Translation of “Canto de Ossanha”, by Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes

Ossanha is an spiritual entity, one of the Orixás worshipped in african and afro/Brazilian religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda. Ossanha is the Orixá responsible for the ritual and medicinal leaves and plants. The music tells about a very common use in Brazil, the witchcraft for love. In my city, Brasilia, you can easily see advertising offering such services. Thoug its efficiency is questionable, many people use it.  

advertising offering every kind of sorcery, in a street of brazil

This poster, for example, say some thing like

“Father Ambrosio”

“Solve your amorous and professional problems

Heal any kind of disease (even homossexuality) (…)”

The idea of this post came from some guys in youtube asking for a translation. For first, I tried to post it as a comment, but it was too long. Here it is… I hope it helps you.

Deaaá! Deerê! Deaaa!

The man who says “I give”

Don’t give

‘cause those who really give

Don’t tell

The man who says “I go”

Don’t go

‘cause when he went

He didn’t really wanted to

The man who says “I am”

Is not

 ‘cause those who really are say

I’m not

The man who says I’m there

Is not

‘cause nobody’s there

When they want

Pitiful is the man who falls

At the Ossanha’s chant


Pitiful is the man who looks for

Witchcraft of love

Go! Go! Go! Go!

I’ll not go!

Go! Go! Go! Go!

I’ll not go!

Go! Go! Go! Go!

I’ll not go!

Go! Go! Go! Go!

I’ll not go…

‘cause I’m nobody of going

Into talkin’ about forget

The sadness of a love

which’s gone


I’m just going if it’s to watch

A star rising

In the morning of a new love

Friend “sinhô”


Xangô told me to tell you

If it is Ossanha’s chant

Don’t go!

‘cause you’re going to regret very much

Ask your Orixá

Love’s only good when it hurts

Ask your Orixá

Love’s only good when it hurts…

(Orixá, also spelled “Orisha” is a kind of spiritual entity in the afro-brazilian religions such as Candomblé. Both “Xangô” and “Ossanha”, refered in the song are names of some orixás)

Go! Go! Go! Go!


Go! Go! Go! Go!


Go! Go! Go! Go!


Go! Go! Go! Go!


(in old-fashioned Portuguese, this last verse means something that would be translated like “Who Knows…”)

‘cause I’m nobody of going

Into talkin’ about forget

The sadness of a love

which’s gone


I’m just going if it’s to watch

A star rising

In the morning of a new love

Friend “sinhô”


(sinhô is an old-fashioned rural portuguese form that would be translated for something  like “sir”. Saravá is a greeting used in some regions of Brazil wich have strong african influence, like the region of Bahia. It is a word with african origin)

Go! Go! Go! Go!


Go! Go! Go! Go!


Go! Go! Go! Go!


Go! Go! Go! Go!


48 Respostas to “Translation of “Canto de Ossanha”, by Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes”

  1. meriem Says:

    Very useful translation. Beautiful lyrics by Vinicius. Thank you!

  2. blogdobatman Says:

    our intent was to spread afro/brazilian culture. We’re sory for any eventual mistake in our english writting.

  3. Anônimo Says:

    Merci beaucoup pour cette traduction ; )

  4. itai Says:

    thanks a lot!!!
    excellent work.
    the ad is wonderful.

  5. mpokb Says:

    I’ve been wondering what this song is all about. Terima kasih. Muito obrigada ^_^

  6. Brian H Says:

    Muito obrigado… sou americano que fala português mas isso foi dificil entender. Tenho estado ouvindo a versão da música que fez Rosalia de Souza, que também é boa. Mas bom ouvir a música original. Obrigado novamente pela tradução.

  7. Anônimo Says:

    I was introduced to this song by a recdording of Caterina Valente. The song has been haunting me ever since. Been looking for a translation for a long time. Obrigado! At last here it is.Hope the lyrics will sink in and start to make sense…

  8. Anônimo Says:

    Thank you so much for the translation! It is so useful to have it.
    I knew this song,because is a very known one and for me the music was a little bit to common-sorry-.But few days before,in an important moment in my life,I have heard to song and descovering its name I wanted very much to understand the lyrics.Since,I am fascinated by the profound meaning of it.And there are some lines that I want to be sure of their sense:”que eu nao sou ninguem de ir em conversa de esquecer a tristeza de um amor que passou”-speaking french,italian and romanian,I feel that maybe it should be:I am not the one to go to talk about forgeting the sadness of a love which is gone”?It could be?


    • The most accurate translation is “I’m nobody of going into talk of forgetting”, that’s like “I’m nobody who goes into talk of forgetting” or, for the best understanding, “I’m not the kind of person who buys the chitchat of forgetting”.

      • OSCAR Says:


        • Douglas Says:

          I prefer ‘I am not one to talk about the sadness of a lost love’ or something like that. Beautiful song !

  9. Thanks a lot for this translation and comments!

  10. Kyle Says:

    Actually, “sinhô” is the provincial form of “senhor”, which is “sir”. Also, here in Brazil, “Senhor” is our version of “Lord”, referring to God. If somebody seeks for accuracy I can mail my own translation. I also reccomend Maysa’s softer version.

