A felicidade

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"A felicidade" ("Happiness") is a bossa nova song by Antônio Carlos Jobim, with lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes, composed in 1958 for the French film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus).[1]

The theme of the song is the fragility of happiness. The lyrics begin: "Tristeza não tem fim. Felicidade sim" ("Sadness has no ending. Happiness does"). The lyrics compare happiness to a drop of dew, a feather floating in the wind, and the poor escaping their reality in the fantasies of Carnaval, emphasizing the transitory nature of each. The final stanzas reference the "namorada" (girlfriend/sweetheart) of the character singing the song, without touching directly on the theme of impermanence and loss. In the context of the film, however, these stanzas describe Orfeu's search for Euridice after her death ("É como esta noite, passando, passando, em busca da madrugada..." ("It's like tonight, passing, passing, in search of dawn...").

Jobim and Vinícius collaborated on several songs for the 1956 stage play, Orfeu da Conceição, but French producer Sacha Gordine wanted new material for the film version. According to author Ruy Castro, "The duo wrote three songs, mostly over the telephone, given that Vinicíus was now working for the Itamaraty in Montevideo: 'A felicidade,' 'Frevo,' and 'O nosso amor.'" Agostinho dos Santos sings "A felicidade" during the opening credits of the movie, accompanied by Roberto Menescal on guitar.[1]

The film won the Palme d'Or at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival and the 1960 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film,[2] bringing worldwide attention to Jobim, Moraes, and the bossa nova movement.

A French version of the song, with lyrics by André Salvet, is known as "Adieu tristesse", and an Italian version, with lyrics by Mario Panzeri, is entitled "Felicità".[3]

Recorded versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b Castro, Ruy (2000). Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music that Seduced the World. Chicago: A Cappella Books. ISBN 9781556524097.
  2. ^ "Black Orpheus". IMDb. 1959. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Adaptations of A Felicidade". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 9 May 2017.