Chega de Saudade” is often regarded as the first recorded bossa nova song. As a pioneering song it has been performed by many bossa nova greats beginning with Elizete Cardoso and also including Joao Gilberto (whose version is the most well-known). Since its original release on Cardoso’s 1958 album “Canção do Amor Demais” it has been covered several times by artist in many languages from around the world.
Despite the great variety of artists to have covered this song over the decades, none have been quite as unexpected as American rapper Azealia Banks. The highly controversial New York native is known for her brash lyrics and brazen social media comments which have garnered her lot of attention over the years and even resulted in a suspension from Twitter earlier this year. With that in mind, it is not hard to see why she would not be one of the most likely candidates to cover the Brazilian classic.
Released on June 23rd through her Soundcloud profile the release caught a lot of her fans and lovers of Brazilian music off guard. The song is an acoustic cover and she decides to keep it short and sweet with the track having a length of 1:42. She is surprisingly apt on the track, displaying a degree of tenderness and calmness that is far-removed from her prevailing public image. Equally impressive is her ability to navigate the Portuguese language.
Okayplayer described the cover as:
“a shockingly proficient cover of João Gilberto‘s bossa nova standard “Chega De Saudade,” revealing not only a surprisingly strong command of Portuguese, but also her criminally under-utilized vocal chops. She really can sing. And she proves it in spades here, dipping and diving with grace to a lone acoustic guitar accompaniment, channeling some of the great bossa singers of Gilberto’s time.”
Stereogum also had praise for the track
“Singing beautifully in Portuguese but still delivering all of the attitude and brazenness of her rapping. This is truly an incredibly moving snapshot of a softer, more delicate side of Banks that hopefully sees the light of day more often.”
Below is a Youtube video of her cover and Joao Gilberto’s version: