Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mariza Introduces Nashville to the Sounds of Fado at the Symphony Center

By Anton Garcia-Fernandez.

Mariza has embarked on a tour of the United States and Canada that will not be finished until May, and last night she appeared at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Accompanied by a lineup that included Portuguese guitar, piano, trumpet, classical guitar, bass, and percussion, at the end of her two-hour concert, she got a standing ovation. And deservedly so, because she put on a magnificent show: her mournful voice sang of unrequited love, fate, her childhood, and her homeland, and her backing musicians provided the perfect accompaniment. For many, it was an evening of discovery; for others (and there were definitely many Brazilian and Portuguese immigrants in the audience) it was a unique chance to enjoy the music of one of the foremost names in present-day fado.

As evidenced by most of her records, Mariza’s approach to fado singing is somewhat modern, a combination of influences culled from jazz, pop, African rhythms, and Latin American music. At times she clearly strays from traditional fado, but she has a vast knowledge about its tradition and is extremely respectful of it. Thus, she mixed songs from her latest album, Terra (“Já Me Deixou,” “Rosa Branca,” “Tasco da Mouraria,” “Vozes do Mar”), and more traditional-sounding tunes such as the Southern Portuguese air “Feira de Castro.” One of the highlights of the evening was a rhythmic, percussion-laden reading of Amália Rodrigues’s classic “Barco Negro” that had the audience on their feet.

Clad in a beautiful black dress, Mariza has a powerful, dramatic stage presence, and last night she seemed perfectly in tune with her extraordinarily gifted musicians, which added to the overall charm of the concert. She also introduced some of the songs in very good English, reminiscing about her life and instructing the audience on the meaning and long history of fado. The performance was divided into two parts by a lovely guitarrada, that is, an instrumental fado that allowed Mariza to showcase the abilities of her wonderful musicians. Toward the end of the evening, she even gave a tip of the hat to the Great American Songbook with a yearning version of “Cry Me a River,” a classic made famous by 1950s songstress Julie London. The final surprise was still to come, though: Mariza pulled up a chair and called her guitarist and her Portuguese guitarist, and together they sang a few quatrains from traditional fado songs like “Zanguei-me Com Meu Amor” and “É Tão Bom Ser Pequenino,” unplugged and with no microphone, turning the Schermerhorn into a Lisbon fado house for a few minutes. A fitting finale for a fabulous evening that will be hard to forget.

Nashville, March 10, 2009.


Jonathan Wade said...

It was a fabulous show indeed. Mariza's stage presence was extraordinary. A truly beautiful person with a captivating voice. We enjoyed attending with you and Erin. Hopefully not the last time we still together for a night of fado.

"A minha já estimada e leda Musa / Fico que em todo o mundo de vós cante, / De sorte que Alexandro em vós se veja, / Sem à dita de Aquiles ter enveja"

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jonathan, it was a wonderful evening. Erin and I really liked sharing Mariza's show with someone who knows and appreciates fado and Portuguese culture in general. I am sure that there will be more nights of fado together, maybe even in Lisbon sometime... who knows? ;)

Thanks for your comment!


Fadista said...

Bom saber que o espectáculo correu da melhor forma e que a todos agradou imenso.
Até Lisboa, numa casa de Fados... por enquanto, vamo-nos encontrando por aqui!

Anonymous said...

Caro Anton, Eu já gostava de seu Blog, só que como não falo inglês, não dizia nada, mas como o amigo também fala bem o Portugues, mas para mim, o Castellano também serve perfeitamente, pois há mais de 30 anos , que tenho grandes amizades com esta parte da Galiza, eu estou só abaixo de Valença do Minho 17 kilómetros e todos os fins de semana, tenho galegos em minha casa para a Cena dos Fados, amanhã a reserva só de lá já vai em 32 personas. Bem vou passando por cá, e como Português quero agradecer ao Anton, por esse amor e por essa estima ao Fado. Muito Obrigado. Um abraço Américo

Anonymous said...

Caro Américo,

Muito obrigado pelas suas palavras elogiosas sobre o blog. Estou contente de que goste! Eu também gosto imenso de seu blog, que conheci através do blog do Jaume. As razões de eu falar português são que também falo galego, e também que desde sempre tenho viajado muito pelo Norte de Portugal. O fado também tem sido para mim sempre um bom jeito de aprender a língua portuguesa.

Você mora a só uns kilómetros de Valença do Minho? Então prometo que quando eu estiver na Galícia, vou ir fazer-lhe uma pequena visita à sua casa fadista. Eu vou casar aqui en Estados Unidos em julho, e a minha noiva, Erin, gosta muito da Espanha e do Portugal, e também do fado.

Mais uma vez obrigado pelo seu amor ao fado. Espero que tudo lhe corra pelo melhor este fim de semana!

Um abraço,


Anonymous said...

experienced mariza here in houston november13--a sublime nite on so many levels:that voice, her essence onstage, the musicanship--just thrilling. she mentioned a woman poet a song was based on--any ideas how i could find this poets name & work? thanks, maryb

Anton Garcia-Fernandez said...

Dear Maryb,

Thanks a lot for your message and for visiting this blog. I am glad that you had the chance to attend a Mariza concert in Houston. When I saw her in Nashville, she also mentioned a Portuguese woman poet, but I can't remember her name now. Do you remember what song it was that she sang when she mentioned that poet? Or at least, do you remember what the song was about? That information would help me do a little research to help you out.

I look forward to your message. Thanks again and greetings from Memphis!

Anton Garcia-Fernandez.

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