Saturday, March 26, 2011

The New Queen of Fado: Mariza née Marisa dos Reis Nunes

Mariza-A Rainha do Fado

Mariza knows that on the shoulders of Amália Rodrigues she now stands as the reigning Queen of Fado by being an ambassador of sorts to spread the beauty of one of Portugal's national treasures, it's music.

Soulful and haunting, fado (meaning "fate" in Portuguese) captures something essential about Portugal. The songs are often about love and loss. Often a fadista is a woman dressed in black, singing with great dignity and drama, accompanied by a Portuguese guitar player and a classical guitarist.

The genre can be traced back to the 1820s in Portugal. Some say it came earlier from Africa, while others attribute it to the sailors and fishermen off the Portuguese coast. It took root in the working class bars of Lisbon and gave rise to 20th century stars like the unforgettable Amália Rodrigues. Today, a young generation of fado singers is embracing the centuries-old music, redefining and reinvigorating the tunes. And the reigning fadista is Mariza.

Mariza was born in what was then Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique to a Mozambican mother and Portuguese father. The family emigrated to Lisbon when Mariza was three, and since then, she has been surrounded by fado; the singing never ceased in the Mouraria tavern her parents owned.

Mariza and another one of my favorites, singer, Concha Buika.

In 2001, Mariza released her first album, Fado em Mim. National and international recognition quickly followed. In 2003, she was selected "Best European Artist" by BBC Radio 3; the following year, she won the "European Border Breakers Award," an award sponsored by the European Union. In 2007, her album "Concerto em Lisboa" was nominated for a Latin music Grammy. Mariza also starred in the recent music documentary, "Fados," by director Carlos Saura.

Photos: Getty Images


Marona said...

I love Mariza! She she's performed at the Mondavi Center at least twice so far. She mentioned her grandma who I believe lived in Mozambique. :)

Ana said...

Thank you for sharing a beautiful story - I have been reading a new ebook entitled, A Fado for the River tracing back to Mozambique in 1974. It's a haunting tale of murder and love that all started with a visit to the Limpopo River. Are any of you originally from Mozambique?


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