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Águas de Março (Waters of March) and Elis Regina


March in Paris has started by two very rainy days, and this makes me think of my favourite bossa nova song: Águas de Março (1972), by Brazilian musician and composer Antônio Carlos Jobim (1927-1994), who wrote the music and both Portuguese and English lyrics; inspired by the rainiest month in Rio de Janeiro, this song is a sort of stream of consciousness, describing all the material - and even unmaterial - things the flood water of March carries at the end of the Brazilian summer.


While autumn is beginning in Rio de Janeiro, here in Paris spring is coming back and the rain is a blessing for the earth (grass, flowers, plants, trees) and all the beautiful creatures (bugs, birds, reptiles and little mammals) living in the parks and the gardens of the Ville Lumière.



Above, a picture taken by me in my beloved Parisian park, on Friday 1st March. The same day I made the little artwork below:



Saturday 2nd March was even rainy than Friday, so, in the evening, I sang Águas de Março during a "Piano qui chante" ("Singing Piano") session. Even if I don't speak Portuguese, I tried to sing this beautiful song in the mother tongue of Tom Jobim and the regretted singer Elis Regina Carvalho Costa (1945 - 1982), who was already dead when, as a small child, I discovered this lovely song and her stunning version, which is also the first one which was officially recorded by Tom Jobim.



Elis Regina in 1964. Unknown photographer.

Fair use. Source:

I love this 1973 live version of Águas de Março filmed for a MPB Especial TV broadcast: Elis Regina's smile is like a rainbow, colouring the black and white tape.



I dearly wish I had seen this video when I was a teenager because seeing Elis Regina's broad smile, unveiling her gums towards the end of the song, would have made me proud to have the same gummy smile when I'm greatly amused and very happy. It took many years to me to realize that, when I am smiling so freely that my upper gums are visible, there's nothing to be ashamed of, because it's a beautiful, natural smile.




Elis Regina's lovely gummy smile.

Screenshots made by me, from the YouTube video shared above.


Sadly, Elis Regina died prematurely nine years later this TV broadcast, on 19th January 1982, killed by a mix of cocaine, vermouth and tranquillizers: she would have turned 37 two months later, on 17th March.

This post is dedicated to her, who cannot see and sing Águas de Março anymore.

Ars longa, vita brevis.

(C) Vera da Pozzo, Italy is Mine - and It owes Me a Living


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