Place des Arts
Mariza : the New Voice of Fado
After a three year hiatus, fans highly anticipated the return of acclaimed Fado singer Mariza that once again graced the stage and marvellously charmed her Montreal audience last Saturday at Salle Wilfrid - Pelletier of La Place des Arts.
The lights in the auditorium are dim, in the foreground the figures of four musicians are seen while we hear the gentle plucking of a Portuguese guitar. Slowly, a figure emerges from the side shadows humming languorously. Suddenly, the lights brighten and a poignant voice surges from the lithe figure with silvery short hair, clad elegantly in a dark purple gown. Mariza has arrived!
After a three year hiatus, fans highly anticipated the return of acclaimed Fado singer Mariza that once again graced the stage and marvelously charmed her Montreal audience last Saturday at Salle Wilfrid - Pelletier of La Place des Arts.
Fado is a form of popular Portugese urban music, characterized by mournful melodies and lyrics, often about travel by sea, lost love or a general reflection of poverty in society, and infused with a characteristic sentiment of melancholy, resignation and the twists of fate. As Mariza herself explained, Fado is based on the overall feeling of life - which she brilliantly interprets through her emotion filled songs.
Born in Mozambique to a Portuguese father and a mother of African heritage, Mariza spent the whole of her childhood listening to Traditional Portugese Fado and perfecting her art. Her debut album in 2001, called Fado em Mim propelled her to stardom. In only twelve years, she went from being an obscure, local Lebanese singer to being an international star, welcomed in music circles everywhere. Having become a figurehead of the current New Fado movement, Mariza continues to mix a variety of genres and meanders between basic Fado and jazz, flamenco, Latin and African influences and sounds. Her warm and vibrant voice paired with an outstanding artistic personality and stage presence continues to charm her listeners.
Constantly reinventing the repertoire of traditional Fado, she doesn’t hesitate to add her touch to classics by Fado's most famous and beloved interpreters such as deceased “queen of Fado “Amália Rodrigues, among others. Barco Negro a Rodrigues original, is one of the songs Mariza performed with much depth during last Saturday’s concert.
Enjoying a more “up-close and personal” approach to her concerts. Mariza added classy humor and shared a bit of Fado history with the crowd. She demonstrated three different styles of Fado to known “classics”, notably Primavera, attributed to poet David Mourão Ferreira. I was very impressed by her overall showmanship. In Rosa Branca, she invited the crowd to participate by making different sections compete amicably against each other. Midway through a piece, she stopped her musicians, disconnected her microphone and started to sing accapella, thus showcasing the full power and range of her voice while bringing the audience into a more intimate listening surrounding which would be reminiscent of traditional Fado taverns.
Before her last number, she jokingly said “SI SI this is the last song… I am not a radio!” She went on to perform three other pieces including her well loved Gente de Minha Terra, which was met with thunderous applause.
Supported by a talented entourage of musicians: Jose Manuel Neto on Portuguese guitar, Pedro Joia on classical guitar, Yami on base and Vicky Marques on drums.Mariza interpretation of Fado is personal, very moving and original. It will definitely be interesting to see the evolution of her artistic personality in future performances.
Mariza is currently on a North American tour: Her next performances will be:
23 October Harris Theater for Music and Dance Chicago, IL, US
27 October The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts Vancouver, BC, Canada
30 October Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Berkeley, CA, US
Please see the below website for a complete listing of her up-coming performances.