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By Antoine du Rocher

NEW YORK, 3 FEBRUARY 2009 - Can a song define a people? They say that the music of Fado is as old as Portugal, though it has African and Moorish roots as well. Fado is a particularly Portuguese genre of music embraced throughout the ages by the nobility, the poor, the prostitutes and the bullfighters. Fado is to the Portuguese what Blues is to African-Americans, Samba to Brazilians and Flamenco to Spaniards.

Thirty years ago, Fado was written off for dead. People associated it with the fascist regime that had held power for half a century, ending with the 1974 coup that brought down the Caetano government. Fado was bourgeois. It was dark and somber. No one under 30 wanted anything to do with it. Soon enough, however, younger artists began experimenting with the style, adding their own touches, breathing youth into a genre whose glory days seemed past.

Today, Portuguese Fado singer Mariza has emerged as one of the new voices of the ancient song. At 35 years old, she has sung Fado at major venues throughout Europe, America, Africa and Australia. She has also been nominated for two Grammy awards, and her albums have all gone Platinum.

Like Fado, Mariza has an international story. Born in Mozambique, her family moved to Portugal when she was three. She grew up in the heart of the Mouraria district of Lisbon, where Fado flourished. Many of the great fadistas, such as Julia Florista and Maria Severa, sang in the Mouraria district, and it is here where the resurgent music not only survives but thrives and can be heard most evenings at the Taverna de Poco Largo.


"I started listening when I was five years old when Fernando Mauricio - in some way he was the king of the Fado - used to come to sing in my parent's' tavern," said Mariza in a recent interview. "He had a jazzy way of singing, but he was such a traditional person. He never wanted to sing in a big theater, on big stages…to make him happy, you just had to give him a taverna and some friends…I try the whole time to listen to the old Fado singers because we don't have schools or conservatories. It is an oral tradition; we have to live on the streets, in the old neighborhoods… You just have to be there at the right time and you just have to listen. The message is passed on from the old singers to the younger generation."

In its smoky verses of suffering, survival, loss and death, a sense of hope and survival always prevails. Fado transports the listener back in time to a mythical place that erases the present pain. The Portuguese have a particular word for the feeling Fado invokes - saudade - a longing to return to a place in time that never existed, a fictional past. The word fado literally means "fate.," It is, however, not meant to imply a fate we can't escape, but one we can transcend and view through the history of human emotion.

The stylish jazz-enriched singer kicks off her North American marathon tour of over 40 cities in support of the U.S. release of her new album, "Terra," at Massey Hall in Toronto on 13 February 2009.

Mariza's official artist web site


Antoine du Rocher is managing editor of Culturekiosque.com


13-02-2009 - Massey Hall - TORONTO, ON - CANADA

14-02-2009 - Orchestra Hall Symphony Center, CHICAGO, IL - USA

15-02-2009 - Théâtre Maisonneuve, MONTREAL, PQ - CANADA

17-02-2009 - La Palais Montcalm, QUEBEC, PQ - CANADA

19-02-2009 - Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, AMHERST, MA - USA

20-02-2009 - Kelley Theatre Fairfield University, FAIRFIELD, CT - USA

21-02-2009 - Jorgensen Auditorium, STORRS, CT - USA

24-02-2009 - Penn State University, UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - USA

25-02-2009 - Center for the Arts, BUFFALO, NY - USA

27-02-2009 - Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, Greenvale NY - USA

28-02-2009 - Town Hall, NEW YORK, NY - USA

01-03-2009 - Kimmel Theater, DeVos Hall, PHILADELPHIA, PA - USA

03-03-2009 - Spaulding Auditorium Hopkins Center, HANOVER, NH - USA

04-03-2009 - Flynn Theater, BURLINGTON, VT - USA

06-03-2009 - Center for the Arts Concert Hall, FAIRFAX, VA - USA

07-03-2009 - Byham Theater, PITTSBURGH, PA - USA

09-03-2009 - Schermerhorn Symphony Center Executive Office,

10-03-2009 - The American Theatre, HAMPTON, VA - USA

13-03-2009 - Zeiterion Theatre, NEW BEDFORD, MA - USA

14-03-2009 - Zeiterion Theatre, NEW BEDFORD, MA - USA

15-03-2009 - Garde Theatre, NEW LONDON, CT - USA

18-03-2009 - Walt Disney Concert Hall, LOS ANGELES, CA - USA

19-03-2009 - Lobero Theatre, SANTA BARBARA, CA - USA

21-03-2009 - Lucas Theatre, SAVANNAH, GA - USA

27-03-2009 - Au Rene Theatre, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - USA

28-03-2009 - Knight Concert Hall, MIAMI, FL - USA

29-03-2009 - Robert Ferst Theatre, ATLANTA, GA - USA

31-03-2009 - Memorial Hall, CHAPEL HILL, NC - USA

01-04-2009 - Camp Concert Hall, RICHMOND, VA - USA

03-04-2009 - Germantown Performing Arts Centre, GERMANTOWN, TN - USA

04-04-2009 - Walton Arts Center, FAYETTEVILLE, AR - USA

05-04-2009 - Sheldon Concert Hall, ST. LOUIS, MO - USA

07-04-2009 - Virgil M. Hancher Auditorium, IOWA CITY, IA - USA

08-04-2009 - Wisconsin Union Theatre, MADISON, WI - USA

10-04-2009 - Ohio Theatre, CLEVELAND, OH - USA

11-04-2009 - Music Hall Center For Performing Arts, DETROIT, MI - USA

14-04-2009 - Loeb Playhouse, WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - USA

15-04-2009 - Krannert Center, URBANA, IL - USA

17-04-2009 - Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE, WA - USA

18-04-2009 - Concert Hall - Chan Centre for the Performing Arts,

22-04-2009 - Macky Auditorium Concert Hall, BOULDER, CO - USA

23-04-2009 - Lensic Theatre, SANTA FE, NM - USA

25-04-2009 - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, PORTLAND, OR - USA

26-04-2009 - Silva Concert Hall, EUGENE, OR - USA

28-04-2009 - The Balboa Theatre, SAN DIEGO, CA - USA

30-04-2009 - Margrit Biever Mondavi Theatre, NAPA, CA - USA

01-05-2009 - Turlock Community Theatre, TURLOCK, CA - USA

02-05-2009 - Masonic Auditorium, SAN FRANCISCO, CA - USA

BOOK TIP: All titles are chosen by the editors as being of interest to Culturekiosque readers.

Portuguese Cooking: The Traditional Cuisine of Portugal
By Carol Robertson

David Robertson (Photographer)
Paperback: 184 pages
North Atlantic Books (March 2008)
ISBN-10: 1556437072
ISBN-13: 978-1556437076

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