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Every so often, I get curious about how a creative work feels to speakers of its original language.


To date, the works include:

  • Milton Nascimento's Anima

  • The first verse of Mack The Knife



Beneath those, you will also find a short list of songs that seem to get at the same message but originate in different cultures.



If you have better ideas or suggestions, feel free to contact me.

Anima - Milton Nascimento

My Proposal



as i quest through life,

i continually burnish what my heart,

at its most inspired 

saw fit to name

suddenly in cry — soul


traversing the boundaries of dawn and dusk,

each moment, full of beauty, arises

 creating and recreating itself.

i’ve had a full life. i gaze calmly on.


soul goes beyond all

that our world dares to perceive

it is a house brimming with courage, life,

and every affection in my being.

i want to see you. i want to be your soul.


my journey is a quest

to polish who I am in this moment, now.

to refresh and rebirth myself, for which I am grateful.

i search for you, soul.


in the open house. where the master lives.

a magician working the clay of light.

inventing color. bringing love to life.

where peace forgets itself.



Original Translation



Polish, all my quest, drama

Polish what my heart

At its most inspired

Saw fit to name

In a cry: Soul


Recreate every beautiful moment

I've already lived too much

Cross the borders of dawn

Look calmly on


Soul go beyond all

That our world dares to perceive

A house full of courage, life

Clean the stain on my being

I want to see you. I want to see you.


Traveling, a constant search

To polish myself, this minute now

To recreate myself, to gratify myself

I search for you, Soul


In the open house where the master lives

The clay of light. Where time is to be found.

Inventing color. And bringing love to life

Where peace forgets itself.

From Beleza Tropical (Brazil Classics Vol 1.), compiled by David Byrne

Mack the Knife - Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weil

The first verse.

Originally from The Threepenny Opera

English Translation

Blitzen / Armstrong / Darrin lyrics



Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear,
And he shows them pearly white
Just a jack-knife, has Macheath, dear
And he keeps it out of sight.


My Proposal



Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear,
And it keeps  them in its bite
But just a jack-knife, has Macheath, dear
And he keeps it out of sight.



A very short list of roughly culturally equivalent songs





Pairings of songs that don't quite make the cut:

Volare ( Nel blu dipinto di blu), I'm Blue




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