January 15, 2020 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Madonna sings Cesária Évora's famous morna, "Sodade" (with Dino D'Santiago).

Cesária's version

Cesária Évora - Crêtcheu Di Ceu
Cremilda Medina & Tito Paris - Nôs Morna
Nancy Vieira - É Morna
Teofilo Chantre - Alma Morna
Teofilo Chantre - Bô Viajá
Mornas de Cabo Verde [Spotify playlist]

Cesária Évora previously
posted by chavenet (23 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
She’s doing something interesting with that guitar but I’m not sure what.
Props to her for taking up the challenge. She’s got guts, you have to give her that.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:08 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]

lest nothing remain unappropriated …
posted by scruss at 12:19 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

HI! NB, this song isn't Cesária's, but was written by Armando Zeferino Soares and first popularied by the singer known as Bonga, from Angola. I'm not going to comment on Madonna's version or her portuguese.
posted by os tuberoes at 12:38 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]

I really liked Madonna's version, but it's almost unfair posting it with the original, which is absolutely sublime. Thanks you so much for that!

I didn't know Cesária Évora before your post, but her voice sounded somewhat familiar, and I found why - Ausencia.
posted by doggod at 12:40 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

Ditto what doggod said. Also was not familiar with the word "Sodade", which according to wikipedia, comes from the Portuguese "Saudade":
Saudade is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one cares for and/or loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.
posted by gwint at 12:43 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]

I said it in '11 in the previous thread, and I'll say it here again: timeless, beautiful, haunting, Petit Pays by Cesaria Evora is a masterwork.
posted by lalochezia at 12:51 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]

Most of what Cesaria Evora did was/is a masterwork. All of it is worth listening to. The same cannot be said about Madonna.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:07 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]

The only longing I felt in Madonna's version was the longing to hear something else, I'm afraid.
posted by Kabanos at 1:10 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]

NB, this song isn't Cesária's, but was written by Armando Zeferino Soares and first popularied by the singer known as Bonga, from Angola.

And here's a version with Cesaria and Bongo singing it together.
posted by Kabanos at 1:15 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]

I love both Cesaria's and Bonga's versions. This might be a good place to drop Luaka Bop's great Afro-Portuguese compilation Telling Stories to the Sea, which features both artists.
posted by jshttnbm at 2:16 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]

Stromae’s ode to Cesaria is worth listening to.
posted by Pendragon at 3:00 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]

Give her credit for trying, I guess.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:35 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

I'm not one to suggest that anyone stay in their lane, but sometimes I'm reminded why it is occasionally healthy advice.

I like Madonna for a lot of reasons. This, unfortunately, is not one of them. I had to stop, but was glad that there were other links to listen to completely! Never heard of morna before...
posted by Chuffy at 4:58 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

i thought she was trying to do it more as a fado song - and i did hear that feeling in her voice a bit - i'll let others more familiar with the music judge whether that was a good thing to do or whether she did it well, but she certainly doesn't have the voice to go all out and do it like cesaria

but i'd bet other singers from portugal have sung it in a similar way
posted by pyramid termite at 5:20 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

Given the talk of appropriation, when would it be considered fair for other artists to attempt the music? Cesária Evora has been dead for nine years - do we wait another nine before anyone is allowed to cover it?
posted by drivingmenuts at 7:39 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

Madonna has a specific personal history with appropriation that is going to color reactions toHer performance more than abstract questions about the concept.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:35 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

This is a lovely post, and thanks os tuberoes for introducing me to Bongo, I'm on a binge now. No one can match Cesária Evora at being Cesária Evora, and least of all Madonna. In a way, Madonna's special sauce is being fiercely ambitious, and that very quality works against the spirit of Evoria's music. Saudade is the opposite of fierce.
There was a hint of not-fierceness on Ray of Light, but because of this post I listened to a few tracks, and it is probably more of a production thing than Madonna's singing that creates the (slightly) softer sound.
posted by mumimor at 5:15 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]

"Madonna simultaneously illustrates two different definitions of 'tone-deaf.'"
posted by aspersioncast at 6:25 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]

Madonna and Cesária aside, thank you chavenet for that spotify collection of mornas. Some really nice stuff in there.
posted by Kabanos at 6:29 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]

Yeah Madonna's version just falls flat. She sings it like any other song. Part of what's so magic about Evora is just how deep and rich her singing is. Very few performers have what she has; Billie Holiday leaps to mind. Now I'm shuddering at the idea of Madonna performing Strange Fruit. Perhaps she knows better.

I love the set Madonna's playing on though. It manages to look like a homey Lisbon fado cafe when actually it's a stage in a 3000+ person auditorium. The musicians look like they're having fun too. I wonder how many are locals? Lisbon is amazing right now, this past couple of years. It's almost a tourist cliche now but I highly recommend visiting if you want to hear this kind of music but done well, in much smaller settings.

One of the best things Metafilter has done for my life is introduce me to Cesaria Evora. Sadly, on the occasion of her death. I've now absorbed most of her catalog and am hungry for me. Excited about that Spotify morna playlist.
posted by Nelson at 7:46 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]

The first time I heard Cesaria Evora and Sodade I knew what it meant without knowing any of the words. She’s amazing. I’m sad I never got to see her live.

It’s wild to me that it’s a common remix sample/track even now.

Gonna have to check out the video of Cesaria and Bonga when I’ve had a better day. Today is not the day for that gem.
posted by affectionateborg at 10:42 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]

I saw Cesaria Evora live once, and the barefoot diva was pretty damn extraordinary. That being in the same room with her voice was fantastic wasn't a surprise--but what also blew me away was the subtlety of her accompanying band. All those guitars and cavaquinhos blended together so lusciously. It sounded like a mountain stream of sound.
posted by umbú at 9:00 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]

I saw her live in the late 1990’s at a festival and she was amazing. Head and shoulders above most of the other performances.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:25 PM on January 17

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