Jean-Marc Sauvagnargues & A Banda: Saudade

Just Say the Word

Listening Post 245. It defies neat translation, but you can feel it: Saudade, the Portuguese word at the intersection of longing, melancholy and nostalgia—with sometimes a measure of hope. When Jean-Marc Sauvagnargues and the five members of A Banda (The Band) released their 11-track bossa nova revival/renewal album a few months ago, it was an instant classic of golden age songs, nimble adaptations and elegant new compositions. But in recent days saudade—the word—has taken on an existential dimension, not only regarding loved ones we can’t touch but also an entire world that seems lost. Sauvagnargues’ timely arrival at the bossa nova station was long in coming. Since 2002 he has been, and remains, the drummer of Les Fatals Picards, France’s funniest rock band, having also assumed roles as singer, songwriter and manager. In 2015 he released his first solo album, dedicated to French chanson. But he never forgot the album Getz/Gilberto his musician-father often played during his childhood and for many years he dreamed of doing a Brazilian album of his own. France fell hard for bossa nova in the 1960s and in Nino Ferrer’s tragic love story La Rua Madureira (Madureira Street, video 1) Sauvagnargues applies his velvet vocals to one of the preeminent French bossa hits. In Paroles, Paroles he’s in perfect sync with the lush voice of Particia Lestre in a bossa version of the 1973 pop standard performed by Dalida and Alain Delon (video 2). Saudade includes three new songs, including Le Café Veloso, Sauvagnargues’ retelling of how Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes discovered the Girl from Ipanema (video 3). And in Corcovado—a key track from Getz/Gilberto—one man’s poignant meditation on a window view from yesterday (video 4) may help us find a measure of hope to help soothe the universal anxiety and saudade—of being homesick at home—that unites all humanity today. (Les Trois 8/L’Autre Distribution)

Jean-Marc Sauvagnargues & A Banda: Saudade
Jean-Marc Sauvagnargues: Vocals
Patricia Lestre: Vocals, violin, ukulele
Julien Doumenjou: Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Philippe Monge: Double bass, flute, vocals
Rafaël Meyrier: Percussion, clarinet
Julien Augier, Drums

 

La Rua Madureira / Madureira Street
Lyrics: Nino Ferrer/Music: Daniel Beretta

(From the French lyrics)
No, I’ll never forget Rio’s bay/The color of the sky around Corcovado
La Rua Madureira, the street where you lived/I’ll never forget, even though I’ve never been there

No, I’ll never forget that day in July/Where I got to know you, where we had to separate
In so little time, and we walked in the rain/I spoke of love, and you, you spoke of your country

No, I’ll never forget the sweetness of your body/In the taxi that took us to the airport
You turned around to smile at me before boarding/A Caravelle that never arrived

No, I’ll never forget the day I read/Your name, misspelled, among other unknown names
On the first page of a Brazilian newspaper/I tried to read it, but I understood nothing

No, I’ll never forget the sweetness of your body/The color of the sky around Corcovado
La Rua Madureira, the street where you lived/I’ll never forget, even though I’ve never been there

 

Paroles, Paroles / Words, Words
Original Italian Lyrics: Leo Chiosso & Giancarlo Del Re/Music: Gianni Ferrio
French adaptation by Michaële 

It’s strange, I don’t know what’s happening to me tonight, I’m looking at you as if for the first time
Again, words, always words/The same words
I no longer know what to say to you
Only words
But you are this beautiful love story… That I will never cease reading
Easy words, fragile words/It was too beautiful
You are the yesterday and the tomorrow
Yes, of course too beautiful
Forever my only truth
But the time for dreaming is over
The memories are fading too
When we forget them
You are like the wind that makes the violins sing/And carries away the perfume of roses

Caramels, candies and chocolates
Sometimes, I don’t understand you
Thank you, not for me/But you may as well offer them to someone else
Someone who loves the wind and the perfume of roses
For me, tender words covered in sweetness/Placed on my mouth, but never on my heart

One more word…
Words, words, words…
Listen to me…
Words, words, words…
I beg you…
Words, words, words…
I swear to you…
Words, words, words, words, words/More words that you throw to the wind

This is my destiny, speaking to you…/Speaking to you as if for the first time
Again, words, always words/The same words
How I would love for you to understand me
Nothing but words
If you could listen to me, just once
Magical words, tactical words/That sound phony
You are my forbidden dream
Yes, so phony
My only torment and my single hope
Nothing stops you when you begin
If you only knew how much I want/A little bit of silence
For me, you are the only music…/That makes the stars dance over the sand 

Caramels, candies and chocolates
If you did not exist, I would have to invent you
Thank you, not for me/But you may as well offer them to another
Who loves the stars over the sands
For me, tender words covered in sweetness/Placed on my mouth, but never over my heart

One more word, just one word…
Words, words, words…
Listen to me…
Words, words, words…
I beg you…
Words, words, words…
I swear to you…
Words, words, words, words, words/Still words that you throw into the wind
You are so beautiful!
Words, words, words…
You are so beautiful!
Words, words, words…
You are so beautiful!
Words, words, words…
You are so beautiful!
Words, words, words, words, words/Just words that you throw into the wind

 

Le Café Veloso
Lyrics:  Jean-Marc Sauvagnargues & Laurent Honel/Music: Julien Doumenjou

On the waterfront/Over a drink
On the terrace/We are relaxing

Vinicius and Tom/Recomposing the world
As they watch/The passing people

And every day/Love passes by
On an errand for her mom
Daily/To buy a pack of Craven A

And then she walks away/Leaving them there
Until the next time

By the seaside/In the sun
Far from winter/She is relaxing

She who will never know/The arrow
She planted in the Heart/Of the people she passed

And every day/Love grows
In Tom’s heart/And Vininha’s
Regret becomes bossa nova

And then she passes/Leaving them (there)
The girl from Ipanema

 

Corcovado / Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars
Lyrics & Music: Antonio Carlos Jobim/added English verse by Gene Lees

(From the English and Portuguese lyrics)
Quiet nights of quiet stars/Quiet chords from my guitar
Floating on the silence/That surrounds us
Quiet thoughts and quiet dreams/Quiet walks by quiet streams
And a window that looks out/On Corcovado
Oh, how lovely

A little corner, a guitar/Our love, a song
For the joy of those who love each other
Lots of calm to sit and think/Having time for a dream
Seeing Corcovado from the window/The Redeemer, how beautiful

I want life always just like this, with you next to me/Until the old flame goes out
And I, who was once sad/Not believing in this world
In finding you, I knew/What happiness is, my love

 


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