    • Anônimo Says:

      Can you please translate “canto de xango”? I would love to understand the of that song.
      I have a slight idea as I am fluent in Spanish. However, is not enough!
      Thank you!

      • Anônimo Says:

        I would love to understand the song’s profound meaning!
        Sorry for the misspell in the first comment.

  11. Hello everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this web site, and piece of writing is truly fruitful in favor of me, keep up posting such articles or reviews.

  12. Thanks a lot! Forget the nonsense by anonymos who thinks he knows better than a native speaker. You did a splendid job! Love, Charles

  13. Cezar Says:

    Well, i live in Bahia and i was born here , so i can tell you if it doesn´t hurt anyone “Saravá” means alles gut für dich(German), and Wish you all the best (English), yes that´s right without the “i” first person. i hope this information to be usefull to someone…

  14. Max Forseter Says:

    Thank you for doing this work for all of us. I have been playing Bossa Nova and Samba at piano and singing for a long time. Just now beginning to learn to sing and understand in Portuguese. This is wonderful, to know the deeper meanings of the words. The music is so strong, that it led me here. Much respect to you.

  15. […] (a song for which I’ve found an interesting translation and story…here…) […]

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  18. Anders Says:

    thank you so much for this translation and the notes on the context… i have fallen in love with this melody but could not understand the words… and now that i find out what they mean I love it even more!

  19. […] of Candomblé and Umbanda (Afro-Brazilian religions) – if you’re curious, click here to see a rough translation and […]

  20. איתי אנגל Says:

    Thank you so much for this translation and explaining the meaning.
    I play Bossa Nova guitar and study Portuguese, mainly in order to understand the beautiful songs I like so much to play.
    Canto de Ossanha was always one of my favorites and now, understanding the meaning of it, I like it even more.
    Your site is great man. Thanks!

  21. David Bourne Says:

    I’ve just been learning how to play this, having heard John Faheys cover of it (which he called ‘Let Go’). I’m not so sure Fahey gave credit to Baden Powell, but as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Then I heard Baden Powell play it singing, and looked for the translation. Thankyou very much, now I like it even more. The lyrics remind me of the profound wisdom of the Tao de Ching, which I mean as high praise.

  22. alejandro legrand Says:

    John Fahey was covering Bola Sete’s version of this song, which of course Bola got from Baden Powell. So it was filtered through Bola Sete to Fahey. When you understand the lyrics, calling it ‘Let’s Go’ actually makes a lot of sense 🙂

    • Anônimo Says:

      Thanks, didn’t know Bola Sete had covered it. I’ll look for it. Probably just a typo, but the album it’s on, and Fahey’s version are called ‘Let Go’, not ‘Let’s Go’. Either way, I can see how it would fit the lyrics.

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  25. Chris Matie Says:

    BEAUTIFUL, the COOLEST subtle blend of samba and bossa out there!!!!!! (And thanks SO MUCH for both the YT upload and the translation too, as well) =)

  26. […] sent a link of the former viseo to a friend who is working in Brazil and happened across the Translation of “Canto de Ossanha” which I thought deserved linking […]

  27. Anônimo Says:

    What a beautiful composition, what a wonderful rhythm, what a nostalgic text

  28. Dennis Dunn Says:

    Hi from America

  29. great translation, helped me out with a lot of concepts. was wondering though if another translation of
    “Que eu não sou ninguém de ir
    Em conversa de esquecer
    A tristeza de um amor
    Que passou”
    might be
    “i’m not the kind of person who tries to forget a passed love through talking about it”?

  30. boethius Says:

    “Curo qualquer doença até viadagem” – cures any illness including “fagginess.” That’s a hilarious flyer. You are too kind translating “viadgem” This is one of my all time favorite songs.

  31. It’s hard to find well-informed people on this subject, however, you sound
    like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  32. Anônimo Says:

    beautiful lyrics and explanation. thank you!

  33. Dilan Says:

    Thank you 🙂

  34. Irving Says:

    Thanks for the translation; interestingly I believe Baden Powell himself was reluctant to perform this song and few of his other early songs after converting to Christianity, due to their “pagan” overtones

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  36. Muito obrigado!

    Я собираюсь сыграть эту песню в России и очень полезно прочитать о её смыслах

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  38. Harold Bradfield Says:

    Thank You so much for this. I realize how hard it is to convey from one language to another the idiomatic, entendre and nuance intended in poetry or song lyrics. THe comments also contributed to my understanding . I came across this most beautiful song and recognized the influence that this Great Talent had on Modern music. Thank you Brazil for Music the World listens to!

    Muito obrigado por isso. Eu percebo o quão difícil é transmitir de uma língua para outra o idiomático, entendre e nuance pretendido em poesia ou letras de músicas. Os comentários também contribuíram para o meu entendimento. Eu me deparei com essa música mais linda e reconheci a influência que esse Grande Talento teve na música Moderna. Obrigado Brasil pela Música, o Mundo ouve!

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