In less than twelve years, Mariza has risen from a well hidden local phenomenon, known only to a small circle of admirers in Lisbon, to one of the most widely acclaimed stars of the World Music circuit.
Fado em mim Album
It all started with her first CD, Fado em Mim, published in 2001, which quickly led to a number of highly successful international presentations - the Québec Summer Festival, in which she received the event’s First Award (Most Outstanding Performance), New York’s Central Park, the Hollywood Bowl, the Royal Festival Hall, the Womad Festival - and ultimately earned her BBC Radio 3’s award for Best European Artist in the area of World Music. Fado em Mim was an exciting first album, showing a young singer with a rich, vibrant voice and a strong artistic personality. She still sang several hits of Amália’s repertory but her approach to the heritage of the great Fado diva was already so personal that she could easily cast away any suggestion of mere imitation. And within her original material Ó Gente da minha Terra, by the young composer Tiago Machado, soon became a major hit in its own right.
Fado Curvo Album
In 2003 came her second album, Fado Curvo. It was clearly a step ahead in a process of strengthening her own style and widening her own repertory, with the help of excellent arrangements by Carlos Maria Trindade. Amália was still present, with her emblematic Primavera, on a poem by David Mourão Ferreira, but so was ballad singer José Afonso, an icon of the democratic opposition to the Salazar regime in the 1960s and 70s, and much of the material was new and inspired. Fado Curvo would reach 6th place on the Billboard chart for World Music, and win the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis and the European Border Breakers Award at the 2004 MIDEM. Mariza’s stage performances multiplied, with great personal triumphs at the London Royal Festival Hall, the Frankfurt Alte Oper, the Paris Théâtre de le Ville, the Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall (with the Los Angeles Philharmonic), the Madrid Teatro Albéniz or the Barcelona Teatre Grec. Her performing style at that period can be seen in her Live in London DVD, featuring her March 2003 concert at the Union Chapel and displaying her impressive vocal gifts and her growing self confidence onstage. In 2004, together with Carlos do Carmo, she was appointed by the Mayor of Lisbon an Ambassador for the nomination of Fado to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which was to be officially approved by UNESCO in November 2011.