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Mariza is the stage name of a popular fado singer. She was born Marisa dos Reis Nunes on 16 December 1973 in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique. At the time, Mozambique was known as the Portuguese Overseas Province of Mozambique.
Mariza is the child of an Portuguese father and a mother of partial black African heritage. At age 3 her family moved to Portugal, and she was raised in traditional quarters of Lisbon, Mouraria and Alfama. While very young she began singing in a wide variety of musical styles, including gospel, soul and jazz. Her father strongly encouraged her to adopt fado; he felt that participating in the traditional music would grant her greater acceptance in the Portuguese community.
The family lived for awhile in Brazil, where her singing style was strongly influenced by the musical rhythms of that country's popular music. When the family returned to Portugal she again immersed herself in the fado genre, infusing it with a Brazilian-beat undertone. She has sold over 500.000 records Worldwide.
In 1999 fado's most famous and beloved interpreter, Amália Rodrigues died. In the public remembrance and mourning that followed, fado regained much of its previous popularity, and Mariza was asked to perform a broadcast tribute to Rodrigues' memory, which caused her friends to begin urging her to record an album of fado music. She did so, and in 2001 Fado em Mim was released. It sold an astounding 100,000 copies (4,000 copies of a fado disc would have been considered successful). After this the record company made the disc available worldwide, and sales eventually topped 140,000 copies.
One of Mariza's hit songs, Transparente is a tribute to her African grandmother.
Mariza sang the Portuguese national anthem at the 2002 FIFA World Cup of football, at the game which pitted the home team (South Korea) against Portugal.
By the time Mariza's second album, Fado Curvo, was released in 2003, she was considered a member of the New Fado movement, with a voice reminiscent of traditional divas of the musical form such as Rodrigues. Her interpretations of fado standards brought her rapid international recognition, leading to her being the recipient, in March 2003, of BBC Radio 3's award for Best European Artist in World Music. Her British television debut was on Later with Jools Holland. For the Olympic Games of Athens 2004 she sang "A Thousand Years," as a duet with Sting. It was released on the official pop album of the Athens Olympics, Unity, on which fado is sung in English and Portuguese.
Mariza's third album, Transparente, was recorded in Brazil and released in 2005. She performed at Live 8; she sang at the Eden Project in Cornwall, after which she has been invited to concerts and events worldwide to promote Portuguese culture, from Australia to Finland, the United States and Argentina. That album eventually reached Top Ten in countries like Holland, Spain and Finland.
She has performed in venues such as New York's Carnegie Hall and Central Park, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Barbican, Hollywood Bowl, London's Royal Albert Hall, Union Chapel, Royal Festival Hall, Lisbon's Centro Cultural de Belém, Frankfurt's Alte Oper, Paris' Théâtre de La Ville, Madrid's Teatro Albeniz, Barcelona's Teatro Grec, X Cairo International Song Festival 2004, Centro Cultural de Macau, Moscow International House of Music, Toronto's Massey Hall and Sydney Opera House.
Mariza, who lives in the upmarket Alcântara dockside area of Lisbon, has received many awards from countries such as Denmark, Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.
Her album Concerto em Lisboa received in 2007 a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album. In 2008 she released the album Terra; it contains basic fado influenced by Jazz, Flamenco, Latin and African sounds. Terraalso received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album for 2008.
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