By Anton Garcia-Fernandez.
Mariza, one of the foremost names of present-day fado, is scheduled to tour the United States and Canada. A concert at Toronto's Massey Hall on February 13 will mark the beginning of a tour that will take the young singer from coast to coast from February to May. One of Mariza's stops on this long American sojourn will be Nashville, where she will appear on March 9 at the Schermerhorn. It is a magnificent opportunity for American audiences to experience the excitement of a live fado performance from one of the most important fadistas of today, and I certainly won't miss it when she comes to Nashville.
Born in Mozambique in 1973, Mariza moved to Lisbon when she was three. There she started singing fado at her parents' restaurant in the neighborhood of Alfama, a part of town closely associated with fado. At age seven, she was already performing at important fado houses such as Adega Machado, where she met legendary artists such as Maria Amélia Proença and Alfredo Duarte Jr. and began to hone her skills as a fado singer. Before her first album, Fado em mim (Fado in Me, 2002), brought her international recognition, Mariza had already sung in Belgium and the Netherlands and on many TV shows in Portugal. Her first CD, intended as a tribute to Amália Rodrigues, became a big hit both in Portugal and abroad, which prompted her to go on a world tour that brought her to the United States for the first time.
The rest of her albums, Fado curvo (2003), Live in London (DVD, 2004), Transparente (2005), Concerto em Lisboa (2006), and Terra (2008), increased her reputation as one of the divas of the New Fado, a group of young singers striving to achieve a new sound in fado while at the same time showing respect for its long, glorious tradition. Influenced by other styles such as jazz, gospel, and Brazilian music, Mariza has become one of the most appreciated innovators of fado in the new century. Her tour of the United States and Canada will certainly be a treat to all fado aficionados this side of the Atlantic.
Here is a clip of Mariza live on the Late Show with David Letterman back in October 2007. Letterman looks absolutely lost for words after her heart-wrenching performance. Enjoy!