After decades of neglect when fado was dismissed as a relic from Portugal’s past, a new generation of young women has reinvigorated the nation’s cherished musical style. And no one has embraced fado with more passion and charisma than Mariza, the music’s greatest star and a full-throated singer who revels in the music’s emotional power.
With its blend of Portuguese folk poetry, Arabic cadences and African and Brazilian rhythms, fado was an unintended harvest from Portugal’s far-flung empire. These days, it’s Mariza who’s conquered the world as the first Portuguese musician nominated for a GRAMMY and three BBC Radio 3 Best European Artist awards. Her multi-platinum 2008 album Terra introduced a truly international sensibility with a scintillating mix of songs from Brazil, Cuba, Cape Verde and, of course, Portugal. And with 2010’s Fado Tradicional she returned to her roots, revisiting classic songs in an intimate setting, backed only by acoustic guitar.
Mariza’s latest, 2020’s Warner Music release Canta Amália, is a 20th anniversary celebration of her career as well as a centennial salute to the iconic fadista Amália Rodrigues, of whose music Mariza gives reverent, yet deeply personal, reinterpretations.
In performance Mariza is a captivating presence, stalking the stage looking like an apparition from another era, infusing the timeless melodies of her homeland with a singular style.