Time to learn Portuguese with ‘The Girl from Ipanema’

Rio de Janeiro is by far the most popular destination in Brazil among oversea tourists. Not only for the city’s breathtaking landscape – which you can check out at our ‘Rio de Janeiro: the Marvellous City’ post in the Travel section of our blog – but also for the laid-back lifestyle of the cariocas (people from Rio), which attracts the international community’s attention.

How would I describe the cariocas’ soul? They are relaxed people who appreciate the simple and good things of life. Do you need further details to understand their lifestyle more deeply? Just listen to the song ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ performed by Caetano Veloso and Roberto Carlos:

Love and admiration for women were what inspired two good friends to compose ‘Garota de Ipanema’ – its original title in Portuguese. Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, famous Brazilian musicians, fallen in love with women who passed by in front of them while they were in a bar in the fashionable Ipanema district in Rio de Janeiro. But one in particular was different and captured their attention: a ‘tall, tan, young and lovely’ girl who, when walked, was ‘like samba that swings so cool and sways so gentle’. Her name is Helô Pinheiro, a seventeen-year-old and attractive teenager who used to turn heads wherever she passed by.

In 1962, the melody was composed by Tom Jobim in his piano and Vinícius de Moraes wrote the lyrics. The most important symbol of the Bossa Nova movement was born: ‘Garota de Ipanema’. Only two years after that Helô Pinheiro got to know that the song was inspired by her.


The song got international repercussion. Norman Gimbel wrote the English lyrics. In Frank Sinatra’s voice, it was eternalized. Even Amy Winehouse sung it.

Garota de Ipanema is the second most-recorded song in the world, only after Yesterday, by The Beatles.

Although Helô Pinheiro was the inspiration, the song is not only about her, but about the universal feeling of that anyone in world can feel when a beautiful woman catches someone’s attention. It’s about feelings, inspiration and lifestyle.

Ready to sing?


Garota de Ipanema

Olha que coisa mais linda
Mais cheia de graça
É ela menina
Que vem e que passa
Seu doce balanço, a caminho do mar

Moça do corpo dourado
Do sol de Ipanema
O seu balançado é mais que um poema
É a coisa mais linda que eu já vi passar

Ah, porque estou tão sozinho
Ah, porque tudo é tão triste
Ah, a beleza que existe
A beleza que não é só minha
Que também passa sozinha

Ah, se ela soubesse
Que quando ela passa
O mundo inteirinho se enche de graça
E fica mais lindo
Por causa do amo

The girl from Ipanema

Look, what a beautiful thing
So graceful
She is the girl
That comes and goes by
In her sweet swing heading to the sea

Girl of the golden brown tan
From the Ipanema sun
Her swing is more than a poem
She is the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever seen going by

Ah, why am I so alone?
Ah, why is everything so sad?
Ah, the beauty that exists
The beauty that is not only mine
That also goes by alone

Ah, if she knew
That when she goes by
The whole world fills with joy
And it becomes more beautiful
Because of love


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Posted in Learn a Language with songs and movies
One comment on “Time to learn Portuguese with ‘The Girl from Ipanema’
  1. anonymous says:

    The Portuguese lyric is “O mundo sorrindo se enche de graca”

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