Saudade is a word with no direct English translation. In the Portuguese language it describes a sense of nostalgia for something that may never return. But in longing for that certain something, whether it’s a person, a place or a time gone by, saudade holds the thing you miss close, and keeps it present despite its absence. Portuguese author Manuel de Mello calls it “A pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.”
While rooted in feelings of pain and sadness, the bittersweet Portuguese word took on a slightly different expression through Brazilian art, music and literature. As a nation steeped in slavery, the vibrance of African culture in Brazil amplified Saudade, and it became something even more painful, but at the same time a little more rhythmic, perhaps even upbeat.
O Aperto da Saudade (the grip of saudade), is a compilation by Far Out Recordings which attempts to translate the word through the music itself. While saudade is traditionally equated with bossa nova and samba - Brazil’s most famous musical exports - we wanted to highlight its hold on the many different kinds of Brazilian music. Reaching into the label’s back catalogue the music ranges from 1965 to the present day, and spans psychedelic folk, samba jazz, bossa nova and MPB, featuring some of the nation’s musical icons alongside archival releases from lesser known artists, as well as some of the label’s more contemporary output.
In times of loss and loneliness, recorded music has a magical power to lift the spirits, soothe the soul and serves as a great reminder that you are not alone.