20 SEC READING: The lady in Copacabana

EM PORTUGUES CLICAR AQUI: A velha em Copacabana
EN ESPANOL CLICAR AQUI: La señora en Copacabana

She was standing on the sidewalk of Atlí¢ntica Avenue with a guitar and a hand-written sign that said:

“Let’s sing together.”

She began to play.

Then a drunk arrived, then another old lady and they began to sing along with her.

In a short time a small crowd was singing together and another small crowd played the audience, clapping hands at the end of each number.

“Why do you do this?” I asked between songs.

“I don’t want to be alone,” she said. “My life is very lonely, just like almost all old people.”

I wish they all could solve their problems in this way.

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  1. vijay says:

    I like read paula coelho’s books

  2. Lola Crooner says:

    Is not she lovely with a swollen visage,ready for the Karioca in her own way, guitar in hand, singing along. >>>>>>>>>> with a hand written SIGN
    ‘Let’s sing together’
    …I can almost hear the Voice… with the choir.
    Le..t’s do it.
    with love

  3. Hero says:

    a lovely way to fix problems, a brave woman who gives hop and joy to the simple and boring everyday life :)

  4. sheena singh says:

    Its very lonely out there…. Its so strange just when u need a companian the mostest!!!! You are suddenly left alone…. My heart goes out to all the old people and wish we could do something really really appropriate for all of them…. Miss you mummy but papa misses you MORE…….

  5. Linda Valles says:

    Very nice!

  6. nikamarie says:

    I wish i had her courage!

  7. Tutti Rivero says:

    At Copacabana is almost imposible to feel lonely,specially if you have a dog…Everybody talks to everybody walking in “calí§adao” at the beach.But if you prefer be quiet you will be respected.Copacaba is unique,marvelous!

  8. Joelle says:

    Il y a solitude acceptée , íªtre seul par choix , elle apporte certains avantages pour vivre – méditer, lire ,etc . Mais il reste la communication avec les autres . La vie est faite de moments de solitude mais il faut aller vers ceux qui ont besoin des autres . La vieillesse isole certaines personnes í  cause de l’handicap, la perte d’un íªtre cher . C’est í  nous de venir í  leur rescousse enleur tendant la main pour éviter la grande solitude . L’existence est faie de besoin de vivre les uns avec les autres . Ainsi va la vie , il ne faut pas se sentirseul car elle est faite de petits plaisirs et de petits momentsí  prendre avec douceur pour donnerdu plaisir aux autres ;

  9. Monika says:

    Very brave lady! I envy her, I wish I could have her courage, as it happens I feel very lonely too. And I am not old. I feel lost and empty. I quit the job that didn’t bring me any joy but I am scared becaue I did not find the answer yet of what to do next?
    So yes I also wish most of the problems could be solved that simply.
    And I love the story. It gives hope. Thank you.

    1. Claudia Krämer says:

      I feel quite the same, in a similar situation. And I am not old either, just turned 30… You are not alone!!

  10. valeria says:

    Poter mantenere l’entusiasmo anche nella etí  pií¹ anziana è un grande dono per sè e per gli altri, che coinvolti in un’onda di serena amicizia e di leggerezza ne ottengono un beneficio e, a loro volto lo ritrasmettono.
    Spero chè l’etí  e il tempo mi mantengano il sorriso e la voglia, ogni giorno, di scoprire, intraprendere qualcosa di nuovo, di divertirmi e di interessarmi e di coinvolgere gli altri.

  11. Ana-maria says:

    What about young people?Loneliness is ageless !And once you get it’s hard changing something..anything

  12. Mohammad Ali Gaad says:

    Ususally aged person nomads to get happiness in their last countable days, Don’t heart any aged one.They can’t bear it all.

  13. isadora says:

    i’ll do this on my golden years as well.. and as much as i can offer time, i’ll keep my company to those who are alone:)

  14. Yilmaz says:

    The old woman has tasted the bittersweetness of life. After knowing both, she has had the courage to not give up on the sweet taste. Nanas love sweets after all. :)

    I appreciate her very much.

