0413 - Pretty World (Sá Marina) - Stevie Wonder [1970]

Este post marca a inauguração da nova tag É do Brazil, onde referenciamos posts a respeito de versões feitas por artistas internacionais para músicas brasileiras)...

Sá Marina is undoubtedly one of the most famous Brazilian song, worldwide recognized by the sensational interpreation from Wilson Simonal voice. The melody was composed by Antonio Adolfo Sabayo (a.k.a Guinga) and the lyrics composed by Tibério Gaspar. The song is about Tibério’s platonic love for his teacher when he was only eight years old, when he lived in Anta, a small village in the countryside of Rio de Janeiro state. We did some research on the internet and we found out the biggest part of this history posted in the blog “Música em Prosa”, which is based on one chapter of the book "Então Foi Assim - vol.1" written by Ruy Godinho.

Accordingly to the authors, Tibério had formal classes during his childhood with a teacher called Brasilina, a very beautiful woman, who was desired by every men but hated and envied by every women in Anta. Brasilina was also a good friend of Tibério’s mother. In this book, Tibério himself tells about an episode where he and his mother went to visit Brasilina. During that visit, Tibério’s executed a “plan”. He purposely left a comb on the couch of teacher’s house. The intention was to “force” him to rescue his comb and so, he could visit his beloved teacher once more. And so the plan had worked. In the nightfall of the same day he went again to Brasilina’s place to rescue his comb. However, when he got there, he was so shy that he did not dare to knock the door and he got paralyzed in the front of Brasilina’s house and after some minutes he went back to his home.

One day, Brasilina moved from Anta to Niterói and both him and his mother lost contact. Years later, Tibério was sought by Brazilian talk show when his song got mainstream sucess to explain what were his inspirations. Then he told the history about Brasilina to the talk show staff which sought out for Brasilina in Niterói. In the end, the staff found her, but Brasilina said she didn’t want to participate in the TV show and she didn’t want to be filmed or photographed because she would like to keep Tibério’s childhood memories intact.

And this is the history that inspired Tibério to compose Sá Marina. His muse, Brasilina, is actually Sá Marina. And here it is our direct translation to English for his song:

Down the Hillside Street
Only those who have seen (her) can tell
Smelling orange blossom
Sá Marina comes to dance

In her usual white skirt
Whirling on the sun, that stopped to look
With her graceful manner
(She) Made all the people sing...

Swinging through life
And spreading out this joy
Dance, that the day dawns
To sing
Spin, that afflicted people
Liven up and follow in your pace
Show all this gaze poetry

Leaving verses on (her) depature
And only ditties to be sung
In that Sunday afternoon
(She) Made al the people cry
And made all the people cry
And made all the people cry...

Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá!
Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá Lá!

As we stated in the beginning, Sá Marina was primarily a huge success on fantastic Wilson Simonal's voice. Aftewards, many Brazilians singers like Elis Regina, Alexandre PiresIvete Sangalo among others have interpreted this song. But Simonal interpretation is still a remarkable register in Brazilian music, originally released in 1968 as compact single...

The English version for Sá Marina was wrote by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and it was titled Pretty World. These credits can be seen in the album Crystal Illusion, released in 1969 by Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66.

In 1970, Stevie Wonder released his cover in the album Stevie Wonder Live. And here it is one of the best moments that Stevie Wonder made his own Sá Marina interpretation (entitled with a snippet of For Once In My Life). This is a rare register broadcasted by TV Record in 1971 during Roquette Pinto Awards that annually used to award the best Brazilian Radio and TV Professionals. As you will notice, Pretty World lyrics, brilliant interpreted here by Wonder, are not a literal translation of the original:

And we couldn’t finish this post without citing a less known cover made by Judy Anton, a Japanese American singer that released it on her 1980's album entitled Smile. This is a jazzy version with Japanese lyrics. We tried to collect more information about it but all we could find is this video:

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  1. que demais! minha mae adora cantar essa, mas acho que ela nao sabe da versao gringa! great!