Busy life, no time, short post. I know I’ve been saying the same thing for the last four months, but last year I had way too much free time so I could spend a lot of time writing. Let me stress again, last year. Anyway, this post is about a song I used to hate when I was a child. Funny how things change, right? I’ve never been into African music, but I’m slowly starting to like some stuff.
Sodade was written by Armanzo Zeferino Soares, a Capeverdean composer. At least, that’s what was decided in court on December 2006, as there were several disputes due to the authorship, some of them including Amandio Cabral and Luís Morais.
Armando Zeferino Soares told the newspaper A Semana that he created the music about six decades ago, in a farewell celebration to a group of friends that embarked for Sao Tomé e Príncipe.
The song talks about the nostalgia experienced by Cape Verdeans emigrants who have been emigrants for centuries. It has never been the richest country, so I guess many people had no other choice but to migrate if they wanted to survive. For example, there’s a recorded migration of Cape Verdeans to New England, as their exceptional seafaring skills helped them to be recruited as whalers. When people migrated from Cape Verde, departures of friends and family were accompanied by serenades to bid farewell to loved ones. Sodade is reminiscent of this tradition.
Specifically, Sodade refers to the migration of some people as contract laborers to São Tomé, which happened during the authoritarian rule over Portugal and its former colonies by Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.
You can find quite a few versions of this song in youtube; I haven’t found any recording in which Armando Zeferino Soares takes part in, though. I think it was Cesária Evora, the barefoot diva, who made this song famous. Or maybe it’s just the first version of the song I ever listened, who knows. I really disliked her music as a child, but I’m listening to her album Miss Perfumado quite often lately. You should definitely give it a try.
I’ve also listened to Bonga’s version. Bonga is an Angolan musician who was the Portuguese record holder for the 400 metres (Angola was a Portuguese colony back then) before becoming a full-time musician. Apart from his version of Sodade, I have his first album, Angola 72, also good stuff.
By the way, I have to admit my main source here was wikipedia, slightly rephrased to release part of the guilt I feel. But hey, many of you wouldn't have read this otherwise, would you?