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our brief reviews of new releases
26 August 2003
Mariza, Fado Curvo (Times Square)
When Mariza sings, it's hard to imagine anything more achingly beautiful than the Portuguese fado. You needn't speak the language to understand the powerful emotions. While fado means "fate", the mood is saudade; that untranslatable Portuguese word that evokes yearning and longing tinted with sadness and nostalgia. Mariza literally grew up in a fado house, a smoky bohemian spot where people gather for dining, guitars and the living poetry of fado. Entrenched as the music of the working class, fado is gaining quick ascent as a fashionable and elegant music. Not all is melancholy, the bright silvery sound of the Portuguese guitar and a rhythm snappy as castinets launches Mariza's upbeat "Fado Curvo". But nothing can paint a still life of a fado house stunned into subdued silence than just hearing Mariza set sail her "Caravelas". They seem rare now, the great chanteuses of Europe, but one appears every few decades. There is definitely something going on worth paying attention to, as tiny Portugual exports two major fado talents, Cristina Branco and Mariza. While there's room for both, Mariza has just started a lengthy international tour by winning UK audiences. Mariza is poised at the precipice of what may yet become a crossover phenomenon, when Americans reaching for beautiful voice and passion in their music once again embrace the great chanteuses (and fadistas) of Europe.
.: posted by Editor 12:29 PM