From Maria Estefania --- 

I wanted to share with you my favorite lamentation concept, and a word that literally haunts me, as part of my Portuguese heritage.  This word was one of my great grandfather’s favorites as well, and he wrote about it briefly as an example of “untranslatable” words, words so unique to a culture that can only be translated as a paraphrase, only as an approximation.

In any case, the definition/translation/approximation is very rich and haunting, and fits along the line of our work, so I wanted to share it with you.  

"Saudade (European Portuguese: [sɐwˈðaðɨ], Brazilian Portuguese: [sawˈdadi] or [sawˈdadʒi], Galician: [sawˈðaðe]; plural saudades)[1] is a Portuguese word that has no direct translation in English. It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.[2] A stronger form of saudade may be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing.

Saudade was once described as "the love that remains" after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one's children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings all together, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.

In Portuguese, 'tenho saudades tuas', translates as 'I have saudade of you' meaning 'I miss you', but carries a much stronger tone. In fact, one can have 'saudade' of someone whom one is with, but have some feeling of loss towards the past or the future."

More in:

Bossa Nova as you may know is widely accepted to be the musical representation of Saudade.   I personally think that tango is a “darker” representation of this emotional state also.

Leave a Reply.