Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Cry from the heart
© 2007 The Washington Post Company

The traditional Portuguese music known as fado is not for the timid. Passionate and uninhibited, it revels in drama, diving recklessly into the dark pathos of the human heart. In the hands of its best interpreters, fado's power can be primal and almost overwhelming - and it's starting to catch on with audiences around the world.

Much of the credit for that goes to Mariza, fadista whose superb contralto voice and fearless sense of drama have made her a star on the rise. Born in Mozambique and raised in Portugal, she's been reviving and reinventing the traditional fado style, and the results - as she showed at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall - are nothing short of spectacular.

Backed by a percussionist and a trio of guitars, Mariza sang a mix of newer and more traditional fado. "Cavaleiro Monge" and "Maria Lisboa" were fine-tuned and intricately detailed, her voice sweeping effortlessly from searing cries to whispered confessions. Full of longing, awash in sadness and regret, it was an evening of defiantly emotional music. And when Mariza unleashed the full power of her voice - as she did in the wrenching "Primavera" - it was one long, devastating cry from the heart.

The program was originally to include the Mexican singer Eugenia Leon, who had to cancel due to an injury. Unfortunate as that was, Mariza and her accompanying band - particularly the amazing Luis Guerreiro on the round-bodied Portuguese guitar - more than made up for the loss, winning multiple ovations from the packed house.
Stephen Brookes
© The Washington Post

No comments: