Singer's musical journey reshaping Portugal's fado

Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:25pm EDT
 
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By Jason Rhodes

ZURICH (Reuters Life!) - Portuguese fado singer Mariza treated a sold-out Zurich audience to a show pushing the boundaries of her genre.

The willowy singer with bleached blonde hair is at the vanguard of a new generation of young musicians taking fado into new terrain since the 1999 death of Amalia Rodrigues, who was widely regarded as the "Queen of Fado."

Pulling in musical influences from around the world, Mariza is modernizing fado, a melancholy musical form that grew out of the streets and tavernas of Lisbon in the 19th Century, in the way that virtuoso guitarist Paco de Lucia revolutionized Spain's flamenco music a few decades ago.

"Fado is an urban music and urban musics move and they walk at the same time as society moves and changes. If I didn't do that, I would not be making music and fado," she said in an interview ahead of the concert.

The concert mainly showcased songs from "Terra," Mariza's most ground-breaking record to date and further evidence she is the rightful heir to Amalia's crown.

It featured Cape Verdean singer Tito Paris and Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes, and was produced by Javier Limon, who has already left his mark on the current crop of Spanish musicians by cross-fertilizing flamenco with other musical forms.

"Terra is a record made from eight years of traveling. It's like an old Portuguese boat," said Mariza, adding tireless touring had allowed her to meet and share music with many artists around the world.

"It's trying to cross several different continents and cultures with our own culture, but at the same time trying to understand those different cultures," said the 37-year-old, who was born Marisa dos Reis Nunes in the former Portuguese colony of Mozambique.   Continued...