Beautiful Curves

Elegant and self-assured, Mariza immerses herself in the joys of fado

The music on Fado Curvo seemingly does as well. Portuguese and acoustic guitar still girds Mariza's renditions. But there is also some beautifully original instrumentation not normally found on a fado record, like the cello and piano melodies running through "Retrato" and Miguel Gonçalves's plaintively muted trumpet-playing on "O Deserto," the latter what Miles Davis might have sounded like had his Sketches of Spain been Sketches of Portugal instead. Its twelve tracks ooze a spontaneous sound, the result of Mariza and Trindade recording live in the studio. "Fado is very sentimental music," Mariza says, "music that works with the feeling. So if you start recording more than three takes you're going to be closed, not organic, not with a soul anymore. So what we did was to record everything only to the third take, no more."

For Mariza, capturing the essence of fado in the studio was much more of a challenge than simply performing the music. "I've been singing fado since I was five years old. For me it's so natural I don't have to think, it's like breathing. But," she pauses, reflecting on an album she has been too busy to even listen to since it was finished, "I don't like too much to be in the studio. I feel, like, closed. It's really easy when you're in the studio and you have all these computers and you push a button and you change things and everything. The most difficult thing to do is to have your own sound." Thankfully, Mariza has found her voice through the beautiful Fado Curvo, charting an aural landscape that pays homage to fado without being bound by it. It places her in the enviable position of defining this art form for some years to come.

Robert Devian


Mariza performs at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at The Lincoln Theater, 541 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach. Call 305-534-6667. Tickets cost $20 to $35. Call 305-673-3331. She also makes an in-store appearance at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at Spec's, 501 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, Call 305-534-6667

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