In last 20 years, Mariza has risen from a local phenomenon, known only to a small circle of admirers in Lisbon, to one of the most widely acclaimed stars of the International Music circuit.
It all started with her first CD, Fado em Mim, released in 2001, which quickly led to a number of highly successful international presentations - the Québec Summer Festival, in which she received the event’s First Award (Most Outstanding Performance), New York’s Central Park, the Hollywood Bowl, the Royal Festival Hall, the Womad Festival - and ultimately earned her BBC Radio 3’s award for Best European Artist in the area of World Music.
Fado em Mim was an exciting first album, showing a young singer with a rich, vibrant voice and a strong artistic personality.
She still sang several hits of Amália Rodrigues’ repertory but her approach to the heritage of the great Fado diva was already so personal that she could easily cast away any suggestion of mere imitation. And within her original material Ó Gente da minha Terra, by the young composer Tiago Machado, soon became a major hit in its own right.
Mariza’s career now proceeded with even greater success than ever, with multi-platinum album releases, and appearances on some of the most important stages in the world: the Paris Olympia, the Frankfurt Opera, the London Royal Festival Hall, the Amsterdam Le Carré, the Barcelona Palau de la Música, the Sydney Opera House, the New York Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall - in the latter case with a stage setting especially designed for her by none other than one of the world’s greatest architects, Frank Gehry.
No Portuguese artist since Amália Rodrigues has experienced such a triumphant international career, accumulating success after success on the most prestigious world stages, raving reviews from the most demanding music critics worldwide and countless international awards and distinctions. As usual, her musical partners are simply only the best: Jacques Morelenbaum and John Mauceri, José Merced and Miguel Poveda, Gilberto Gil and Ivan Lins, Lenny Kravitz and Sting, Cesária Évora and Tito Paris, Carlos do Carmo and Rui Veloso. And her repertoire, while firmly rooted in classical and contemporary Fado, has grown to include occasional Cape Verdean mornas, Brazilian & Spanish classics or any other themes she holds dear to her heart.
Mariza has long passed the stage of a mere exotic episode in the World Music scene, ready to be replaced by whatever new colorful phenomenon appears in another geographic corner of the recording industry’s market. She proved to be a major international artist, strongly original and immensely gifted, from whom much is yet to be expected in the future. The young girl from Mozambique, raised in the popular Lisbon neighborhood of Mouraria, has mastered the roots of her musical culture and developed into a universal artist who is able to open herself to the world without ever losing her Portuguese identity. Portuguese and International audiences are the first to acknowledge this triumph and pay her back with unlimited love and gratitude. Her numerous awards in her own native Portugal, and around Europe, include the BBC Radio 3 Award for Best European World Music Artist three times and multiple nominations for a Latin Grammy Award.
Mariza has celebrated the twentieth anniversary of her career and the centenary of the late Queen of Fado, Amália Rodrigues, with Mariza Sings Amália, her first full album of classics, released in 2021 by WARNER BROS. RECORDS.
Mariza and Rodrigues have a lot in common, beyond their origin. With her residencies at legendary venues such as the Paris Olympia and Carnegie Hall, Mariza swept global audiences off their feet in the early part of this century, like Rodrigues had done in the 1950s and 1960s.
Through her critically acclaimed recordings and unexpected collaborations, Mariza expanded what fado could be, just like Rodrigues had done in the 1960s and 1970s. Mariza became the most celebrated ambassador of Portugal’s music in the twenty-first century as Rodrigues had been in the twentieth century.
Photo (c) Miguel Angelo