Tag Archives: Mariza

The Passionate Story of Fado

Fado star Mariza

Fado music is the heart of the Portuguese soul. It is one of the oldest urban folk music styles in the world. Some say it came as a dance from Africa in the 19th century and was adopted by the poor on the streets of Lisbon. Or perhaps it started at sea as the sad, melodic songs created by homesick sailors and fishermen.

Whatever its origins, fado’s themes have remained constant: destiny, betrayal in love, death and despair. A typical lyric goes: “Why did you leave me, where did you go? I walk the streets looking at every place we were together, except you’re not there.” It’s a sad music and a fado performance is not successful if an audience is not moved to tears.

All fado is dominated by the sentiment known as saudade. While there is no precise English definition for this word, it may be translated roughly as ‘yearning.’ Essentially it describes the soul of the music and is the measure of understanding that passes between performer and audience.


Cover of A Origem do Fado by José Alberto Sardinha

Fado History

By the early twentieth century, fado had become popular in the everyday life of Lisbon’s working class. It was played for pleasure but also to relieve the pain of life. Skilled singers known as fadistas performed at the end of the day and long into the night. Fado was the earthy music of taverns and brothels and street corners in Alfama and Mouraria, the old poor sections of Lisbon. (Another strain of fado, Coimbra fado, was favored among university students and professors.)

The fado is normally sung by men or women and accompanied by one Portuguese guitar and one classical guitar, which in Portugal is called viola. This song reached its golden era in the first half of the 20th century, when the Portuguese dictatorship of Salazar (1926-1968) forced the fado performers to become professional and confined them to sing in the fado houses and the so called “revistas”, a popular genre of “vaudeville”.

The main names of that period were: Alfredo Marceneiro, Amalia Rodrigues, Maria Teresa de Noronha and guitar players Armandinho and Jaime Santos.


The Queen of Fado Amalia Rodrigues

From the 1940s until her death in 1999, the towering figure of Portuguese fado was Amalia Rodrigues. She was the diva of fado, worshiped at home and celebrated abroad as the most famous representative of Portuguese culture. When she died the country’s prime minister called for three-days of national mourning. Such is the hold of fado over the people of Portugal.

Saudade

The essential element of fado music is saudade, a Portuguese word that translates roughly as longing, or nostalgia for unrealized dreams. Fado flowers from this fatalistic world-view. It speaks of an undefined yearning that can’t be satisfied. For Portuguese emigrants fado is an expression of homesickness for the place they left behind.

Like other forms of deeply moving folk music such as flamenco, American blues, Argentine tango or Greek rembetiko, fado cannot be explained; it must be felt and experienced. One must have the soul to transmit that feeling; a fadista who does not possess saudade is thought of as inauthentic. Audiences are very knowledgeable and very demanding. If they do not feel the fadista is up to form they will stop a performance.

Duarte at EXIB 2016 in Evora – Photo by Angel Romero

Fado can be performed by men or women, although many aficionados prefer the raw emotion of the female fadista. Dressed in black with a shawl draped over her shoulders, a fadista stands in front of the musicians and communicates through gesture and facial expressions. The hands move, the body is stationary. When it is done correctly, it is a solemn and majestic performance.

Carminho

Aside from the Lisbon fado there is another completely different form of this song, sung by the students of Coimbra University whose ancient roots can be found in the medieval songs called trovas. Here the subjects are mainly love, friendship and nostalgia. This form of fado reached its most famous period in the 1950s and 1960s when names like Edmundo Bettencourt, Luis Gois, José Afonso and the musicians Artur Paredes, Carlos Paredes and Antonio Portugal among others, combined new forms and lyrics to a song which was limited to student circles.

Fado guitarist Antonio Chainho playing the Portuguese guitar – Photo by Alexandre Nobre

The traditional accompaniment for the fadista is a Portuguese guitar, or guitarra, a 12-stringed instrument, and a bass guitar, or viola. Sometimes a second acoustic guitar is added. In recent years, fado recordings have added piano, violin and accordion, instruments which sometimes accompany the music on the streets of Lisbon.

Fado Today


Cover of the album New Queens of Fado (Arc Music, 2016), featuring Joana Amendoeira, Ana Moura, Carminho, Mariza, Cristina Branco, Katia Guerreiro, Mafalda Arnauth, Misia

Today the younger generation in Portugal is respectful but not dedicated to fado. However, a new generation of young musicians have contributed to the social and political revival of fado music, adapting and blending it with new trends.

