"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sade ~ Essentielles de luxe (essential luxury)

"There's a quiet storm and it never felt like this before. There's a quiet storm that is you. There's a quiet storm and it never felt this hot before. Giving me something that's taboo." Sweetest Taboo, Promise (1984).

"Sweetest Taboo" (1985)

This week, 10 years after releasing her last album. Sade (Adu) released her 6th album - Soldier of Love. As I'm writing this entry, I must confess that I'm having great difficulty. How can I, in mere words, explain how amazing this woman is, how she has effected and informed my life, and countless others for 25+ glorious years?

Maybe I should start with the basics: Helen Folsade Adu (Sade) was born in Nigeria, to an African father and an English mother. In the early 1980s she joined a funk band - Pride - as a backup singer and songwriter. When Sade got the chance to sing lead one evening, she sang a song that she had recently written, 'Smooth Operator.' The rest, as they say, is history...

"Smooth Operator" (1984)

I first discovered Sade in 1986. That was also the year that I met Peter. Although we were barely 17, the adult-jazz-R&B-soul-funk groove of her music, her smokey haunting voice, and incredible grace and beauty had us entranced. Her music became our relationship's soundtrack. But more importantly, Sade's music became my life's soundtrack.

At 17 I was just beginning to truly discover and appreciate the jazz my mother had been playing in our home my entire life: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzterald, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone, Yuma Sumak, Mercedes Sosa...Sade's music, too, was born of these founding mothers. She took these primary elements and infused them with a lush sensuality and an overtly self-aware erotic moodiness. She and her music was not overtly hyper-sexualized and desperate (think Madonna to Britanny - and all those in-between, you know who I'm talking about).  At 17, Sade spoke to the woman that was emerging in me. And her music, though she is ten years older than I, evolved and matured as I did.

Sade is a timeless 21st century diva/chantuese--oh so Parisianne. And that's what's so cool about her. Sade's sound and style stands outside of time, yet is of the moment. I just can't find the right words. No worries - Sade's music speaks for itself. I'm tempted to offer my favorite tracks on each album, each speaks to a specific moment in my life. But that would do you a disservice. You need to discover her for yourself. Each of her albums is an essentielles de luxe:
Diamond Life (1984)
Promise (1985)
Stronger Than Pride (1988)
Love Deluxe (1992)
Lover's Rock (2000)
Soldier of Love (2010)

"Soldier of Love" (2010)

Vivre, de rire, de l'amour,

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