Vinicius de Moraes, the celebrated Brazilian poet, gave his last interview with journalist Narceu de Almeida Filho in his home in Gávea , Rio de Janeiro in 1979. He had recently gotten married and after a period of travel had settled down to work on his writing again. The interview covered a variety of topics; from his work at the time of the interview, his reaction to criticism, religion, death, his partnerships and relationships, (both professionally and personal )Bossa Nova and Brazilian society.
Vinicius reflected on becoming famous at a young age:
For me it was not very nice, not, you know. Gave me a certain pride, I thought it was a brilliant poet and stuff. But then , two or three critics put me in my place nicely. One of them was John Ribeiro, with respect to this first book . He did a very good but also very severe criticism, as if to say : ” Look, boy, work more with free verse, his sonnets are not very good.” Another was Manuel Bandeira, who has a very severe criticism. Finally, when I won the Felipe de Oliveira, Tarquin Otavio Sousa also wrote a very good footer, putting me in my position. Mário de Andrade, also gave me some very well pruned given. This all helped me a lot.
Vinicius related some of his musical partnerships to marriage. He felt that he was his most creative in when working with the likes of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Carlos Lyra, and Baden Powell, who he credited with introducing him to more African elements.
He also commented on the influence of Jazz in Bossa Nova:
I think it was a very good influence. In traditional samba, not improvising instrumentalists generally harmonies were rigid, the formations were standard. With the influence of jazz, opened it all, you could insert any instrument a set of samba, instrumentalists improvised, the harmonies have greatly improved and enriched , the instrumentalists have become excellent and deeply know their instruments, as is the case of Baden and Tom ‘s influence was beneficial because there was a mischaracterization of our music. Samba was always present in Bossa nova. Moreover, the Bossa nova brought more joy and good humor in our music, who was very focused on the sadness, the pain horn, the pit at the time of Antonio Maria . With Bossa nova it got healthier, more optimistic, the feelings were more communication, more legal .
Vinicius speaks of his lack of belief in God however confesses to an interest in the Candomblé religion.
I prefer to believe than not to believe, but do not really believe. When I think of a purely cerebral way, do not believe. Also I stopped doing that kind of questions, look at the sky and ask, ” Where is God ? After someone made this sh** , was not it? ” But I will never have answers to these questions, except perhaps after death. But also do not know what ‘s on the other side, so I do not think most of these things. Moreover, as I lost religiosity and mysticism, the human being has grown on me, took care of everything. What interests me now is people.
When posed with the question of satisfaction of his life and achievements he gave a typically unique and somewhat poetic response:
Well, I’d like to change some things about me, but in general I’m not a guy to throw away. I have a pretty big esteem for me, you know. One estimates that comes from the realization of the things I did, the people I loved, the friends I had and have . Considering all significant achievements, overall. Sometimes I immodestly say to myself : ” You’re worth it.” This without any sense of vanity. I have no concern with literary glory.
Before going into more personal matters Vinicius comments on the kind of society he would have liked to see develop in Brazil:
I think a return to a democracy now on would be great ! The people have freedom – it seems fundamental to me. I mean, seeing the happy, happy people, with cheerful faces, no anguish. Above all, there is the realization, or at least a semblance of realization of a more just social organization, with a better distribution of wealth, a legal land reform. This I would like to see : the most serious social problems solved or at least placed in a good way. This has give me a little peace, quiet, a lot bigger than what I have today tranquility. I can not stand out of the human problem.
Vinicius expresses that at that moment he was very focused on establishing a fulfilling marriage with his new wife Gilda and “making this girl happy.” In all the interview ( the complete version can be found here in the original Portuguese) is a wonderful insight into the mind and life of the Brazilian icon.