Contemporary fado musicians like Misia have introduced the music to performers such as Sting. Misia and fadistas like Cristina Branco and Mariza, Amelia Muge, Antonio Zambujo, Ana Lains, Ana Moura, Joana Amendoeira, Katia Guerreiro, Mafalda Arnauth, walk the fine line between carrying on the tradition and trying to bring in a new audience.

Cover of the album Queens Of Fado – The Next Generation (Arc Music, 2017) featuring Cuca Roseta, Yolanda Soares, Carminho, Raquel Tavares, Gisela João, Claudia Aurora, Carla Pires and Joana Rios

One of the biggest names in the new generation of male fado singers is award-winning Marco Rodrigues.

2018 saw the rise of a new fado revelation, Sara Correia, who released her debut album Sara Correia.

(Sources: World Music Central, World Music Institute, World Music Network)

Coimbra Fado

Coimbra Fado is a genre of fado originating in the city of Coimbra, Portugal. This fado is closely linked to the academic traditions of the University of Coimbra and is exclusively sung by men; both the singers and musicians wear black capes during performances, the remaining part of the students outfit. It is sung at night, almost in the dark, in city squares, streets, or fado houses. (source: Fado group Verdes Anos)

Recommended Fado Recordings

Portugal: The Story of Fado
Fado: Exquisite Passion
The Rough Guide to Fado
Queens of Fado
Fados from Portugal
Great Voices of Fado
Queen of the Fado by Amalia Rodrigues
Rough Guide: The Music of Portugal
Queens Of Fado – The Next Generation

Fado Artists:

The following artists perform fado or fado-influenced music: Ala Dos Namorados, Almaplana, Amélia Muge, Ana Laíns, Ana Marina, Ana Moura, Antonio Chainho, Antonio Zambujo, Armenio de
Melo, Bicho de 7 cabeças, Camané, Catarina Cardeal, Cristina Branco, Custodio Castelo, Duarte, Grupo Cancao de Coimbra, Joana Amendoeira, Jorge Fernando, Katia Guerreiro, Lula Pena, Mario Pacheco, Madredeus, Mafalda Arnauth, Maria Amelia Proen, Mariza, Melian, Mike Siracusa, Misia, Nem Truz Nem Muz), Ramana Vieira, Sonia Tavares, Teresa Salgueiro, Verdes Anos – Fado group, Cuca Roseta, Yolanda Soares, Raquel Tavares, Gisela João, Claudia Aurora, Carla Pires, Marco Rodrigues, Joana Rios, and Sara Correia.

Fado Books:

A History of the Portuguese Fado by Paul Vernon (Routledge, 1998)
Fado Portugues – Songs from the Soul of Portugal by Donald Cohen (2004)
Fado and the Place of Longing, Loss, Memory and the City by Richard Elliott (Routledge, 2010)
A Origem do Fado [includes 4 CDs] by José Alberto Sardinha (Tradisom, 2010)
Fado Resounding: Affective Politics and Urban Life by Lila Ellen Gray (Duke University Press, 2013)
Fado and the Urban Poor in Portuguese Cinema of the 1930s and 1940s by Michael Colvin (Boydell & Brewer, 2016)

Fado sites:

Portal do Fado, Portuguese portal dedicated to fado.

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Artist Profiles: Mariza

Mariza – Photo by Carlos Ramos

Mariza began singing Fado as a child, before she could read. Her father sketched out little cartoon stories to help her remember the lyrics. At the age of five, she would join in the spontaneous singing at her parents’ restaurant in Mouraria, one of Lisbon’s most traditional neighborhoods.

Mariza was born in Mozambique, but her family moved to Portugal when she was a baby, giving her plenty of time to get immersed directly in the Fado tavernas (Fado houses) where singing is part of everyday life. She told the BBC, “Half of me is very, very Portuguese and the other half is very, very African.”

At the age of twenty-six, Mariza released her first CD, Fado Em Mim, the recording presents six classic Fados and six original compositions, all of them tugging listeners at the heart and soul.

Fado is Portugal’s passionate and bittersweet musical gift to the world, equivalent to Blues or Rebetika or Tango or Flamenco. “They all stand on emotions,” said Mariza. “Fado is an emotional kind of music full of passion, sorrow, jealousy, grief, and often satire.”

Mariza had her first major national exposure in 1999 as one of the guest performers in Tribute Concerts for Amália Rodrigues in the Coliseums of Lisbon and Oporto. Both performances were broadcast live on one of Portugal’s Network TV channels. Mariza’s performances immediately sparked interest in the public and in the national media. In 2000, she received the award, “Voice of Fado,” presented by Central FM (Portugal’s national radio station). She was invited to “introduce” Fado to rock icon Sting by a highly rated national television show Hermansic.

