"Saudade" is a noun that is difficult to express in English. In the latter, if we were to convey how much we are affected by someone's absence, we'd say "I miss you". In Portuguese, we'd say "tenho saudade" (I have "Saudade"). Perhaps because we have a noun to express that feeling of anxiety and absence, it can mean much more.
Depending, of course, in the context, Saudade can be melancholy, bittersweet absence or a deep guttural feeling of longing. It can also be a romantic word. Indeed, it is a word deeply enmeshed in Portugal's culture and unique history.
Here are some other differences. In English if we want to say that we were unable to catch the bus, we say "I missed it..." ( eu perdi o autocarro)
If we were unable to be in a place we´d say “I missed the classes (faltei às aulas).
Saudade is often mentioned in FADO, our national song, that was recognized as World Heritage in 2011, but today I chose Cesária Évora, a Cape Verdean singer whose song "Saudade" invokes both the word and the feelings that come with it.
Cesária Evora (1941-2011), was born in Mindelo, Cape Verde. Cize, as her friends used to call her, began singing in the cafes of Cape Verde at the age of 16. She stopped singing in 1975 owing to some personal problem, but later, persuaded by friends she started singing again. She went to Paris to perform and in 1988, her first album entitled La Diva aux pieds nus, was released. It was a big success and a hit among the Cape Verdean community and other albums followed. Miss Perfumado (1992) was the one that acclaimed Cesária as an international artist. It included one of her most celebrated songs, "Sodade". Cafe Atlantico(1999) was dedicated to Mindelo, the town where she was born, on the island of Sao Vicente.
Cesária was often called the "barefoot diva" because she performed barefoot. She was also known as the "queen of morna." Morna is the blues, Cape Verde style.
Holder of three Grammy nominations, she was named Artist of the Year in 1998 by the American World Music Awards. In 2003, her album Voz d'Amor was awarded a Grammy in the World music category. Critics have compared her to vocalists Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf.Cesária Évora was fully recognized by the media:
Rolling Stone: "Cesaria Evora really only sings two ways well or magnificently."
New York magazine: "... some of the most beautiful, haunting and (pardon us) perfect music ever sung in Portuguese or any other language."
The New York Times: "... Her contralto is filled with forbearance and comfort, as if she has seen the worst but can still offer consolation."
The New Yorker: "Hail, Cesaria."
I met Ms. Cesária Évora in a cocktail party that followed her show when she performed in the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford and saw how proud she was when the consul of Portugal arrived to congratulate her.
Carlos Cerqueira, Cesária, 2011
consultado em 26 de maio de 2013