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Mariza, First Lady of Fado

Updated on September 18, 2014
Mariza:fado Em Mim
Mariza:fado Em Mim

Her first CD, Fado em Mim (The Fado in Me), was released in 2002. It's a stunning introduction to the world of Fado from a genuinely gifted artist.


The Music of Mariza

I absolutely adore Mariza!

The gifted singer from Mozambique, raised in Lisbon, is recognised as one of the world's greatest Fado singers. Some say she is the outright best.

Her music is passionate, anguished, often heartsick but also filled with a wild joy that can move me to jubilation, or to mystifying tears. Her gift is not confined to Portugal, Mariza is a truly universal artist.

Portuguese audiences give her unlimited love and gratitude. I'm not Portuguese, I grew up 12,000 miles away yet feel the pull and the power of her music too.

Mariza, First Lady of Fado, obrigado

The Spirit of Fado

The musical genre of Fado isn't the national music of Portugal, but folk melody and style from Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra. For all that, it's essentially Portuguese, a mournful, melancholic music, mainly about the life of the poor.

Fado is profoundly related to the social context of marginality, and the essence of Fado is saudade.


An interesting word, saudade. It's Portuguese and Galician with no direct translation in English The closest description is kin to a deep longing. Not your everyday sort of longing but a sense of fatefulness, a resignation, a recollection of a lost past, a deep melancholia.

It's sometimes translated as nostalgia, but that's a pale, weak imitation of the meaning. To feel saudade is to feel a volatile mixture of sorrow and happiness, deep sadness for loss and tremendous happiness for having experienced what is lost.

Mariza began singing fado at the age of five. She brings her own individual style to the genre with a touch of her African heritage. An especial favourite of mine is her song Loucura.

But I put my soul to sing, and the souls know to hear me

Cry, cry poets from my country,

trunks from the same root, from life that joined us.

This voice, so painful, is the fault of all of you, poets of my life.

It's madness! I hear, but blessed be this madness, from singing and suffering.

Cry, cry poets from my country

Mariza sings Loucura - Madness

More Music of the Underclass

The Voice of the Sparrow: The Very Best of Edith Piaf
The Voice of the Sparrow: The Very Best of Edith Piaf

Another intense singer from a rough working class neighbourhood, Piaff is known for languishing songs of love.

Story of Fado
Story of Fado

This CD highlights the impressive range of Fado music, the compelling combination of voice, tempo and instrumentation. I only wish the lyrics were included!

The Best of Django Reinhardt
The Best of Django Reinhardt

The legendary Django teams with Stephane Grappelli for thrilling music which is often described as 'gypsy jazz'.


© 2013 Susanna Duffy

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    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 3 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      A new name to me, but an interesting one...

    • profile image

      Helene-Malmsio 4 years ago

      hmmm... an acquired taste in music.. a cross between Edith Piaf and The Gypsy Kings.

      She seems very radical and 'different' in her presentation and stage performance... and no Twerking... what is the world coming to?