On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Cesaria Evora – Sodade (1992)
Sodade is a Cape Verdean slow coladeira song written in the 1950s by Armando Zeferino Soares, and best popularized by Cesária Évora on her 1992 album Miss Perfumado . The name is the Cape Verdean Creole variant of the Portuguese term .
We remain close to Africa today, dear reader, as we leave South Africa, head out into the Atlantic Ocean to Cape Verde. Here we come across a singer by the name of Cesária Évora. Born into poverty, Evora literally sang her way to wealth and prosperity, her career beginning in the late 1950s. When we join her in 1992 it is with the release of her fourth solo album, Miss Perfumado, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Sodade.
Sodade was written by Armando Zeferino Soares in the 1950s. The title is a Cape Verdean variant of a Portuguese term which refers to nostalgia and longing. The history of the island goes that since the 1800s residents have emigrated to distant lands in search of better lives but they long for home and miss the lives they once had there. In her take on the song, Cesaria Evora taps into this deep emotional state and laments the distance of the land she was once called home. She wants to write letters to send back there but it is not easy. She also sings of that magical day when she will return but given her mournful voice you get the impression that could be many years from now.
I was not familiar with Cesaria Evora prior to this challenge but hers is a classic rags to riches tale and she became a singer of great renown in her lifetime. Sodade boasts a beautiful melody while Evora’s voice is simply delightful. Evora continued performing into 2010 but after a heart attack her health deteriorated and it was announced her career was over. She died in 2011 at the age of 70.
Favourite songs so far: