Debut album from new Portugese fado singer. Powerful, dramatic, lyrical and highly...
Nick Reynolds 2002-11-20
This music is elegant, sophisticated and yearning. There's something about the guitars and the cadences of the voice that evoke the mystery and sadness of the ocean. Someone waits at a café on the quayside for a lover they know will never return...
Mariza has created a stir in Portugal and internationally this year with this debut album. She's young, looks the part and has a fabulous, keening, lyrical voice. She reinterprets the Portuguese tradition of Fado singing, a form of urban folk music based around café society. "Loucura" the opening track and "Que Dues Me Perdoe" feel like they embody the form: sad yet dignified, powerful and dramatic and beautifully sung, with simple accompaniment fromportugese classicalguitars.
With a voice as intense and potentially as unrelenting as this a little drama can go a long way. But the material here has enough variety to ensure a satisfying programme of many different moods. "Poetas" starts with a brooding arrangement for piano and cello, before the guitars come back and lift the track into uptempo jauntiness. "Terra D'Aqua" is simply a very strong and compelling melody.
"Barco Negro" is just a drum and Mariza's soaring voice and has an unmistakably Celtic feel to it. (Well, I suppose it's only a brief skip across the sea from Portugal to the south coast of Ireland). And there's a "hidden" track at the end, which for once is essential and not time wasting filler: a stark, great version of "Loucura" for just piano and voice.
This is state of the art "world music". Every detail is just right. It's beautifully recorded, with a deluxe sleeve and packaging. Anyone who likes emotional music, dramatically and skillfully expressed should enjoy it.