Mariza Fado Curvo

For an artist who has only recently come into her own with a debut in 2002 called Fado Em Mim, followed up by Fado Curvo, Mariza has taken the traditional Portugeuse folk scene and world music at large by storm. Perhaps this partly has to do with timing. The Mozambique-born singer’s sultry, lilting and powerfully emotive voice reverberates as a reminder of one of Portugal’s greatest fado singers, Amalia Rodrigues, who is as much a symbol of the nation’s artistic heritage as perhaps, Edith Piaf might have been for France. With Rodrigues’s death in 1999, Mariza’s emergence in the scene signals the passing on of tradition to a new generation. Whilst her debut paid reverence to her predecessor, Fado Curvo shows Mariza staking out her own territory with the traditional form. Fado was previously popularised in the global music scene by the Portuguese group Madredeus whose multi-instrumental layers gave a slightly richer texture to the folk tradition. But fado is primarily about conveying yearning, emphatic joy or melancholia with the sheer power of one’s lyrical and melodic intensity. Mariza chooses to do this with her remarkable voice, while producer Carlos Maria Trindade provides the sparsest of guitar accompaniment. The overall result is a meditatively paced, highly poeticised experience, with even touches of jazz thrown in (hence her own take on the form). The lyrics may read poorly in translation, but the method of singing alone can convey the nuances. A promising follow-up by fado’s new champion. (Times Square)