    With love,

  15. Lars Berewinkel says:

    It can really make you happy, if play guitar in front of little crowd. There are secret concerts on a Radio Station for example. They must be very special, I think!
    I want to go to a concert of “The Killers”, like the concert in “Royal Albert Hall” I saw on youtube.
    I hope for everybody that You can enjoy those moments, like in the story “The lady in Copacabana”!

  16. LoveM says:

    If you don’t like being alone..
    There’s something wrong..
    With the company you keep..Sadguru:D

    What I am trying to say is that every effort that has been directed towards avoiding loneliness has failed, and will fail, because it is against the fundamentals of life. What is needed is not something in which you can forget your loneliness. What is needed is that you become aware of your aloneness, which is a reality. And it is so beautiful to experience it, to feel it, because it is your freedom from the crowd, from the other. It is your freedom from the fear of being lonely.
    Just the word “lonely” immediately reminds you that it is like a wound: something is needed to fill it. There is a gap and it hurts: something needs to be filled in. The very word “aloneness” does not have the same sense of a wound, of a gap which has to be filled. Aloneness simply means completeness. You are whole; there is no need of anybody else to complete you.
    So try to find your innermost center, where you are always alone, have always been alone. In life, in death “” wherever you are you will be alone. But it is so full “” it is not empty, it is so full and so complete and so overflowing with all the juices of life, with all the beauties and benedictions of existence, that once you have tasted aloneness the pain in the heart will disappear. Instead, a new rhythm of tremendous sweetness, peace, joy, bliss, will be there..OHSO ALONE OSHO

  17. LoveM says:

    This is why I come
    Alone and in the darkness
    To bear This… Love Light

  18. Pilar says:

    Yo estuve a su lado y no dejé de aplaudir hasta que terminó de cantar.

  19. Cristina B. says:

    So lovely.
    I think the old woman choose the best way for making her “Good Fighting”.
    She soleved her problem and brought her “Light” to the whole world.

  20. mrm says:

    waw simple but meaningful

  21. Breda says:

    So lovely the woman in the story could be creative and ‘think outside the box’ and create a happier life with fun experiences,
    Happy Sunday,

  22. Alla says:

    I think being lonely is a horrible feeling!Communicate more and enjoy your life!

  23. Marie-Christine Grimard says:

    Cette histoire nous montre combien la solitude peut íªtre pesante pour l’í¢me d’un humain, et surtout quand l’í¢ge se fait lourd. La vieillesse n’est pas “glamour” et notre monde célèbre le culte de la jeunesse. Il ne se souvient pas que sagesse rime avec vieillesse.
    En la lisant, je me suis souvenu d’une page que vous avez écrite dans le “Manuel du guerrier de la lumière”, et qui m’avait donné un grand espoir :
    “Le guerrier de la Lumière Croit. Parce qu’il croit aux miracles, les miracles commencent í  se produire. Parce qu’il a la certitude que sa pensée peut changer sa vie, sa vie se met í  changer. Parce qu’il est certain qu’il va trouver l’amour, cet amour apparaí®t.” (Paulo Coelho).
    Cette femme a donné toute son énergie aux passants pour qu’ils partagent la joie de sa musique, et ils l’ont fait. J’admire sa force et sa détermination ! Mais notre vie serait-elle uniquement ce que nous décidons d’en faire ?

    This story shows how loneliness can be burdensome for the soul of a human, especially when age is heavy. Old age is not “glamorous” and our world celebrates the cult of youth. He does not remember that wisdom is synonymous with old age.
    By reading it, I remembered a page you wrote in the “Manual of the Warrior of Light”, and that gave me great hope:
    “The Warrior of Light Believe. Because he believes in miracles, miracles begin to happen. Because he is sure that his thoughts can change his life, his life begins to change. Because it is sure he will find love, that love appears. “(Paulo Coelho).
    This woman gave all his energy to passersby to share the joy of his music, and they did. I admire her strength and determination! But our life be only what we decide to do?
    M Christine Grimard.