Mariza walks the fine line necessary to both genuinely carry the tradition and bring it freshness for today. Her performance style captures the raw emotion that characterizes the genre, but with her own personal twist.

When Mariza recorded Transparente, her latest studio album, she recruited Brazilian Jaques Morelenbaum to help her create the sonority she wanted. “He gave me a more velvet, more intimate, more romantic sound,” Mariza dreamily recalls.

Mariza

We recorded the Transparente album in Brazil,” explains Mariza. “I am looking for fado from a different perspective, because I now travel a lot. One month I am at the Sidney Opera House, another month I am in China or Thailand. I am starting to find that this music that belongs to Lisbon, to Portuguese people, is starting to feel more and more universal. It speaks about universal feelings. Each country interprets it in its own way. We are crossing cultural lines now. And I feel so proud about it.”

When Lisbon’s mayor invited Mariza to perform for Lisbon in this way, she brought Morelenbaum in once again for the arrangements and conducting duties. One a rainy summer evening in 2005, around 25,000 people gathered at the Tower of Belem’s gardens in Lisbon to hear Mariza.

The 500 year-old Tower of Belem sits at the mouth of the River Tagus. The Tower of Belem looks in one direction onto the river and towards the sea, the departure point for Portugal’s famous sailors. In the other direction it looks over the city of Lisbon. Looking forward while looking back.

At the gardens, Mariza performed favorite songs from her young-but-full career with a full orchestra, the Sinfonietta de Lisboa, conducted by Jaques Morelenbaum. The magical night is captured on Concerto em Lisboa, released on CD with a bonus DVD documentary. Concerto em Lisboa went platinum in Portugal for both CD and DVD version.

Having the river and the Tower, the place where the boats left to make their discoveries in the 16th Century; going to India and Africa. Being in that place, singing fado was very emblematic that night,” says Mariza. “Even if I didn’t want to think about it, the sea was so near, and all these things came to mind that night. I never thought a girl with roots in Africa would have all that!

I was not expecting so many different ages, from a younger generation, to grandmothers with grandchildren. There were traditional people from my neighborhood and people coming from the north and the south, even from Spain!” exclaims Mariza. “When I saw the images, showing my Lisbon people, and not only people from Lisbon, but a very eclectic audience, all clapping and singing along, I realized what a beautiful night it was. It was not a typical fado audience. I was so surprised. I loved it.”

Outside interest in Mariza abounds, from her sell-out concert at the 6,000-seat Royal Albert Hall in London, to her BBC World Music Award, and being picked by Germany’s ‘100 most important women in Europe.’ She performed a duet with Sting for the Athens Olympics album, and became a UNICEF Ambassador.

In 2007 Mariza took the symphonic show on the road. “Sometimes when you talk about classical music, people have a cold approach and they get a little bit distant,” Mariza says. “But with John Mauceri, it was amazing. He had a very, very special way of treating the music. Always explaining it to the audience and saying funny things. It was unbelievable! I learned from him that even if you have a light approach, it doesn’t mean you are not respecting the music.”

Mariza has also been getting her feet wet in the film world. The BBC released a documentary in 2007 titled Mariza and the Story of Fado, compellingly profiling both the artist and the genre. There will be a special limited edition version of the Concerto em Lisboa album that includes the full BBC documentary. And Mariza played the lead role in a new film called Fado by Carlos Saura, whose past works include the Oscar-nominated Tango and Flamenco, giving fans a chance to see her in an acting role.

In 2007 prominent architect Frank Gehry designed a set for a performance by Portuguese fado singer Mariza later this year. Gehry, renowned for his stunning and daring urban visions, agreed to create a taverna-inspired stage for Mariza’s performance in October at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Gehry said he met Mariza several years ago in Lisbon and was enamored by fado, Portuguese folk music that often has mournful lyrics. “It’s a very intimate setting and there is a dark ambiance,” said Mariza. “It’s a huge privilege to have my own taverna directed by Mr. Gehry.”

Her international acknowledgement is notable: in 2003 she won the BBC Radio 3 Award For World Music, in the European category. She was the first Portuguese artist ever nominated for the GRAMMY awards in the category of Best Folk Album.

