In the Dances of Life

Nos Bailes da Vida
— Milton Nascimento & Fernando Brandt

Foi nos bailes da vida ou num bar
Em troca de pão
Que muita gente boa pôs o pé na profissão
De tocar um instrumento e de cantar
Não importando se quem pagou quis ouvir
Foi assim

Cantar era buscar o caminho
Que vai dar no sol
Tenho comigo as lembranças do que eu era
Para cantar nada era longe, tudo tão bom
Até a estrada de terra na boleia de caminhão
Era assim

Com a roupa encharcada
E a alma repleta de chão
Todo artista tem de ir aonde o povo está
Se foi assim, assim será
Cantando me disfarço
E não me canso de viver nem de cantar
In The Dances Of Life (dedicated to M.C. Clemente*)
— M. Nascimento & F. Brandt, transl. by O. Simões

It was in the dances of life or in a bar,
In exchange for sustenance
That many good people set foot in the art
Of singing, or playing an instrument
No matter if patrons were listening
It was so

Singing was to seek the path
Leading to the light
I still have recollections of who I used to be
To sing, there was no place too far to reach
Even the [long] truck ride on a dirt road was fun
It used to be so

With soaking clothes
And the soul on a journey from afar
Every artist must reach people where they are
If it was so, it will be so
By singing, I am transformed
And never tired from living… or singing

* Dedicated to my dear friend Maria Carmen Clemente. Her encouragement makes me strive to be a better translator of poetry. Gratidão, Maria Carmen!

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