Mariza Concerto Em Lisboa

Often hailed as the primary torchbearer of a new generation of fado stars carrying the sonic soul of Portugal to fresh ears the world over, Mariza resurfaces in a format that most lends itself to her mesmerising vocal talent with the live disc Concerto em Lisboa. This singer’s traditionally minimalist backing accompaniment of acoustic bass, guitar and percussion receives an interesting boost here with the inclusion of the Sinfonietta de Lisboa, led by renowned Brazilian cellist and conductor Jaques Morelenbaum. The lush string arrangements add a heightened feeling of isolation and hopelessness to songs that, while already generally melancholic and nostalgic, are normally anchored by a sense of resilience. It’s a case of injecting class and emotion where neither was lacking, and there are instances where the orchestra’s syrupy sounds become a bit of a distraction from the show’s centrepiece: Mariza’s incredible vocal dynamics. Her passion for her words and her nation can be felt with each vocal phrasing, whether she’s roaring from deep within her slender frame or dropping to a near-inaudible whisper. The DVD component on disc two offers an informative documentary detailing fado’s historic roots with rare footage of some of the genre’s greats interlaced with interview and performance clips of Mariza recounting her own story. It’s a welcome inclusion that provides context to the singer’s prime example of what fado has become. (Times Square)