Discography:

Fado Em Mim (World Connection, 2001)
Ao Vivo Na Culturgest ‎(2002)
Fado Curvo (EMI, 2003)
Fado Curvo / Ao vivo em Espanha ‎(EMI-Valentim De Carvalho, 2004)
Ao Vivo No Casino ‎(Corda Seca, 2004)
Transparente (EMI, 2005)
Concerto Em Lisboa (EMI Music Portugal, 2006)
Terra (EMI Music Portugal, 2008)
Fado Tradicional (EMI Music Portugal, 2010)
Live at Philharmonie im Gasteig in Munich ‎(2013)
Mundo (Warner Music Portugal, 2015)
Mariza (Warner Music Portugal, 2018)

DVDs

Live in London

Live 8 at Eden – Africa Calling (Real World/Rhino, 2005)

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Acclaimed Portuguese Vocalist Mariza to Present Self-Titled Album “Mariza” at National Music Auditorium in Madrid

Mariza

Fado star Mariza is set to perform this coming Sunday, November 25, 2019 at the National Music Auditorium in Madrid, Spain. The sold out concert is part of the Fronteras (Borders) series of the National Center for Musical Diffusion (CNDM)

The Portuguese artist will present her new self-titled album “Mariza.” The new recording includes a mix of fado and ballads.

The album features Jorge Fernando, Mário Pacheco and Tiago Machado, who have collaborated with Mariza for many years. “Mariza” also includes old friends: Portuguese guitar virtuoso José Manuel Neto; Portuguese flamenco and jazz guitarist Pedro Jóia; Brazilian cellist Jaques Morelenbaum; and Spanish producer Javier Limón. Other guests featured: Matias Damásio, Héber Marques, and Carolina Deslandes.

Mariza’s discography includes Fado em Mim (2002), Fado Curvo (2003), the DVD Live in London (2005), Transparente (2005), the Concerto em Lisboa DVD and CD (2006), Terra (2008), Fado Tradicional (2010) and Mundo (2015).

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Global Musical Diversities in London, Songlines’ Cultural Activism

Numina by Zahra Hussain, Barbican Centre – Photo by Evangeline Kim

 

We live in confounding and perplexing times.  A relatively peaceful international order this past year has suddenly become upended by at least two recent political developments: the U.K.’s Brexit and the results of the presidential elections here in the U.S.  In both instances negative views concerning globalization and immigration threaten preservation and celebration of humanity’s rich cultural heritage and diversities.

Regressive electoral rhetoric here in the U.S. flaunted and promoted xenophobic intolerance, religious bigotry, racial hatreds, and misogyny.  Right-wing supremacist views loom on the horizon as the new normal.  In such a dangerously noxious atmosphere affecting the international, it’s critical to continue to explore and discover what’s noteworthy among the myriad global artistic, poetic and musical, expressions.  They form the world’s magnificent cultural ecosystem.  The proliferation and accessibility of world music recordings and concerts today in Europe and America, compared to, say, their “newness” 30 or 40 years ago, underscore much-needed cultural resistance against the political rants about metaphoric and physical borders and walls.

London Worldview

Across the pond, London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.  About a  third of Londoners are foreign-born where over 200 languages are spoken along with English, the official language.  This is the cultural “fabric” of the U.K.’s largest city that Simon Broughton, editor in chief of Songlines Magazine, mentioned during a visit this past fall preceding the U.S. elections, as I attended a couple of excellent Barbican Centre world music events.

Among the international stalwarts advocating world music, Songlines Magazine, launched in 1999, is one of the few remaining major print and digital music publications. Still not widely circulated in the U.S. though available on the net, the magazine covers global music, traditional and contemporary, popular and fusion, with impressive style and content. (The print edition with its handsome glossy lay-out is well-worth the subscription.)

In Simon’s view: “Rather than just being a music magazine, I have always seen Songlines as a way at looking at the world through its music. And music is a way of exposing people to other cultures in a pleasant, accessible and enlightening way. Once you’ve experienced another people’s music and culture, you understand them more and fear them less.”

Songlines, among other world music publications and sites, stands to gain a greater profile as a worldview counter-force, given emerging discriminatory, isolationist ideologies. This occurred to me as I followed Simon Broughton around London for a few days preceding the roiled U.S. presidential elections. Even the concept of Brexit seemed remote during two great concert events at the Barbican.