    1. Joelle says:

      Je ne suis pas d’accord . Le glamour est une chose indéfinissable . La beauté est superficielle . La jeunesse est parsemée de problèmes d’identification, on se pose sans arríªt des questions sur la vie . La vieillesse est aufond du coeur, la sagesse lui appartient car elle a fait déjí  un grand parcours de vie .Le glamour n’est qu’une image pour les photos . Il faut bien connaí®tre les gens afin de savoir s’ils méritent que l’on parle de leurs années qui passent. Tout le monde connait de jeunes vieux et des vieux jeunes .

  24. Sheela Nandini says:

    Where did 2 of my comments go???

    That was such a beautiful poem by Javed Akhtar Saheb!!!


  25. Cherie Roe Dirksen says:

    Now that’s taking charge! Life is simply a choice, choose to be alone or choose to take action to be surrounded. What a lovely story.

    1. rema says:

      simple and profound.
      thank you.

  26. Johnny Ray says:

    The simple truth is what always carries the most meaning. Reading slowly can give much deeper insight into a writer’s work

  27. Anna says:

    Thank to your book, the alchemist, I found my treasure. The treasure was always there, but I`Ive always oriented outside me. Now I know that I wear it in me. A beautiful book. thanks

  28. Sheela Nandini says:

    Sorry, that’s two songs that got ‘lost’…One posted by Just Me and the other by Funda Doghan.


  29. Mohanty says:

    Awesome “BraveSoul”
    I completely agree with you.

  30. Sruthy says:

    May be my inner life is so vibrant and strong that I have hardly experienced loneliness

  31. Ritki says:

    OMG, today I was feeling so lonely all day, just this read and I’m fine. Thanks so much Paulo.

  32. jessie says:

    very cute!

  33. La solitudine fa’ paura a qualunque etí , ma io penso che ognuno è artefice della propria solitudine, vivere è molto difficile e occorre molto buon senso e spirito di sacrificio, ed anche una buona dose di fortuna per superare molte difficoltí  ! La solitudine è una di queste dificoltí  da superare, il mondo in cui viviamo è superficiale, il denaro, il potere, la lotta per la sopravvivenza vengono al primo posto, noi tutti dobbiamo lottare per essere visti, ascoltati, capiti ed amati 1 Quindi per vincere la solitudine occorre una gran dose di energia positiva, noi dobbiamo superare il nostro egoismo superando i nostri limti personali,
    amare chi ci sta accanto, avere pietí  per il prossimo, aiutare le persone che hanno bisogno, il simbolismo della chitarra è anche una soluzione! Ma la coralití  non ti fa’ compagnia!

  34. han says:


  35. Antonio Mancini says:

    Gioia . IL maestro appare quando l’allievo è pronto.
    Posso gioire di consigli dati con il cuore ma con parole inopportune? Posso gioire di un atteggiamento spronante verso il prossimo fatto con il cuore ma, puntualmente frainteso? Ma questo mio cuore è cosi’ sbagliato, è cosi’ dominato dagli eventi e non da una grazia divina? Non ci capisco niente! Mi guidano forze diaboliche o faccio parte di quel disegno divino imperfetto per noi, ma perfetto a prescindere?
    Oggi, una persona apparentemente fuori luogo si è presentata a Villa d’Este, dove lavoro, con una chitarra nella custodia. Molti avendo a che fare con un’anima celata dietro un aspetto non conforme a questa societí  l’hanno eclissata, dopo una breve conversazione mi ha fatto sentire un brano in romanesco del suo repertorio, non solo a me. Il mio scopo era quello di farlo sentire importante, come lo è, e di provare a leggere tra le righe in alcune frasi dette da lui molto pií¹ illuminanti , a mio modo di percepire, di molte altre articolate che sento tutti i giorni . L’ho fatto accomodare al bar e gli ho offerto un bicchiere di acqua e un caffè . Non avendo l’arcata dentaria inferiore la sua salivazione, mentre parlava, usciva dalle labbra. Gli ho porto un fazzolettino e, con un impulso amorevole, gli ho fatto notare cií², come se stessi dicendo alla mia compagna: ”ti è rimasto incastrato qualcosa tra i denti”. Cavolo non voglio far del male a nessuno! Sono come l’inglese in un libro a voi noto, penso di poter parlare da maestro, ”ma chi vuoi prendere in giro”, non sono neanche pronto ad essere allievo!
    Antonio il giardiniere

  36. criststar11 says:

    It is time for me to sing dear master Coelho ;) She looks like me with her cat ahahahah… The Lady of Copacabana it sounds really great… Sending you light ;) Cris

  37. BraveSoul says:

    I truly have so much fun alone. I hope I will never change my mind later in life. But I happen to find that the best moments is when I take myself out alone or any alone time. And I am a person that tired so many things in life and met so many people at all levels. I still find myself company is the best. You might disagree with me but I agree with me and this is what’s important. What works for some doesn’t work for others. There is no superiorty here. I just simply enjoy my time alone.

