Saudade, Brazilian version

Saudade is intrinsically Portuguese. We only talk about it well in Lisbon, we only really feel it deeply in Porto. Some French lusophiles have, however, ventured to give their definition. With happiness.

Pierre Barouh talks about“an inhabited lack”. In his song Saudade, Bernard Lavilliers proposes the image of“a large sailing ship that we never caught”. Gilles Lapouge magnificently describes saudade as “delicious sadness of things that are no more”. Saudade is always part of the cohabitation of irreducible oppositions: the past and the future, happiness and sadness, the near and the far, love and suffering, realization and loss, fullness and emptiness …

Obviously, Portugal exported its saudade to its colonies. Everyone now knows the soda Cape Verdean thanks to the singer Cesária Evora, who made it an international success. A soda of migrants.

“Saudade brasileira”

We find it in Brazil of course. And there too with an emblematic song, the flagship song of bossa nova: Chega of saudade (“Enough nostalgia! ”), written by the poet Vinicius de Moraes and sung by João Gilberto to music by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

But how to say? It seems to me that saudade has mutated somewhat by crossing the Atlantic. Portuguese saudade is metaphysical, philosophical, historical, existential. Brazilian saudade is lighter, more poetic, more personal, simpler too: it very much resembles our good old nostalgia!

I hypothesize that most Brazilians, immigrants by choice or by force, do not necessarily have a great saudade of a dark and difficult past and that they prefer to turn their thoughts towards a better future.

Kill nostalgia

On the other hand, there is something that Brazilians all love to do: “matar a saudade” (“kill the saudade”!). Meet old friends you haven’t seen for a long time, eat a delicious dish from your childhood, return to the places of pleasant moments of the past, have a hell of a party like when you were twenty, sing old hits at the local karaoke, that’s it, “kill nostalgia” ! It’s more concrete and positive than Portuguese saudade, which always has a touch of impossibility, a connotation of suffering. In Brazil, we definitely prefer “make the skin” to the saudade! It’s enjoyable.

But there is also a great saudade, an immense saudade, an infinite saudade: the “Saudade do Brasil”, that of Brazilian expatriates “outside”, more and more numerous. It’s the saudade of exiles.

Observation: this “Saudade do Brasil” also affects French expatriates! After a few years of staying here, they return to France with a big, big saudade from Brazil and the Brazilians, a saudade that they will try in vain to “kill” from a distance with a lot of force. caipirinhas and Brazilian music!

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