Transcender Sufi Night

Parissa – Photo by Evangeline Kim

 

Originally conceived as  “Ramadan Nights” in 2004, meant to explore the wealth of Muslim music traditions found throughout Islam’s historical geographies, the Transcender Festival evolved to include spiritual, devotional and trance-ritual sounds from all over the world.  This year there were two Sufi-related festival concert nights, programmed by Simon B.  I happily caught one.  Persia’s iconic Parissa co-billed with Turkey’s Meshk Ensemble.  It was a night reaching moments of incantatory rapture.

Parissa had not performed in London for 12 years.  The Barbican main hall was filled with Persian media and legions of fans who cherish her.  She has not been allowed, as a woman, to perform publicly in her country, due to political repression enforced since 1979.  Yet for over 40 years, she commands reverence and adulation whenever her rare appearances outside of Iran.  At home in Tehran, she manages to carry on her tradition through teaching the fine art of Persian song to young women.

Accompanied by an ensemble of musicians on tar, kamancheh, and tombak and daf percussion, her repertoire was dedicated to the great 13th century Sufi mystic poet, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi.   Her vocal expressive progression during the concert seemed like an epiphanic ascension towards divine mystical love over earthly pain and despair.

The SOAS American scholar of Persian music, Jane Lewisohn, who has followed her since the Shiraz-Persepolis Festival of Arts in the 70s, exclaimed following her performance, “Parissa always chooses the best poetry by Rumi.” Lacking regrettably were program notes with translations of the poems. However, I drew pleasure just from the sheer beauty of Parissa’s nuanced delivery of Rumi’s poems with instrumental interludes. Hers were elegant delectations, restrained, lit with spiritual passion.

Meshk Ensemble Video Clip by Evangeline Kim:

 

The real surprise of the Sufi-themed evening was the stunning opening concert by the Turkish Meshk Ensemble.  There are currently all sorts of Turkish whirling dervish groups in Turkey ranging from the new age to the nonsensical.  Most all authenticity in Turkish Sufi devotional music was lost in 1925 when Sufism was banned as “backward” in the country for various reasons.  The original 1001 days of dervish training in the Mevlevi lodge tradition were abandoned.  The rigorous training of dervishes in Sufism’s philosophy and thought, its ethical code of conduct (adab), and the related arts,  – particularly musical knowledge of the highly complex technicalities in the Turkish makam system seemed all but foregone according to the Meshk Ensemble’s spokesman and musician, Feridun Gündeş.  A deeply embedded cultural tradition of higher knowledge dissipated into forms of nostalgia and touristic exoticism.

Simon further notes, “It’s the state-supported Konya Sufi Music Ensemble that usually tours with ‘whirling dervish’ performances and performs regularly in Konya where Rumi was buried in 1273. But their performances seem routine and overblown. They have around 25 musicians and singers and it’s clear that the Mevlevi lodges employed much smaller groups of musicians. So Meshk’s style is much more authentic and more interesting as they are continually investigating new repertoire and not rotating the most common ayin pieces. You could compare Cevikoglu with artists like Roger Norrington or John Eliot Gardiner who transformed the approach to Beethoven and Bach 25 years ago.”

“Meshk’ in Turkish signifies the earlier pre-1925 Sufi musical educational training process from dervish master to student, the chain of transmission.  This tradition has been revived and is being upheld by the Meshk Ensemble’s leader, Dr. Timuçin Çevikoğlu, Mevlana scholar with the Ministry of Culture, and who also happens to be the director of the famed Konya Mystic Music Festival.

According to Feridun Gündeş, “He ​works​ diligently like a musical archeologist determined to ​discover​ ​how​ the great composers of the past ​intended​​​ their Ayin compositions to ​be performed​​.  His understanding is probably the closest we can get to the original works of the past. ​ ​Meshk Ensemble is the group he founded and created in order to give life to this critical restoration work through performance and recording activities.”

And so it was at the Barbican, we were transported to mystical Sufi realms by a brilliant, London-debut Meshk performance with players of ney, tanbur, bendir, kudum and beautiful vocals by Dr. Timuçin and Suleyman Ozen.  The first part featured “Ilahis” or devotional  hymns, sung and played during Sufi “dhikr” gatherings (remembrance of God).  The lyrics were poems written by some of Turkey’s great poets, including Yunus Emre and Pir Sultan Abdal.

The second part enacted the famed sema ritual ceremony with 5 dervishes whirling in a blur of billowing white robes across the stage to a rare ayin (music performed during sema), discovered a few years ago in official archives by Dr. Timuçin.  It’s known as the ‘Hicazkar’ makam – one of utter poise, serenity, and peace – composed by Mustafa Câzim el-Mevlevî in the late 19th century.  The lyrics were drawn from Rumi’s masterpiece, the Mathnavi, verses 292-320.

