Ela é Carioca (She’s a Carioca)

Posted on Apr 14, 2013

Of all the songs that composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and lyricist Vinicius de Moraes were responsible for Ela é Carioca which translates to She’s a Carioca is probably the one with the most straightforward title. As the name would imply the song centers around a girl who is of interest to the writer but this is no ordinary girl; no, this one is a Carioca.

Ela é Carioca

Ela é Carioca

A carioca is a native of Rio de Janiero. It is used to describe not only the people who are within the geographical boundaries of Rio but also the personal and social qualities that are associated with them. The stereotype of a Carioca is generally a positive one. They are believed to be good-natured and energetic. Paralleling these qualities, the song is bright and upbeat.

The love Antonio Carlos’ and Vinicius had for Rio de Janeiro is well documented. Other works also focused on the city, most famously, “Girl from Ipanema.” It is similar to this song in that both focus on a girl from Rio de Janeiro. The lyrics are breezy and light. Lyrics such as:

“I look and what do I see
When I look deep in her eyes
I can see the sea
A forgotten road
The caressing skies”

These highlight an admiration for the easy and calm lifestyle that is so often linked with Rio (whether done so appropriately or not). The speaker in the song describes all the positive attributes of the girl, never forget to mentioning , “…..and she’s a carioca (ela é Carioca)” every few lines.

American lyricist, Ray Gilbert (who worked with Jobim on several songs) provided the English translation for the song. The English version of the song made its debut on Jobim’s 1966 album, “The Wonderful World of Antonio Carlos Jobim” and has since become a jazz and bossa nova classic. Interestingly enough the song title was used in a 2005 documentary on Jobim that focus on “Jobim’s passion for Rio de Janeiro, and the city’s influence on his work.”

Lyrics

Ela é carioca
Ela é carioca
Basta o jeitinho dela andar
Nem ninguém tem carinho assim para dar
Eu vejo na luz dos seus olhos
As noites do Rio ao luar
Vejo a mesma luz
Vejo o mesmo céu
Vejo o mesmo mar
Ela é meu amor, só me vê a mim
A mim que vivi para encontrar
Na luz do seu olhar
A paz que sonhei
Só sei que sou louco por ela
E pra mim ela é linda demais
E além do mais
Ela é carioca
Ela é carioca
Só sei que sou louco por ela
E pra mim ela é linda demais
E além do mais
Ela é carioca
Ela é carioca

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