2. Mariza – Birmingham Symphony Hall.

mariza1116The fado goddess had K in tears right from the very first song, and all the way through the rest of the concert; afterwards, he needed wringing out like a soggy dishcloth. Indeed, K was so emotionally tuned into Mariza’s performance that he was even moved to clap along during the happy songs. I never thought I’d live to see the day.

His reaction was entirely justified, though; for rarely have I seen such pure emotion – powerful yet always controlled – so effectively transmitted from the stage. Mariza’s largely melodramatic laments for lost love connected with the whole audience, vaulting straight over any language barrier; you didn’t need any knowledge of Portuguese to understand the nature of the feelings she was channelling. Particularly effective were the mid-song pauses, where she would silence her musicians with a raised hand, then visibly search with her fingers for the next emotion, before bursting forth again with a shuddering wail. She looked stunning, as well: a platinum blonde Amazonian force majeure and diva incarnate.

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