Arguably Portugal’s greatest musical export, the fado icon Mariza is returning to the United States and Canada for an extensive North American tour this spring. On the tour Mariza will be performing pieces from her latest album, Mariza, inviting listeners into the intensity and intimacy of fado.
In less than 12 years, Mariza has risen from a local phenomenon — one of Lisbon’s hidden treasures — to one of the most widely acclaimed stars on the international music circuit. No Portuguese artist since Amália Rodrigues has experienced such a triumphant career, accumulating success after success on the most prestigious world stages, rave reviews from the most demanding music critics worldwide, and countless international awards and distinctions. Mariza’s musical collaborators have included Jacques Morelenbaum, Gilberto Gil, Lenny Kravitz, Sting and Cesária Évora. In turn, her repertoire has also grown to include occasional Cape Verdean mornas, Brazilian and R&B classics.
Mariza’s North American tour kicks off on April 6th at Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California. It includes further stops in San Francisco, New York City, Miami, Montreal and Atlanta before wrapping at Chicago’s City Winery on May 8th. I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Mariza — who can be visited online at www.mariza.com — and highlights from that Q&A are below.
You are often called “Portugal’s greatest musical export.” Do you like that nickname?
Mariza: I had no idea they call me that, but it is a great pride to show the Portuguese culture to people who do not know it or who have a very pale notion of what we are. The music I play today, trying to respect the bases, the traditions of our culture, already has a very personal way of do it, but I do not stop singing in Portuguese, I do not stop singing the great Portuguese poets. And bringing that culture to other people is always a big responsibility. But it is with great pleasure that I do so.
How long has your upcoming North American tour been in the works for?
Mariza: The North American Tour is part of the Mariza World Tour 2019 to present live my latest album Mariza. This will be an incredible tour, I am lucky enough to be so welcomed in so many countries, from Europe to North and South America, and many others. I can’t wait to play at the United States, I am sure it will be unforgettable.
Besides touring, have you spent a lot of time in the States?
Mariza: Not as much as I would like, but when I have some free time I always try to visit.
For someone coming to see you in concert in the States or Canada, what should be expected? Are you performing with a full band? Playing songs from throughout your career?
Mariza: It will be with my full band and you could expect a concert based on this last album but it also contains known songs from previous albums, such as “Chuva”, “Rosa Branca” and “Ó Gente Da Minha Terra.”
Are you recording any of the shows on the tour for a possible home-video or television special?
Mariza: We are trying to film some of the shows, make some short videos for my social media and maybe something more that we cannot reveal yet.
Once the tour wraps, what is coming up for your in your career?
Mariza: Right now I am focused on this World Tour, where we will travel more than 20 countries worldwide, promoting my new album… But still we are already thinking ahead next year since it will be a beautiful landmark: 20 years of career.
Is there a career accomplishment you are most proud of?
Mariza: I’d rather think what I still want to do instead of looking back, and I feel that I still have everything to do.
When not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your free time?
Mariza: When I am not working all my attention is on my family and friends, being a mother, daughter and friend.
Finally, is there something you wish more people knew about Mariza?
Mariza: People know me for the best reasons, for my music and that is what I want to be remembered, today and always.