Mariza

Terra

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Terra feels like an attempt to move Mariza into the musical mainstream. She's already established herself at the forefront of fado, as one of the leading performers of the emotive Portuguese style, and there's no doubt she possesses a wonderful voice. But the addition of several guests, such as Chucho Valdés, Ivan Lins, and Tito Paris (among others) seems to open up the seams between fado and other genres, including Brazilian music and jazz. It does so relatively subtly, and she keeps her base pretty firmly in fado (witness the glorious "Ja Me Deixou"). But the inclusion of a standard like "Smile," which closes the album and has her singing in English, is evidence of the move to broaden her appeal, as is the lushness of the arrangements, much fuller than she's used in the studio in the past. Her duet with Paris on "Beijo de Saudade" is a highlight, and the voices play off each other gloriously, hers pure and clear, his gruff and harsh. Ultimately, the question is whether it all works, and it does, because it doesn't try to do too much, just a small re-positioning, although what the future will bring remains to be seen.

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