197

Mariza: Fado Curvo

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Mariza: Fado Curvo A friend of mine insists that you have to be Portuguese to understand fado. In one sense she's right—fado is intimately associated with poetry, and you pretty much have to be a native speaker to grasp that part. And the feeling of the music is also intimately associated with saudade. The fact that saudade has no direct translation into English is an important point (close ideas include nostalgia, loneliness, yearning, and missing). My Portuguese friend's eyes immediately glaze over when she hears that word.

But words are just one form of language. Music is another. You don't have to be Andalusian to appreciate flamenco, and you most certainly don't have to be African American to dig the blues. Folk music is the music of the people, passed down the generations by ear. And needless to say, it goes quite well with dance.

The twenty-something singer known simply as Mariza attracted a whole mess of attention with her 2001 debut Fado en Mim, which referred to the late fado queen Amélia Rodrigues both in material and song. (To be honest, it's really hard to avoid that comparison. Fado and Rodrigues go together like a reflex.) This time around, Mariza has more emphatically asserted her own identity, and the results have a stirring potency.

After reading and collecting poetry for the last year, Mariza finally chose the lyrics for the songs on Fado Curvo. "O silêncio da guitarra" opens with the very essence of saudade, projecting silence, happiness, grief, suffering, and soul (literally and metaphorically) through intense, smouldering vocals over first spare solo guitar and then a more jaunty guitar arrangement. The combination works. Carlos Maria Trindade's production overall is uniformly unassuming and warm.

What's most striking is that while Mariza sings with uninhibited emotion, she never goes all the way. Her voice, powerful as it is, would be wasted if it were thrown around wantonly. While she can travel close to the flame, she can also roll like butter and creep along in a near-whisper when the right time comes. And given that most of these pieces are four minutes or less, she never stretches the music too far.

Holding true to her refusal to place fado "in a kind of museum," Mariza includes a nice range of material which always draws from Lisbon roots but doesn't always fit into a particular mold. The pure melancholy of "Cavaleiro monge" yields to skipping adventure on "Feira de Castro." Mário Pacheco and António Neto's guitars play a dominant role throughout, but cello and piano bring a softer, more impressionistic edge to "Retrato." The odd wind noises of "O deserto" wrap around intertwined 2/4 accompaniment from guitar and piano, Mariza's voice yielding to muted trumpet in a jazzy interlude which seems to really twist (and modernize) that traditional fado sound.

But then I'm not Portuguese, so what do I know.

A quick rundown of informative words from the English translation: silence, fire, happiness, grief, kiss, weeping, suffering, sadness, soul, bitterness, hurt, live, ashamed, peace, smiles, fury, exile, lost, learned, know, destroyed, dead, enchantment, nearness, turmoil, madness, emotion, discovery, immensity, escape, free, love, broken and undone, fatal, spring, died, condemned, weeping, forgetting, enchantment, love, fear, distress, freedom, alliance, secrecy, solitude, fun, dancing, truth, passion, the heart, happiness.

And don't forget saudade. That one couldn't be translated.

Track Listing: O silencio da guitarra; Cavaleiro monge; Feira de Castro; Vielas de Alfama; Retrato; Fado curvo; Menino do Bairro Negro; Caravelas; Entre o rio e a raz�o; O deserto; Primavera; Anois do meu cabelo.

Personnel: Mario Pacheco: Portuguese guitar; Antonio Neto: guitar; Marino Freitas: piano (5,12); Tiago Machado: piano (10); Carlos Maria Trindade: bass and guitar (9); Fernando Ara�jo: percussion (3,6); Quino: trumpet, flugelhorn (10); Miguel Gonsalves: cello (5). Produced by Carlos Maria Trindade.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Times Square Records | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Soldani Dieci Anni" CD/LP/Track Review Soldani Dieci Anni
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 5, 2016
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Viriditas" CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Hera" CD/LP/Track Review Hera
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "The New Breed" CD/LP/Track Review The New Breed
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 4, 2016
Read "Steam In The Casa" CD/LP/Track Review Steam In The Casa
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!