Antonio Carlos Jobim: “Águas of Março”

The Girl from Ipanema, most famously performed by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, is almost certainly the best known bossa nova song. It was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim who also wrote the equally pretty and far more esoteric Águas of Março, which translates to The Waters of March.

In fact, Jobim wrote the song twice: in English and Portuguese. The English version, sung by Jobim, is above. The Portuguese version in this clip is performed by Jobim and Elis Regina.

The first four verses set the tone:

A stick, a stone,
It’s the end of the road,
It’s the rest of a stump,
It’s a little alone

It’s a sliver of glass,
It is life, it’s the sun,
It is night, it is death,
It’s a trap, it’s a gun

The oak when it blooms,
A fox in the brush,
A knot in the wood,
The song of a thrush

The wood of the wind,
A cliff, a fall,
A scratch, a lump,
It is nothing at all

Here is a bit of Jobim’s bio from AllMusic:

It has been said that Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim was the George Gershwin of Brazil, and there is a solid ring of truth in that, for both contributed large bodies of songs to the jazz repertoire, both expanded their reach into the concert hall, and both tend to symbolize their countries in the eyes of the rest of the world. With their gracefully urbane, sensuously aching melodies and harmonies, Jobim‘s songs gave jazz musicians in the 1960s a quiet, strikingly original alternative to their traditional Tin Pan Alley source.

There is a tremendous amount of bossa nova beyond Jobim. But he certainly is the place to start.