Transcender Art

On the upper level foyer at the Barbican, as accompaniment to Transcender, the visual artist Zarah Hussain’s light installation “Numina” drew mesmerized crowds.  Combining designs found in Islamic art and architecture with digital technique, Hussain’s basic hexagonal grid shifted with infinite geometric variations of dazzling color and light.  Psychedelic visual riffs leading to contemplative wonder.

Songlines Music Awards 2016

Songlines Best Artist Award 2016, Mariza with Simon B – Photo by Evangeline Kim

 

Launched in 2009, the Songlines annual awards has become a delightful concert event in recognition of outstanding talent on the world music scene..  A couple of nights later following Transcender, I took in another sold-out evening at the Barbican’s main hall, showcasing 4 winning acts based on current recording releases, voted in by Songlines’ contributors, its readership, and the general public: Mariza’s “Mundo”, Sam Lee’s “The Fade in Time”, Songhoy Blues’ “Music in Exile”, and Debashish Bhattacharya’s “Slide Guitar Ragas from Dusk Till Dawn”.

Simon B, as emcee, remarked, “For me this music is interesting because it brings us together.  The world is actually quite a small place with millions of diverse traditions.  Songlines is about making those better known.”

 

Sam Lee – Photo by Evangeline Kim

 

Contrasts in styles were in sharp relief.  Sam Lee opened the night with heart-tugging renditions of some the U.K.’s splendid folk traditions.  American record producer, Joe Boyd, in presenting Sam’s award stated: “The genius of Sam and his group has been to find a way to surround that music, those ballads, with really adventurous and interesting instrumentation that takes the rhythmic cue from the song rather than trying to impose something on it.”

 

Songhoy Blues – Photo by Evangeline Kim

 

Debashish Bhattacharya – Photo by Evangeline Kim

 

Mali’s Songhoy Blues is tremendous in live performance and had the audience jumping and dancing  with its searing, rocking rhythms.  They excelled especially with the catchy “takamba” beat.  India’s Debashish Bhattacharya to me sounds better on the album compared to his performance that night.  He is not a strong, convincing vocalist, but surprisingly, sang one song.  His edgy twang on the slide guitar was remarkable technically, but the shimmering delicate power of sitar tonalities was the quality I missed.

Mariza, the Portuguese fado star, is forever glamorous and beguiling.  I hadn’t seen her live in several years, but her confidence and charm topped off the evening with immense celebratory joy.  The Songlines Awards concert is a fun-filled and exciting world music happening, not to be missed if you happen to be in London.  Every world music artist might aspire to be a winning Songlines act, appearing at the Barbican.

Malick Sidibe Solo Exhibition, Somerset House

Before I left London, Simon clued me in on the superb exhibition of works by the late Malian photographer, Malick Sidibe.  Ensconced within the larger Contemporary African Art Fair that ran for a few days in October at the Somerset House, the solo photography show is still up until January 15th.

While Mali’s roster of stars from the 60s to the present began to hit the world music markets – such as Ali Farka Toure, Boubacar Traore, Salif Keita, Toumani Diabate, Oumou Sangare, and Rokia Traore – in Mali’s capital, Bamako, Malick Sidibe was quietly documenting Mali’s popular life and people.  To view this exhibition is an astounding view into the lives of ordinary folk who became immortal stars reflected through the lens of this photographer.

 


Nuit de Noël (Happy Club), 1963 (c) Malick Sidibé

 

Simon Broughton Portrait, 2004, by Malick Sidibe

 

His major work began at the moment of Independence and post-colonial exuberance in the country and throughout Africa, the 60s. Over the years, until Sidibe’s passing this past April, visiting world music fans, record producers, and journalists had their photos taken in Malick Sidibe’s studio.

In Simon’s experience, “It was the thing to do, to have your photograph taken by Sidibe. When I was in Bamako in 2004 a friend of mine took me to Malick’s studio. He was a man of few words and was fast and practical in taking my portrait. He asked me how I wanted to pose and not having a moped to straddle – although I’m sure he could have provided one – I just decided to sit crossed legged. He took a few pictures, but he chose the one that was kept. I went back a day or two later to collect the print. Nick Gold, of World Circuit Records, was also a fan of Malick’s work and took Oumou Sangare, amongst others, to have her photo taken there.”

The exhibit holds 3 themes: Nightlife in Bamako, Beachgoers by the River Niger, and Studio Portraits.  Wafting through the exhibition rooms is a fantastic soundscape of African music from the 60s and 70s by DJ Rita Ray.  The exhibition catalogue is a keepsake.

