Mariza

Fado Em Mim Times Square Records

Lovers of fado -- the sublimely melancholy Portuguese ballad that is something like that country's Delta blues -- will find reason to rejoice in Mariza's international debut, Fado Em Mim. The 26-year-old singer is already a rising star in her native country, with critics there likening her to the last great diva of fado, Amalia Rodrigues. It isn't hard to see what all the fuss is about: Mariza has a gorgeous otherworldly voice that seems to bleed saudade, that uniquely Portuguese sentiment that roughly translates as sorrowful longing. But you don't have to understand Portuguese to know that on "Loucura" she sings about the mournful madness of song, or that "Chuva" is about the sad nostalgia carried by drops of rain. The translation is there in the emotion of her voice. With beautifully varied arrangements by guitarist Jorge Fernando that alternately incorporate the twelve-string Portuguese guitar, acoustic bass, percussion, and cello, the music on Fado Em Mim perfectly matches Mariza's many shades of blue.

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