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Mariza has become one of Portugal's most successful international stars through her best-selling interpretations of fado, her country's most traditional musical form known as the "Portuguese blues."
Born in Mozambique in 1972, Mariza grew up in Lisbon's Mouraria district where she learnt to sing fado as a child in her parent's taverna. Though she also sang soul and funk music, Mariza returned to fado to record her first album, "Fado em mim," in 2002, a collection of traditional songs produced by the acclaimed Jorge Fernando.
The album also brought comparisons with legendary fadista Amalia Rodrigues. "It's a huge compliment,' explains Mariza, "but we are so different, because she had a way to feel, and I have my way to feel my music, and my way to see the world."
Following the breakthrough success of "Fado em mim," 2004's "Fado Curvo" sold even better, while Mariza toured the world, performing in New York's Central Park and at the UK's Womad Festival, as well as to 30,000 crowds at home in Lisbon. Her latest album, "Transparente," was released in 2005.
Mariza's achievement has been in glamorizing and modernizing fado for a new generation while respecting and honoring its inherently conservative traditions and heritage.
"I lived in a traditional Lisbon neighborhood and have always sung the fado," she says. "I know what it is, I understand myself through it. Fado is not limited... but it must be treated with the utmost care."
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