Despite the sad turn of political events in Mali since 2012, the photographs are a testament to the vibrant, resilient, and creative spirit of Mali’s people. The art of living lives on through Malick Sidibe’s eyes.  And Songlines will continue to add value to Mali’s and the world’s musical legacies.  There is hope for better days to come.

Headline photo: Meshk Ensemble – Photo by Evangeline Kim

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Mariza’s Larger World

Mariza – Mundo (Warner Music Portugal/Nonesuch, 2016)

Released earlier in the year in Europe, Mariza’s new album Mundo is now available in North America. The acclaimed fado singer became a world music sensation thanks to showcases at WOMEX, performamces at world music festivals and other presentations. Now she’s taken a further step with her collaboration with Spanish producer Javier Limón.

Mundo still contains exquisite fado. In fact, most of the album is still fado plus a Cape Verdean morna. But there is more. Grammy award-winning producer Javier Limón is well-known for making music accessible to large audiences. Limón composed a song titled “Alma” for Mariza. Here, Mariza sings in Spanish. Her Spanish is charming, with an Andalusian flavor.

 

 

Although most of the album is in Portuguese, there is another track in Spanish, a 1930’s Argentine tango song. Thanks to “Alma” and a handful of other pop songs that are very radio friendly, Mariza has now reached beyond the fado and world music audiences. She currently has access to Portuguese and Spanish-language mainstream audiences, which will boost her international career. Nevertheless, fado fans shouldn’t worry. As indicated earlier, most of the album still contains splendid classic and modern fado songs featuring Mariza’s passionate vocals and Portuguese guitar.

 

 

Mariza is currently touring North America to present her new work.

Buy Mundo in North America

Buy Mundo in Europe

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Fado Star Mariza to Perform at The Town Hall in New York City

Mariza
Mariza

 

Acclaimed Portuguese vocalist Mariza is set to perform Saturday, October 15, 2016 at The Town Hall in New York City.

The fado singer will be presenting her new album Mundo (World) that features classic songs honoring the late fado legend Amalia Rodrigues and legendary tango singer Carlos Gardel, as well as new songs written for her by the Grammy-winning Spanish producer Javier Limón. On Mundo, Mariza sings in Portuguese and Spanish.

 

 

8:00 p.m.
The Town Hall
thetownhall.org/event/mariza

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Fado Star Mariza with Special Guest Bebel Gilberto to Perform at NJPAC

Mariza - Photo by Carlos Ramos
Mariza – Photo by Carlos Ramos

Portuguese fado sensation Mariza is set to perform on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). The acclaimed fado artist will be in North America for a 12-date fall tour. She will joined by Brazilian vocalist Bebel Gilberto.

Mariza first attracted international attention with the release of her 2001 debut album, Fado em Mim. Since then she has sold over a million copies of her recordings and earned more than 30 international Platinum awards. Mariza will be showcasing her new album, Mundo (World) that includes classics honoring the late fado legend Amalia Rodrigues and influential tango singer Carlos Gardel, and new songs written for her by acclaimed Spanish producer Javier Limón.

Bebel Gilberto is a well-known vocalist in the world music scene, who combines electronica with Brazilian music.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center
1 Center Street, Newark NJ
Doors 6:30pm / Performance 7pm
Tickets: $35 – $125

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Songlines Music Awards 2016 Winners’s Concert in London

Debashish Bhattacharya
Debashish Bhattacharya

Fado star Mariza, Malian band Songhoy Blues, Indian guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya and Sam Lee & friends are set to perform on October 3rd at Barbican Hall in London. These four world music acts are winners of this year’s Songlines Music Awards.

Launched in 2008, the Songlines Music Awards honor the diversity of musical talent across the globe featured in Songlines magazine. Votes for the Awards came in from Songlines readers, contributors and the general public.

19:30
www.barbican.org.uk/music/event-detail.asp?ID=19721

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Savannah Music Festival 2009 Will Present the Most Artistically Diverse Season in the History of the Organization

Mariza
Mariza

Savannah (Georgia), USA – The Savannah Music Festival (SMF) announces its most artistically diverse lineup to date for the upcoming 2009 festival, including several commissioned works and a wealth of original productions showcasing a wide variety of American and international musical traditions.

Committed to enhancing the cultural landscape of Savannah, SMF programs combine elegance and soul in a way that mirrors the history and culture of the remarkable city. The unique musical arts event is one of the highlights of springtime on the southeastern U.S. coast and a distinctive destination for cultural travelers.

