Styles: Fado, European Folk, Western European Traditions
Born in Mozambique but raised in Portugal, singer Mariza became one of the most popular fado performers ever after releasing her debut album, called Fado Em Mim. The Dutch-based World Connection label signed her up, captivated by her highly stylized performances of fado (destiny in English) a Portuguese style based on different folk rhythms. Mariza's knowledge of jazz and blues helped her make one of the most interesting European folk records in the new millennium. The album, produced by Jorge Fernando, achieved the German Critics award. Her follow-up, Fado Curvo (2003), garnered even wider acclaim and, true to its title, found Mariza incorporating new elements into her take on fado.
- Drago Bonacich (All Music Guide)
If we were to ask each and every one of Mariza's fans to describe in a single word what they feel when they listen to her singing, we would surely get more than enough pages to compile - repetitions apart - a rich and voluminous dictionary. But besides confirming the richness of the Portuguese language vocabulary, this survey would also show the number of Mariza's fans growing throughout the world, fans of all ages and walks of life.
With her talent and after seven years of hard work and discipline, Mariza acquired for herself the status of a great global singer - rubbing shoulders with the likes of Amalia, Piaf, Elis, Ella, Garland, women singers who became household names. This is why we have to learn to share her with the world. Of course we love when she sings the Fado, our national song. But we cannot clip her wings. She will fly back home. Back to us. But for now let us gow on journey with her. Let us discover "Terra" ("Earth"), her latest album, the first master piece of a new breathing cycle.
Mariza sums it all up in one word: "truth". And she adds: "During seven years of international tours, I had the chance of discovering other peoples and cultures. I watched and I listened. I learned. This is my moment. This is my truth. I've always been true to myself, and I've always been true to my fans. And I wanted this album to show them my progress as a singer and a human being. My two previous albums, 'Transparente' and 'Concerto Em Lisboa' were like the end of a cycle to me. This new album, I've decided to call it 'Terra'. Why? Maybe because I always have my feet firmly planted on the ground, and also because recording it was like going on a musical journey. Inevitably..."
Lets be honest, shall we? Mariza is a Fado singer. But she keeps experimenting with new ways of singing it, and her fans just love it! All of her previous albums - "Fado em Mim" (2001), "Fado Curvo" (2003), "Transparente" (2005) and "Concerto Em Lisboa" (2006), plus the DVD "Live In London" (2004) - were Platinum winners. With Amalia gone, we felt like orphans, so we looked for a new voice to express our national soul... We looked for Mariza.
Maybe we forgot that before Lisbon there was Mozambique, and after Lisbon it had to be the world. In other words, Fado, yes, always; but why not something else? Fado is definitely World Music, and Mariza won her first World Music awards singing Fado. "I want to sing for the world", she says, "but I know I'll always be coming back".
"Terra". The Portuguese Fado guitar is joined by British guitarist Dominic Miller (one of Sting's supporting musician for the last twenty years, by three piano players, Brazilian Ivan Lins and Cubans Chucho Valdes and Ivan "Melon" Lewis, by Spanish flamenco guitarist Javier Limon, and by Spanish percussionist Pirana (Paco De Lucia's favourite percussionist). Mariza's voice blends perfectly with Cape-verdian Tito Paris' and Afro-hispanic Concha Buika's. After Jorge Fernando, Carlos Maria Trindade and Jacques Morelenbaum, Mariza has chosen Spanish Javier Limon as the producer for "Terra" - what a challenge! But in this cosmopolitan mixture of flamenco and morna, jazz and folk music, we hear a constant Portuguese sound; let's call it Fado or simply Mariza.
Mariza wins her first music award in 2001, in Quebec - the First Award - Most Outstanding Performance. In 2003, she receives the Gold Medal from the Portuguese Tourist Office; she is elected Artist of the Year by the Portuguese Marketing Executives Association; she wins the German Press "Deutscheschalplatten Kritik" Award for best Ethnic, Folk and World Music album with "Fado Curvo" (she had won this same award in 2001, for "Fado em Mim"), and she is elected Best European Artist by BBC Radio 3 (she would win this award again in 2005 and 2006). In 2004, Mariza wins the "European Border Breakers Award" (an award sponsored by the European Union) for bestselling album "Fado em Mim"; she is voted Person of the Year by the Foreign Press Association of Portugal, and she is nominated ambassador for Fado's candidature to UNESCO'S Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity programme.
In 2005, Mariza is nominated ambassor for the Hans Christian Andersen bicentennial celebrations, and she is elected UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador. She also wins the Amalia Rodrigues Foundation "International Award" for "making Portuguese music known worldwide". In 2006, President Jorge Sampaio from Portugal awards Mariza the Order of Henry the Navigator.
Mariza wins Portugal's Golden Globe for Best Individual Performer, and she is nominated for the Australian Helpmann Awards in the category of "Best International Contemporary Concert", for her performances at the Sydney Opera House. "O gente da minha terra" (from the "Fado Em Mim" album) is the title song for Pang Ho-cheung's film "Isabella", winner of the Silver Bear for best soundtrack at the 56th Berlin Film Festival
In 2007, Mariza is nominated for the Finnish "Emma Gaala" Awards for "Best International Artist", together with Robbie Williams, Andrea Bocelli, Basshunter, Iron Maiden and Red Hot Chili Peppers. She is invited by famous German photographer Bettina Flitner to participate in the "100 most important women in Europe" project, sponsored by the German Government and presented in the European Parliament. Mariza is nominated ambassador for the Portuguese Tourism Institut, in appreciation for her worldwide efforts on behalf of the Portuguese culture. She becomes the first Portuguese artist to be nominated for the Grammy Awards: the "Concerto em Lisboa" is nominated by the Latin Academy of Recording & Sciences for best folk album.
In 2008 the Paris Academy of Arts, Sciences and Letters awarded Mariza the prestigious Medaille de Vermeil, for "her relevant services to the arts and culture". All these demonstrations of recognition and appreciation honour Mariza's career, and they honour us. After all, she sings the Portuguese soul. And "Terra" is a Portuguese album, recorded for the World. Once again nominated for the Latin Grammy Awards for "Best Folk Album" and "Best Producer" (Javier Limon) .The seeds were sown, says Mariza, "and the fruits will be plentiful and diverse".