  38. Reading this post wake up a old dream I give up last year. Lonely is a very sad feeling for some people. I been there many times and still having pain to face it when I am alone at home with only 4 walls with me when I feeling low. Have days I am so scare to think of the future… what will I be with no hubby and daughter dont get on with me… brothers sisters all think I am aliens from space. This post makes me face the real world again… I will fight on… to make this crazy dream alive… thankyou Mr Paulo Coelho. Mei

  39. Vôgaluz says:


    No meio da vida existe um ponto.
    Um ponto que aponta
    Pro desequilí­brio torto
    Da ponta do teu nariz,
    Pras coisas que um dia podem
    Te fazer feliz.

    No meio do mundo existe um conto.
    Um conto que conta
    Uma história comprida,
    Cumprida por homens que marcham
    Com pernas cansadas
    Em busca de tudo
    Na direí§í£o do nada.

    Abraí§os, Paulo Coelho, adorei “The Lady in Copacabana”. Ví´galuz

  40. Yan says:

    Chinese Translation:









  41. Keval says:

    Very truely said… Your comment’s taught me more today than the paulo’s status link… Thanks…:-)

  42. Marie-Christine says:

    En francais

    La dame de Copacabana

    Elle se tenait debout sur le trottoir de l’Avenue Atlantique avec une guitarre et un panneau ecrit a la main qui disait :

    ‘Chantons ensemble’

    Elle commenca a chanter seule.

    Puis un ivrogne est arrive puis une autre dame agee et ils commencerent a chanter avec elle.

    Peu de temps apres, une petite foule s’est miss a chanter ensemble et une autre partie du public chauffait l’audience , tapant des mains a la fin de chaque numero.

    Pourquoi faites-vous cela? ai-je demande entre les chansons.

    ‘Je ne veux pas etre seule ‘dit-elle. ‘Ma vie est tres solitaire, comme celle de la plupart des personnes agees.’

    Ce serait bien si tout le monde pouvait resoudre leurs problemes de cette maniere.

  43. Prathamesh says:

    Very true… While on my way to home from work, I drop in to McDonalds every evening, I see same women seating in a corner of the restaurant having her meal, she seats there almost daily for an hour or two. Is this world really a lonely place for old people?

    1. Sheela Nandini says:

      Have you thought about talking with her next time you are there ,dear Prathamesh?


  44. toñi says:

    una vez estaba en un bar rodeada de amigos pero me sentí­a sola, ausente y no prestaba atención a lo que hablaban…bien …hice esto: me puse a cantar (canto fatal y desafino mucho porque no tengo buen oido para la música), entonces todos me miraron y algunos empezaron a reir (porque canto muy mal)…pero yo seguí­a cantando como una cotorra afónica y algunos de ellos empezaron también a cantar conmigo y a jugar a decir refranes absurdos…aquella situación tonta se transformó en una situación divertida…estuvimos cantando y dando palmas durante una hora o más. Cuando ya estabamos cansados de cantar le dije al camarero: “nos traes la cuenta por favor, que ya te hemos calentado bastante la cabeza y es hora de irnos” y el camarero me contestó lo siguiente: “la cuenta está pagada, invita la casa, mi bar estaba vací­o y vosotros con vuestras risas habeis dado lugar a que mi bar se llene de personas. Como puedes ver no paro de atender mesas”. Ni siquiera nos habí­amos dado cuenta de que tení­amos tanto público mirándonos y sonriendo (algunos incluso aplaudieron y todo!)
    Es un recuerdo muy divertido de mi vida. Abrazos a todos.