Rosa’s Singable Translations
Rosa’s Singable Translations will be a book containing the original lyrics of songs composed by Brazilian singer and songwriter Noel Rosa, along with their English translations.
Noel Rosa, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Rosa’s Singable Translations will be a book about the music of Noel Rosa (1910–1937). Noel was a Brazilian songwriter, singer, and guitar and mandolin player. Despite an early death, aged only 26 years, he composed over 200 songs, many of which are now Brazilian popular music classics.
Noel’s music gave samba a new twist, by combining its Afro–Brazilian roots with an urban, witty language and making it a vehicle for ironic social commentary. Released in 1929, one of Noel’s most famous songs is “Com Que Roupa?” about a man who doesn’t have much money but wants to improve himself. He is pondering what to wear to a samba party he’s been invited to.
Despite his importance in Brazil, Noel is practically unknown by non-Portuguese-speaking audiences. This prompted researchers and experts in song translation Dr Lauro Meller (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte) and Dr Peter Low (University of Canterbury) to work together on researching his life, work and compositions.
Peter believes that song lyrics should be translated in ways that mean they can be sung over the original melody, so that when you listen to a translated track it remains faithful to the swing of the original version.
Rosa’s Singable Translations will contain the original lyrics of Noel’s songs in Portuguese and translated in English, along with bilingual commentary. It will also have QR codes to a website and music platforms where readers can access the recordings of all the songs. The recordings will be by musicians from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte and the Christchurch-based Clube do Choro, which includes New Zealand and French musicians. Some of the songs will be performed by Alda Rezende, a Brazilian singer who now lives in New Zealand
Published 02 November 2023
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