PODCAST: Mariza to Receive Master of Mediterranean Music Award

Kimberly Ashton
November 7, 2017
Fado singer Mariza will receive the Master of Mediterranean Music Award in Boston on November 11.
Image by Josė Goulão

For more than 15 years, Portuguese singer Mariza has been redefining fado, the urban folk music that has given voice to Lisbon's woes for the past two centuries. Instead of seeing a genre dominated by dark and sorrowful moods, she sees one that expresses what she calls "melancholic happiness" and one that is ripe for moving into new musical spaces. And this is just where Mariza has been taking it. 

"Mariza is the most important fado singer ever," says Javier Limón, artistic director of Berklee's Mediterranean Music Institute, adding, "Actually, she is the most important singer alive in Portugal."

It's for this reason that the institute is giving her its Master of Mediterranean Music Award on November 11. "Mariza wants fado to be a living tradition….(and) is reinvigorating her genre, drawing on its traditions but simultaneously doing something different," according to the MMI. 

The ceremony will take place during Mariza's three-night stop in Boston on her current tour, but her Berklee connection won't end there. For the 30 gigs she has lined up in the United States this fall, she'll be backed bassist Lucy Clifford B.M. '16.  

On this episode, you'll hear Mariza's "Alma," a song that fuses traditional fado melodies with newer styles, and is sung in Spanish. The tune is off Mariza's latest album, 2015's Mundo

Producer: Kimberly Ashton
Engineer: Darcy Davis