The 2009 festival takes place between March 19 and April 5 in historic downtown Savannah and features more than 100 musical performances in intimate settings.

Original Productions & Other Highlights

• Long Time Travelin’, a celebration of American folksong traditions: Rayna Gellert of Uncle Earl with Patrick Sauber, old-time balladeer Tim Eriksen, National Heritage Fellow Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, the Tatnall River Shapenote Singers, and host Jim Lauderdale, an acclaimed Nashville singer-songwriter

• Jazz Now and Forever, a series of jazz greats including Dianne Reeves, Chick Corea & John McLaughlin’s Five Peace Band featuring Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett and Brian Blade, and The Clayton Brothers

• The Gershwin Songbook, jazz pianist Marcus Roberts and classical pianist Sebastian Knauer performing the greatest compositions of this masterful American composer

• The Blues was Born Here, an authentic southern blues review showcasing Piedmont blues masters Cephas & Wiggins on a one-time only bill with Georgia’s own Beverly “Guitar” Watkins

• Resplendent Recitals, a series highlighting the world’s finest recitalists including tenor Ian Bostridge, guitarist Manuel Barrueco, and pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Marc-Andre Hamelin and Sebastian Knauer

• Big World of Music, leading international artists such as fado star Mariza, Mike Marshall & Darol Anger with Väsen, Bela Fleck’s Africa Project featuring virtuosos Toumani Diabate, Vusi Mahlasela, and D’Gary, and Indian maestros Zakir Hussain & Shiv Kumar Sharma.

• The 16th annual American Traditions Competition, some of the nation’s most talented aspiring vocalists competing for more than $30,000 in prize monies

• The three-night Savannah Jazz Party featuring Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Howard Paul and Ken Peplowski; the Ellis Marsalis Quartet; and the 2009 Piano Showdown with solos and duos by pianists Eddie Palmieri, Henry Butler, Aaron Goldberg and Bob Seeley

• The Complete Brandenburg Concertos performed by the Academy of Ancient Music with Richard Egarr

• Organ Stops, a six-concert series featuring such internationally acclaimed organists as Janette Fishell

• Everybody Dance Now, a three-concert series of dance parties featuring Eddie Palmieri & La Perfecta II, Zydeco great Cedric Watson, and the rising young Cajun ensemble, Feufollet

• Georgia On My Mind, a four-concert series including Savannah’s own Bobby Lee Rodgers & Friends in a one-time only event, as well as the Marcus Printup Quartet, Caroline Herring, and Sacred Harp Singing with Tim Eriksen

• Swing Central, a three-day high school jazz band and competition capped off by Battle Royale, the closing night finale concert featuring a cutting contest with trumpeters, saxophonists, trombonists and rhythm sections. Featured performers: Marcus Roberts Trio, The Clayton Brothers, Wycliffe Gordon, Terrell Stafford, Scotty Barnhart and others

• Roots & Twang, a varied series featuring Neko Case with Crooked Fingers, Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, The Infamous Stringdusters and The Lovell Sisters, and The Blues was Born Here

• Tap master Savion Glover, combining two different projects on a Savannah stage

Tickets go on sale at 9 am EST on November 13 and are available online at www.savannahmusicfestival.org or by phone at 912-525-5050.

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Mariza Nominated Again for Latin Grammy in 2008

Mariza -  Terra
Mariza – Terra
For the second year, Mariza is nominated for “Best Folk Album” by The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. Terra is the fourth album by fado singer Mariza. The Portuguese artist is nominated for the category of “Best Folk Album”. Other nominees are Damaris , Peru Negro, Walter Silva and Cholo Valderrama .
 
 Terra was released in Portugal and Spain on the 30th of June. Since then it has been the # 1 record on the Portuguese charts. Recorded between Lisbon (Portugal) and Madrid (Spain), it was produced by Javier Limón, one of the most acknowledged producers of the moment. Limon was responsible for recordings by Bebo y Cigala, Buika, Light Couple, Paco de Lucia, Enrique Morente and Carlinhos Brown.

Mariza sings on Terra the lyrics of poets such as Florbela Espanca, David Mourão Ferreira or Ary dos Santos. Also participating in Terra are Dominic Miller (Sting), Concha Buika and Tito Paris .

Mariza will start the European tour of Terra performing just in September at the “Cirque D´Hiver” in Paris and the Biennal de Lyon in France. In October, Finland, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Germany will follow.

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