Portugal’s best known musical genre, Fado, first appeared in the middle of the 19th century in the Alfama neighbourhood, a district heavily populated by African and Brazilian immigrants. Due to a shared sense of melancholy, it is considered a sister art to the Cape Verdean morna, the Argentine tango and the Greek rebetiko, while the essene of Fado soul lies in the expression of saudade: a uniquely Portuguese word connoting deep and eternal longing. Mozambican on her mother’s side and Portuguese on her father’s, Mariza was three years old when she moved to Lisbon in 1977. Her parents ran a small restaurant in Alfama frequented by a great many fadistas, and so she was able to make the songs her own even before learning to read. Like most teenagers, she later found herself more interested in rock, jazz and bossa nova, but these excursions did her future work no harm at all. Upon the death of Amália Rodrigues in 1999, Mariza appeared in a Portuguese television programme commemorating the life of the "Goddess of Fado". Although she did not yet have an record, her appearance won her the title of "the voice of Fado" on Portuguese radio. Her debut album, Fado em Mim sold around 150,000 copies, building on four or five thousand performances that had by then also earned her much success in the genre. Her next album – 2003’s Fado Curvo – won her the "Best Word Music Award" from BBC Radio 3, while Concerto em Lisboa was nominated for a Latin Grammy. The excellent Terra from 2008 included nods to jazz and flamenco, although her roots would return to the forefront in Fado Tradicional two years later. All throughout, she has been conquering the world’s foremost concert halls one after the other: from the Sydney Opera House to New York’s Carnegie Hall, and from the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris to London’s Royal Albert Hall and the Budapest Palace of Arts, where she last took the stage four years ago. Her audience will no doubt once again be amazed by her extraordinary voice and the exhilarating passion of Fado. Presented by: Palace of Arts
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