Samba lesson: Life is beautiful

stadium1Live samba, happy crowd and smiles.

That’s usually a good description of Copacabana beach any day of the year.

During the 2016 Olympics, it seems like one of Rio’s most famous beaches is on steroids.

“It’s crazy,” a Rio de Janeiro resident told me. “I’ve never seen Copacabana like this.”

Brennan and I went there for dinner one night, and it was packed.

In only a 500-foot stretch of the famous Copacabana sidewalks, we saw two street bands playing samba and two food kiosks with live music.

People joined in the festivity to dance to the tune of samba.

And then I heard “O que é, O que é?” by Gonzaguinha, a samba classic.

People Dancing1 “Viver, e não ter a vergonha de ser feliz…” (To live and not being afraid of being happy).

“Cantar e cantar e cantar a beleza de ser um eterno aprendiz.” (To sing, and sing and sing the beauty of being an eternal apprentice).

People started singing in unison. I did too.

“Ah, meu Deus. Eu sei que a vida devia ser bem melhor e será…” (Oh, Lord. I know life should be better, and it will be).

“Mas isso não impede que eu repita, é bonita, é bonita e é bonita.” (But this doesn’t keep me from repeating, it’s beautiful; it’s beautiful; and it’s beautiful).

The energy was all around me. It was contagious.

That moment was so Brazil.

The only thing my mind could focus on was the music. There was no room for any bad thoughts or feelings.

drums1I was happy.

As that feeling flowed from my chest to the rest of my body, I couldn’t help but smile.

The song’s message, which Brazilians take to heart, was simple: despite all problems, life is beautiful.

Be sure to check out Brennan Meagher’s blog for her take on our Rio experience.

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Written by
Arthur Takahashi

Arthur Takahashi is Digital Media Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706–446–5128 or

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Written by Arthur Takahashi

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