More traditional than Mariza, Mísia is considered one of the best voices in fado history, a worthy descendant of Amalia Rodriguez. A pioneer, a free spirit – Mísia is more than a simple interpreter. Mísia is the leading Portuguese tradition forward, being a true ambassador of music, recognized worldwide, standing testimony to this are all orders, awards, medals and prizes she won.
Mísia’s life was shaped by musical, geographical and poetic journeys – a necessity for an artist who grew up in nonconformity and exuberance under the influence of two cultures: the father (quiet Portuguese bourgeois culture) and the mother and grandmother (Spanish art world). She spent her childhood in Porto, her birthplace. She sang fado for the first time there, for workers who came to Casas de Fado. She then moved on to Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and the final stop – Lisbon.
When she arrived in Lisbon, she began to discover other people’s hostility towards fado; hostility that began with the fall of Salazar’s dictatorship. Fado was used by the authorities as a tool for propaganda, repression and mental manipulation of the population. Aside from some great poems, songs spoke only about the ethos of the Portuguese people – obedient, poor, lacking ambition, but pleased. Therefore, Mísia was faced with a great test. She began to explore fado, to make an inventory of songs, looking for traditional fado songs and contacting poets to ask them to write new lyrics. She brought the violin and accordion back, traditional for fado music she used to hear ont the streets in her childhood, but with piano accompaniment from the aristocratic salons of the nineteenth century. Mísia is the one that, with huge effort, managed to wholly reconstruct fado aesthetically, both as substance and shape.
From the outset, Mísia had enemies. The left wing accused her of focusing on the conservative side of the genre, while the traditionalists disapproved of her message and image, as well as of her collaboration with poets known for their political involvement. Despite these attitudes, Mísia has persevered and wass dedicated to her vision. Without much though, going over all the critiques and risking isolation, Mísia opened new horizons in fado, being a pioneer of the genre.
Early successes that she acknowledged beyond borders: in Spain and Japan, then in France and Germany. Later, she started to become known throughout the world, developing an extensive international career. In 1993 she became the second artist, after Amalia Rodriguez, who took fado to some of the world’s biggest stages and even in places where fado was never heard before.
Since her first solo album, public response was enthusiastic to the unparalleled creativity of Portuguese music. Her projects have received worldwide recognition and sales went up. Mísia received award after award. Her second album, “Mísia Fado”, was released in Japan, South Korea and Spain. “Tanto menos, tanto mais” was awarded the Académie Charles Cros prize. “Garras dos Sentidos” was sold in 250,000 copies. For the first time, accordion, violin and piano were heard together in fado songs. “Ritual”, a tribute to artists from Casas de Fado, covered a repertoire of folklore songs. After the release of the album, Mísia brought fado for the first time, one the legendary stage from Papal Palace in Avignon Festival. Later, the album “Canto” marked a distance from fado, based on instrumental music of Portuguese guitarist and writer Carlos Paredes. A string quintet completed the album, which won the Critics’ prize in Germany. “Drama Box” was really an album full of passion, including tango, bolero and fado, Mísia having Fanny Ardant, Miranda Richardson, Ute Lemper, Carmen Maura and Maria de Medeiros as guests.
She was awarded, over time, with Portugal’s Order of Merit Medal, the Great Red Medal of Paris, the French Order of Arts and Letters Award, the German Musical Critics Award, International Festival of Artistic and Educational Film, Grand Prize of the Charles Cros Academy and many more.
This is, in short, Mísia. She will come to Timişoara to sing her soul out on our stage at PLAI, Saturday, September 11, 2010. This concert won’t be only for the connoisseurs because Mísia’s music addresses everyone.
Mísia’s performance at PLAI Festival Timişoara will also represent her latest album’s launch in Romania for the double album “Ruas”. It is a complex double album, where the “ruas”(street) are presented to us: life’s streets; the roads of sadness, of love, of absence; the roads of all roads, roads of fate; fado roads – streets that we all struggle on until our last breath. Streets – these places of crossing, meeting and parting, on which we are passing daily trying to live our lives.