jeudi 25 septembre 2014

Ave Cesaria : Stromae's tribute to Cesária Évora

Stromae & Ave Cesaria
Ave Cesaria is a song by Stromae, 29 year old Belgian singer & songwriter, It's the fifth single on his second album Racine Carrée. This beautiful song is a tribute to Cesária Évora, a Cape Verdean popular singer also known as "Barefoot Diva", who died on the 17 December 2011 at the age of seventy.

Stromae met Cesária Évora in 2011, a few months before her death, during the Sakifo festival on a French Island called Réunion. Stromae, a big fan of the singer, wanted to ask her for a collaboration but never had enough courage to do so... Here's how he put it in French :
« J’ai eu la chance de la rencontrer une fois juste un peu avant qu’elle nous quitte, à la Réunion au festival Sakifo. J’aurais bien voulu lui proposer une collaboration. Mais j’ai vu son état, j’étais mal à l’aise. D’ailleurs, j’ai même pas eu le courage d’aller lui parler tout seul, j’étais avec ma maman. Sur scène… respect! J’avais presque la larme. J’avais vraiment été touché. »
In admiration of this woman who throughout her 54 year career performed without shoes in support of the homeless, poor women and children in her country, Stromae dedicated this touching song to the late Morna Diva.

He didn't hesitate to talk about her crossed eye problem. Cesária Évora suffered from Strabismus, also known as heterotropia, a visual problem in which the eyes are not aligned properly and point in different directions.

Souviens-toi de la première fois, où nos regards s'étaient croisés
Même que ton œil disait merde à l'autre...

In English :

Can you remember the first time we met, when our eyes first crossed ?
Despite the fact that one eye didn't look in the same direction as the other...

It's difficult to listen to the song seated. Especially when you get to the part he said... 

Ave Cesaria, chapeau pour la route à pieds
Nue est, et nue était, Diva aux pieds nus, restera

In English :

Ave Cesaria, Hats off  for your barefoot journey
Bare you are, and bare you were and Barefooted Diva you'll remain for evermore

I cannot resist jumping up and shaking my african bums. Sadly they no longer shake as much as they used to since I started eating salad day and night. Mdr!

I adore Stromae. This guy knows how to write lyrics that can get you depressive and sucidal reading it but makes you jump on your feet when you listen to it. If he writes a christain song, it would get played in clubs and parties.
He leaves non-francophones longing to learn French, He has a command for the French language and is capable of making her a beautiful and unresistable woman :) If you get what I mean... I respect this man a lot. Chapeau !!!

I also liked the idea of him chipping in some portuguese... Especially the part he kept repeating :

Oh Sodade....Saudade de nha Cesaria...

In English :


Oh sadness... I long for my Cesaria...

Note that no word in English can actually perfctly translate "Saudade" a portuguese word which expresses what you feel when you miss someone or somewhere. We can use long or miss but these words are not strong enough to capture the actual meaning of "Saudade". And Nha comes from Senhora, which means mrs.


Sodade can be translated to "tristesse" in French. It is also a title of one of the songs by Cesária Évora. In the song she says "sodad de nha terra", which can be translated in English from  Cape Verde Portuguese as "I am missing my land". Sodad is the feeling of sadness, you experience when missing and wishing for something that you loved and had once but is no longer at your reach.

He definately did achieve his goal, a song to show respect for the "Queen of Morna". One of the best dedication song this year.

Here's a little biography on Cesária Évora, if you already don't know her. The Cape Verdean singer was born on the 27th August 1941  in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde. She was nicknamed "la Diva aux pieds nus" (in English : Barefoot Diva) because she performed without shoes, She is also known as "Queen of Morna".
She was born into a poor family with five other children. At the age of seven her father who was a part-time musician died, and her mother who could not raise all six children sent her to an orphanage at the age of ten.

In the 1960s, she started singing on Portuguese cruise ships stopping at Mindelo as well as on the local radio. She performed for the first in Lisbon,  Portugal in 1985 where  she was discovered by the producer José da Silva. Her international success came only in 1988 with the release of her first album La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, recorded in France.

Her 1995 album Cesária got her her first Grammy Award nomination. In 1997, she won KORA All African Music Awards in three categories: "Best Artist of West Africa", "Best Album" and "Merit of the Jury". In 2003, her album Voz d'Amor was awarded a Grammy in the World music category.
On the 8th of May 2010, she suffered a heart attack after a series of concerts. In September 2011, her agent announced that she was ending her career due to poor health. On the 17th of December 2011, she died in São Vicente, Cape Verde, from respiratory failure and hypertension.

It was said that she found it difficult being at star in the begining because a lot of people thought she was ugly. This probably explains the verse in Stroame's tribute :

Mais pourquoi moi, alors que les autres te trouvaient bien trop laide...

In English :

So why me, when the other find you ugly...

