It is a day that blurs into the rest – nameless, timeless, and vaguely familiar – except for one thing. I must have been about 13/14 years old. Young enough to still be naive about and frightened by the hormonal murmurings that seemed to manifest themselves more and more frequently each day but, at the same time, starting to understand what caused them – the opposite sex.

There were pre-MTV days but still we devoured whatever music videos we could get our hands on. In Maseru, Lesotho, an American man based there used to have someone record videos in the US and send them down. He booked a meeting room at a local hotel and, every Sunday afternoon, for 20cents, we could sit for 3 hours watching these videos.

On that day, she was in blue jeans, a white shirt, hair pulled back, riding a horse on the beach. She was simply called Sade and I was mesmerised. And the music, her voice, resonated with my young soul in a way I did not understand but felt. I was infatuated with her and in love with the music. Over 20 years later, I still am…. infatuated with her and in love with the music. And she still looks (and feels) the same as she did all those years ago; as timeless as the music, at 51 years old.

Sade - 5 09

Helen Folasade Adu, lead singer of the band Sade (yes, it is a BAND even though it uses her name), is one of those rare artists who have been able to carve their own space in the musical landscape. Sade, the band, does not follow trend, try to ‘stay relevant’, or ‘keep up with the times’, they create music they love and can be proud of. It is amazing to consider that, in 25 years, their latest release – Soldier of Love – is only their 6th album and their first since Lovers Rock in 2000. A decade after their last album, the anticipation and love has not dissipated.

The primary members of the band are Bassist Paul Denman, guitarist and sax player Stuart Matthewman, keyboardist Andrew Hale and Sade, and they came together in 2008 in work on Soldier of Love at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio in England, near Sade’s home in rural Gloucestershire. Between Love Deluxe and Lovers Rock, the band, excluding Sade had recorded and released two albums as Sweetback – Sweetback and Stage 2.

This time they were off doing their own thing with Denman managing his son’s punk band, Orange; Matthewman doing film soundtracks in New York; Hale running an A&R consultancy; and Sade focused on the personal (she’s very private). Fortunately for us, the friendship they share hasn’t changed in the 25 years and they all gave up the side-gigs to work on Soldier of Love.  The majority of the music is created by Sade (lyrics), Hale and Matthewman, with Denman involved here and there.

8

The album is vintage Sade. The only music you could compare their music to is their music. It is as intimate as a comfortable silence, gentle, uplifting and enlightening. And Sade’s lyrics are poignant, creative and truthful soul-speak that seem like they are telling your story. Her voice is as soft and smooth as it has always been.

I have no favourite songs. I have had it on repeat for 5 hours now and I have no favourite song. Every song is beautiful. Every song is a piece in the puzzle. None can be isolated. It is a journey. I am submerged. I am not afraid. The music embraces me. Comforts me. The words touch me. Speak me.

The Moon and the Sky

You lay me down and left me for the lions

A long, long time ago

You left me there dying

But you’ll never let me go

Soldier of Love

I’ve lost the use of my heart

But I’m still alive

Still looking for the light

And the endless pool on the other side

Morning bird

You are the blood of me

The harvest of my dreams

There’s nowhere I can find peace

And the silence won’t cease

 

Babyfather

Even to the angels it may sound like a lie

For you child

He  has the troops and extra backup standing by

For you child

For you he’s the best he can be

Oh child don’t you know

Your daddy love come with a lifetime guarantee

 

Bring me home

Put me on a plate with petals and a fire

And send me out to sea

Turn my angry sword against my heart

And let me free

The dawn holds the heaviness of the night

I’ve heard the restless sighs and lovers lies

The brook, the beach and seen the devil’s eyes

So bring me home

8 Comments

  1. phomolo lebotsa

    Need to lay me hands on this. Babyfather: the lyrics speak to me with much congruity- we were blessed with a son on January 20th, the quintessential Aquarian.

  2. nthabiseng

    I feel the same way about the songs. No favourite. Listening to the album on repeat since morning. In another time… That’s exactly how I feel. Like the music just takes you where you ain’t never been. Sade will forever be timeless. Make you believe in love and stuff :)))

  3. Vuyo

    their music takes me to a place of solace…will get my hands on this one, i have all their albums and the best of…naarce!

  4. Mulaifa Sigubu

    Sade’s last album before Soldier of Love is Lovers Rock. I have to admit, out of all the bands’ albums, Lovers Rock still rock me up even today. I listen to 27 seven of what I consider to be the best tracks of Sade. From Diamond Life to Lovers Rock, I don’t even have enough words to describe how their music make me feel. I play they on my phone every single day without getting tired of the soothing music. Oh and the DVD, Lovers Live… Classic classic music. I really love Sade’s music. I haven’t bought Soldier of Love yet, but I heard the single over the radio a couple of times. Sade’s songs are classic. Twenty years from now they will still be rocking…

  5. George Kambwiri

    Great article. Have yet to listen to the latest apart from its single but its enough to show me the band has consistency and its just amazing

  6. matshidiso moloko

    In an industry that tries so much to get an artist to sound like the next, SADE has remained just as SADE. Her music has the ability to make one believe in love, a love that is still out there, trying to find its way to you or even a love that you currently have that you need to hold on to and cherish. Sade is ….music!

  7. Bob Ejiro

    I love Sade so much considering the fact that she’s a native of my country nigeria. I got the album a few weeks back, the rythm and lyrics are so encaptivating that i just cant stop listening to it. incidentally this article was written on my birthday. 🙂 why do i get the feeling that Sade and i have so much in common.. i guess we connect through the music.

  8. Bob Ejiro

    hey, can anyone help with the complete lyrics to all the songs???

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About Kojo Baffoe

Of Ghanaian/German heritage, raised in Lesotho and currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kojo is the proverbial slashie, the professional ‘jack of all trades.’ He is an entrepreneur, writer, facilitator, content architect, former men’s magazine editor and speaker. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) with majors in Economics, Marketing and Business Administration from the former the University of Natal (Durban), now University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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