Lyrics, Lyrics for other Composers, Songwriting, Writing, Writing Process


I am always pleased to help when someone asks me to create English lyrics for a new song, but when it is a song I have never heard before, a song that really speaks to me, really touches something in my heart, then I am thrilled. This happened last year when I was approached by a friend-of-a-friend, a wonderful New York City singer who wanted English lyrics for Jobim’s A Felicidade.

Some of you may be aware that this is the song that opens the 1959 film, “Orfeu Negro” (Black Orpheus). So when I struggled a bit to find a suitable lyric for the last phrase, instead of interpreting the original lyrics, I took a risk and tapped into the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice instead, as the film is a modern telling of their sad love story. It is set in Rio de Janeiro during Brazilian Carnival but perfectly matches the original Greek tragedy’s plotline.

I am in love with this song, so beautiful and heartbreaking when you think about the story behind it.

Live in the moment! Love now! Be grateful for whatever time you have with those you love; that is the message I take away from this experience.

If you would like to listen to the original song in Portuguese, it is on YouTube. This is a great version, (and Jobim is on piano.) UPDATE: If you would like to hear a raw copy of me singing my lyrics, click here for a recent rehearsal excerpt (with Triology).



A Felicidade / Happiness
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim
English lyrics ©2015 Laurie Early

There is no end to grief
yes, happiness is brief

Happiness is like a lovely feather
that floats and falls upon a gentle breeze
dancing so lightly
its life so short and carefree
yet without wind it cannot dance for long

And the happiness of the poor is illusion
spinning us around like Carnival,
that glimmer of dreamland
we hope and we work for,
we live in that one moment,
we fulfill our fantasies
we’re pirates, we are kings,
and we’re together
but glitter turns to ashes on Wednesday

There is no end to grief
yes, happiness is brief
There is no end to grief
yes, happiness is brief

Oh, and happiness is like the dewdrop
that rests upon a petal in the morn
kissing its blossom,
so happy in the sun
Yet like a tear it falls when day is done

Happiness for me is what I’ve found in your eyes, love
tonight has been our dream
but we must waken
we’re drifting, suspended
when dawn comes it’s ended
my only wish is to keep you in my arms forevermore
when sunlight shines upon our new beginning
you’ll keep kiss me and
we’ll fall in love again

There is no end to grief
There is no end to grief….

hopscotch chalk drawing

Happiness in chalk (Basel 2015)


  1. Pingback: Prelude to Spring – Singing & Learning | Moments, Memories, & Jazz

Comments are closed.