Audiences in the world’s most prestigious concert halls have swooned before her majestic voice and lovable charisma; they have given standing ovations to an artist who is all the more impressive for her haute couture gowns and cap of peroxided hair.
The Portuguese-Mozambican diva is still singing it as she feels it: jaunty folk songs such as Rosa Branca are delivered with skirt-swooshing flair. Sad songs with classic themes — despair, destiny, betrayal — still send her doubling over, arm outstretched. Her five musicians still stare at their shoes when she cries.
But while there are still the same dazzling drum solos, the release of her 2008 album Terra has seen bits of jazz, flamenco, folk and Cape Verdean morna enrich her sound. “This is the second time I am here doing songs from Terra,” said Mariza, who is playing again tonight. “I want to say I love you all. Obrigado.” An adoring crowd applauded wildly, threw long-stemmed roses and sent the love right back.
With onstage patter honed to perfection, she told again of sneaking out of bed as a child to watch the fadistas in the taverna, a prelude to the beautiful Tasco da Mouraria.
Then there she was in the auditorium, blasting out a show-stopping version of O Gente Da Minha Terra. “You are the people of my land”, she said. And we were, every one of us.