Mariza ‘Fado Tradicional’ (EMI) 4/5

Now in her mid-thirties, Portuguese fado diva Mariza is now very much at the peak of her creative talents and as such is the natural inheritor to Amelia Rodrigues’ mantle as the queen of fado. An impeccable selection of songs is matched only by the flawless delivery. She even pays homage to the former star on Rodrigues’ own composition ‘Ai, esta pena de mim’ (’Oh this pain of mine’) which sounds as though it could be straight out of a traditional taverna setting. Pared down and with the minimum of instrumentation required, Mariza here sings largely a capella with just strings to accompany her. The pace varies somewhat on ‘Na tua do silêncio’ where Mariza delivers a breezy rendition and on the excellent ‘As meninas dos meus olhos’ (’The apples of my eyes’). In terms of quality, this merits a five star rating. However, given the paucity of time (barely thirty-five minutes) one star has been deducted. An additional half a dozen songs could easily have been added on. It is high time an extended live recording was made on CD at least. UK audiences will have the opportunity to hear Mariza live during a relatively brief tour in May and in particular the intimate rapport that she has established with audiences in this country. It should truly be an occasion to savor.

Tim Stenhouse