Mariza ‘Mariza’ CD (Warner Portugal) 4/5

Portuguese fado singer returns for her third album produced in Madrid by Javier Limón and adopting a more traditional take on fado that nonetheless adds new territory with excursions into Brazilian percussion, pop and classical sounds. This writer has always warmed to Mariza’s quirky mid-tempo numbers and on this occasion, ‘Amor Perfeito’, has an immediacy that catches one’s attention, with a shuffling drum beat and Afro-Brazilian influences in the use of percussion, and that joyful emotive delivery that Mariza has made her own is deployed to great effect also on, ‘Fado Errado (feat. Maria Da Fé)’. It is Mariza’s no-nonsense straight down to business approach that comes across on ‘É Mentira’, which is an uptempo song plus flute. In fact, those African influences extend elsewhere on ‘Oi Nha Mãe’, which is notable for the uplifting melody, while in stark contrast, the pared down guitar and voice accompaniment of ‘Oração’ still appeals with the prettiest of melodies. Musical horizons are widened with a spoken monologue to the Afro-Portuguese sounding ‘Verde Limão’. Cellist Jacques Morelenbaum guests and it his refined classical approach combined with fado that entices the listener on ‘Semente Viva (feat. Jaques Morelenbaum)’. That fado can deal with current socio-political issues is indicated on ‘Fado Refúgio’, in homage to those who may be suffering, but are certainly not forgotten. A strong return to form, then, and that Afro-Portuguese heritage is definitely one side of her music that Mariza would do well to explore in greater detail on subsequent albums.

Tim Stenhouse