a simple compass and in a circle I draw the world
Que descolorirá! (which will fade!)

02 Feb 2018
How to play on the guitar. (here you can select different difficult level depending on your expertise – I’m currently a novice so I selected the ‘simplify’ option)

1 thought on “Aquarela – Toquinho”

  1. This is great! I follow your blog for capoeira and capoeira music but am also learning portuguese here in Canada. I have 3 kids and we are learning together so this will be a fun addition!


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