Listen to the song here and let me know what you think. Me, I put it on replay always :)
Listen to Cesaria Evora's "Sodade" :

Here's a video of Cesária Évora performing :
Here is the lyrics of "Ave Cesaria" :

In French :

Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora

Les effluves de rhum dans ta voix, me font tourner la tête
Tu me fais danser du bout des doigts, comme tes cigarettes
Immobile, comme à ton habitude, mais es-tu devenue muette
Ou est-ce à cause des kilomètres, que tu n’me réponds plus

Evora, Evora, tu ne m'aimes plus ou quoi ?
Evora, Evora, après tant d'années
Evora, Evora, une de perdue, c'est ça ?
Evora, Evora, je te retrouverai, c'est sûr
Evora, Evora 
Evora, Evora

Souviens-toi de la première fois, où nos regards s'étaient croisés
Même que ton œil disait merde à l'autre, surtout à moi
Mais pourquoi moi, alors que les autres te trouvaient bien trop laide
Peut-être que moi je suis trop bête, mais je sais t'écouter

Evora, Evora, tu ne m'aimes plus ou quoi ?
Evora, Evora, après tant d'années
Evora, Evora, une de perdue, c'est ça ?
Evora, Evora, je te retrouverai, c'est sûr
Evora, Evora 
Evora, Evora 
Evora, Evora 
Evora, Evora 

Ave Cesaria, chapeau pour la route à pieds
Nue est, et nue était, Diva aux pieds nus, restera
Et à vie Cesaria, et à la mort aussi
Aux brigades, tu embrigadas des millions de soldats dans ta patrie
Donc garde à vous Cesaria, tu nous as tous quand même bien eus
Ah tout le monde te croyait disparue, mais tu es revenue
Sacrée Cesaria, quelle belle leçon d'humilité
Malgré toutes ces bouteilles de rhum, tous les chemins mènent à la dignité

Evora, Evora, tu ne m'aimes plus ou quoi ?
Evora, Evora, après tant d'années
Evora, Evora, une de perdue, c'est ça ?
Evora, Evora, je te retrouverai, c'est sûr
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora 
Evora, Evora 
Evora, Evora 

Oh Sodade....Saudade de nha Cesaria...
Oh Sodade....Saudade de nha Cesaria...
Oh Sodade....Saudade de nha Cesaria...
Oh Sodade....Saudade de nha Cesaria...
Oh Sodade....Saudade de nha Cesaria...
Oh Sodade....Saudade de nha Cesaria...
Oh Sodade....Saudade de nha Cesaria...
Oh Sodade....Saudade de nha Cesaria...
Oh Sodade....
Oh Sodade....
Oh Sodade...
Oh Sodade....


In English :

The scent on rhum in your voice makes my head spin
On your finger tips I dance just like your cigarettes
Motionless, I know you can be
But why the silence ?
Is it the distance seperating us ?

Evora, Evora
Don't you love me anymore ?
Evora, Evora
After all these years
Evora, Evora
One more fish in the sea, Is that it ?
Evora, Evora
I'll get you back, I'm sure
Evora, Evora
I know I will, you'll see
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora

Do you remember our first time ? The first time our eyes met ?
No one had an eye for you except me because I know how to listen to you
The Ugly, the beauty I loved whilst the others only saw to hear
Dumb am I may be but I know how you speak to me

Evora, Evora
Don't you love me anymore ?
Evora, Evora
After all these years
Evora, Evora
One more fish in the sea, Is that it ?
Evora, Evora
I'll get you back, I'm sure
Evora, Evora
I know I will, you'll see
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora

Ave Cesaria
Hats off! As barefoot you trod
Bare you are and bare you were
The Barefooted Diva for evermore
In life Cesaria, in death too
Obrigado, we thank you
Obrigada, we are your soldiers to attention we stand
Cesaria, you fooled us all huh ?
Gone we thought you but back you came
Sacré Cesaria, a lesson of himility
And despite all the rhum, you lead us to dignity

Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora

Evora, Evora
Don't you love me anymore, or what ?
Evora, Evora
After all these years
Evora, Evora
One more fish in the sea, Is that it ?
Evora, Evora
I'll get you back, I'm sure
Evora, Evora
I know I will, you'll see
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora
Evora, Evora

Oh sadness... I am nostalgic for my Cesaria...
Oh sadness... I am nostalgic for my Cesaria...
Oh sadness... I am nostalgic for my Cesaria...
Oh sadness... I am nostalgic for my Cesaria...
Oh sadness... I am nostalgic for my Cesaria...
Oh sadness... I am nostalgic for my Cesaria...
Oh sadness... I am nostalgic for my Cesaria...
Oh sadness... I am nostalgic for my Cesaria...
Oh sadness...
Oh sadness...
Oh sadness...
Oh sadness...

The English translation is not correct but it's what was used as subtitle in the video. I should do a proper translation... some other time maybe. All the same, enjoy !

Ave Cesaria. Un tres bel hommage !



7 commentaires:

  1. Thanks for this great post. I have recently discovered Stromae and been into his music a lot, of course inclding Ave Cesaria :)

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  2. I am also new at discovering Stromae's work and am so glad I came over this piece while searching some stuff on Stromae. Saudade or Sodade is indeed difficult to translate with a word to word maneuver. You're right! Ave Cesaria is overall among the best love songs I have come across in (my) modern times. I label it "a no-concession love declaration"... That sincerity is overwhelming and the words must have come from a heavenly inspiration...

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  3. Same over here... Thanks for your time it is a really nice song. Merci !

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  4. Maravilhoso este post, Cesária Évora foi realmente uma pessoa muito importante tanto internacionalmente, quanto para nós falantes do português!

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  5. What are some sad songs that are just so well made that they just take your breath away and give you shivers?
    Lemmy Tribute Song

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