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Portugal’s fado queen Mariza tours Europe

06/11/12 18:10 CET

In a single decade, Mariza has sold a million records and played over a thousand concerts worldwide. After a break to become a mother, the Portuguese fado queen has now resumed a european tour. Euronews caught up with her.

“Fado means fate and the lyrics are very associated with melancholy and nostalgia. How do you convey these emotions to an international audience that isn’t so familar with Portuguese culture and fado itself?”

“Fado has that magical ability to cross language barriers and touch the deepest emotions of the human being, almost tinkering with them. Which is why I think the language that fado uses, an emotional one, is a universal language”.

Mariza began listening to fado singers when she was just 5, at her parent’s tavern in Lisbon. The Portuguese capital remains a big inspiration.

“My life has been on the road, a lot of travel, and I’ve come to know different cultures, different audiences, different countries and all that gives me a worldwide “luggage” that opens my mind. But, at the same time, I have to return to Lisbon, to the traditions, the popular neighbourhoods, to my Tagus river, the grilled sardines and to feel the sun on my face! That makes everything else make sense!”

“You are known as fado’s main ambassador and fado was classified by UNESCO last year. Are you already seeing some impact of this, from the point of view of the spread of fado and portuguese culture?”

“I see it more in Portugal itself, in the sense that people are starting to pay more attention to fado, to nurture it, to care for it, to protect it and learn about it.”

Mariza is considered the main heiress of Amalia, who first put fado on the global stage in the 1950’s and 60’s. When she passed away in 1999, it was Mariza who naturally led the singing in a national tribute to the great artist

“I think we all can use her legacy and try to adapt it to today’s world. It’s the same thing, for example, that we see in the Unites States when young people today pick up Frank Sinatra’s songs and sing them. It’s good because it was a cultural legacy.”

Despite Portugal’s current economic and social difficulties, Mariza feels the country’s 900 year old culture will prove resilient.

“There are difficult journeys that we all have to endure, it’s all a learning process. Obviously, it’s not just Portugal that is going through this phase, it’s the whole world!”

Mariza’s last record was very traditional, with African and Latin influences. Her sixth album will be released in 2013, and she says there’s a big surprise in store!

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