Mariza | Symphony Center | International | Chicago Reader

Mariza Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sat., Feb. 14, 8 p.m. 2009

A few years ago the burgeoning career of Portuguese singer Mariza and the resurgence of interest in fado music were mutually reinforcing phenomena, but lately she’s stirred up such a popular frenzy that the genre can’t contain it—she’s become a star, not just a fado star. Fittingly her new album, Terra (Times Square), while faithful to the essence of the genre—the sorrow and longing worn on the sleeve, the rhapsodic grace—also experiments with nontraditional instrumentation (subtly deployed drums, piano, and horns augment the usual guitars and bass) as well as hybrid styles. Produced by Spanish flamenco guitarist Javier Limon, who’s attracted plenty of notice by helping artists like Buika and Niño Josele subvert genre limitations, the record is full of excellent cameos that allow Mariza to explore commonalities between fado and other musical cultures: Cape Verdean singer Tito Paris turns up on the morna “Beijo de Saudade,” Brazil’s Ivan Lins adds elegant piano to “As Guitarras,” Buika brings her husky flamenco moan to “Pequeñas Verdades,” and Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes imparts a bit of son flavor to “Fronteira,” whose lyrics address the geographic and metaphoric borders between Portugal and Spain. And throughout the disc Mariza’s singing—sanguine, throaty, and agile—transcends every boundary. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20-$60

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