Santa Maria Sun> Tuesday, Feb 25, 2020     Volume 23, Issue 78   
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Portuguese blues
Fado singer Mariza brings her emotion-laden tunes to Cal Poly
By Glen Starkey

Fado, considered the blues of the Portuguese culture, is a style of music rich in emotion and longing — poetic and romantically nostalgic, fado songs lament unrequited love but can also revel in the joy of being alive.

Appearing this week at Cal Poly is Mariza — considered Portugal’s “Voice of Fado� — who was actually born in Mozambique but moved to Portugal with her family when she was still a baby.

She experienced firsthand exposure to fado directly from the “Fado Houses,� where singing is spontaneous and part of everyday life. By her teen years, she became attracted to soul, gospel, and jazz, but in her 20s, Mariza’s feelings for fado rejuvenated.

Her first major national exposure came in 1999 when, as a guest performer in a tribute concert for fadista Amália Rodriques, she captured the public’s interest in the coliseums of Lisbon and Oporto. She’s been performing in Portugal and throughout Europe and the U.S. ever since.

In 2000, Mariza received Portugal’s main radio station’s “Voice of Fado� award. More recently she was nominated for the German Critics’ Award, the “Deutsche Schallplaten.� Her debut 2002 CD, Fado em Mim, immediately entered the Hot 100 album charts in Europe and garnered critical acclaim and a wide fan base.

The press has been gushing praise ever since: “Mariza [remains] firmly in touch with the fado roots while spreading her own newly blossoming creative interpretations,� said the LA Times; “When Mariza sings, time stands still,� said BBC Radio; “It takes special gifts to perform fado and to garner acceptance as a ‘fadista’ in Portugal … Mariza proves she has the voice,� said Billboard; “Mariza is a soulful singer who seems unable to hit a wrong note. The audience fell silent, as if under a spell,� reported The London Evening Standard.

Now Mariza is touring in support of her follow-up CD, Fado Curvo, and a new DVD, Mariza: Live in London. She’ll make her San Luis Obispo debut backed by a Portuguese 12-string guitar, a classical guitar, and a string bass this Tuesday, Oct. 19 at the Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre (formerly the Cal Poly Theatre).

Tickets are $28 and $34, with student discounts available. Call 756-2787 or order online at The concert is sponsored by Scott and Barbara Radovich and KCBX 90.1 FM.


Saving the planet, one concert at a time

Singer-songwriter and activist Tracy Lyons has a personal interest in the environment — it’s made her gravely ill. Hence, she’s turned her considerably musical talents to spreading the word about the very real dangers of pollution.

“It really is a personal interest of mine, because I had a lot of medical problems,� she explained in her Irish accent during a recent phone interview.

Lyons suffers from mercury poisoning, and her writing has been directed toward “being conscious of what’s going on� with the environment, which is the source of her own internal environmental disaster.

“I’m trying to find a way to solve that problem, but so many doctors have refused to believe the symptoms. I finally discovered that my system contains nine times the mercury amount that is considered acceptable, and because my body has been polluted, my entire immune system has been compromised.�

Trying to make people aware of the dangers of a polluted environment has become a passion.

“People don’t realize what’s really going on in the environment. They’re gasping for air, but no one realizes it. People think they can eat anything, but our seas and lakes are poisoned with mercury and worse. And the air quality! People are obviously suffering in places like China, and Los Angeles is really bad. Did you know that one in six children in Los Angeles have asthma? One in six! This pollution causes everything from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s. Instead of treating the symptoms, we need to start with the source.�

You can see Lyons play this Wednesday, Oct. 20 at Mother’s Tavern, but she’s really in town as part of an event at Hearst Castle that will display clean vehicles on Thursday, Oct. 21. Lyons will perform at the event and also be a featured speaker.

The event is sponsored by Stuart Energy, “the pioneering global leader in the development, manufacture, and integration of hydrogen infrastructure products.�

From 1 to 5 p.m., the base of Hearst Castle’s “Enchanted Hill� will be the site of the largest display of alternative-fueled vehicles ever to be assembled on California’s Central Coast. Visitors, including a number of invited school groups, will see, firsthand, more than 60 vehicles of various fuel types and the growing array of clean vehicle technologies available, alongside colorful vintage antique cars, and get a chance to meet and hear some of the manufacturers, fuel providers, fleet operators, and other industry decision-makers.

Destroying private property since 1981!

Ah, The Vandals! They’re funny, surly, legendary … and they don’t really care. This Sunday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in SLO Brew, you can see these punk pranksters deliver the goods during an all ages show with The Godawfuls and Undermined ($13 advance/$14 at the door. Tickets available at Boo Boo Records and

Just for fun, here’s a couple fun facts off the band’s web site,

Would the Vandals ever be on a major label?

“Major labels are for punk bands that can’t do math, or don’t feel like doing math. The freedom and compensation will always be more on an indie label than a major, especially in the long run. There are crooks that own indies, and crooks that run majors, but there is nothing like having success on an indie. It guarantees a career that lasts as long as you work hard. That’s the kind of control we like over our lives.

Would the Vandals ever be on MTV?

“We will never have a radio or MTV hit. We like being on TV and hearing ourselves on the radio, but when a band has success on an indie, they have to take giant leaps backward to try to play the radio or MTV game. We refuse to play that game. We choose to spend more time giving our real fans more of what they want from us rather than trying to attract fake fans who may have been alienating our real fans at school for years.�


Listen up!

Cal Poly Director of Jazz Studies Paul Rinzler presents a jazz piano faculty recital at Unity Church in San Luis Obispo this Sunday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. The Uncertified All-Stars, as they’re called, includes Rinzler on piano, Grammy-award winner Jay Graydon on guitar, Darrell Voss on drums, and Ken Hustad on bass.

Rinzler’s combo has a new CD, Active Listening, which, according to Cadence magazine, showed “impressive trio interplay� and “rich dialogues.�

Grammy-winner Graydon, an arranger-producer-songwriter-guitarist, has worked with Al Jarreau, George Benson, Don Ellis, and the Manhattan Transfer.

Hustad and Voss are both inveterate local jazz scene makers. Hustad has appeared on many jazz recordings and is a member of the San Luis Obispo Symphony and Mozart Festival Orchestra. Voss has performed with such jazz greats as Red Holloway, Bruce Foreman, and Charlie Shoemake.

Tickets are $12 for the public, $10 for Jazz Federation members, and $7 for students. Unity Church is located at 1490 Southwood Ave. (at Johnson Avenue) in San Luis Obispo.


More music …

Don’t forget the Night Jerks, who assure me they were flipping me, not you, off in last week’s photo of the band (see how they’re smiling and happy in this week’s photo? They’re nice!). They’ll bring their proto-punk, glam-rock, alt-country shenanigans to The Dwelling this Thursday, Oct. 14. Also on the bill are The Khans, direct from the Gobi Desert (okay, that’s a lie; they’re local, but they claim to play Mongolian rock’n’roll, whatever that is). Instrumental surf rockers The Introducers will also appear. Three bands! Sweet!

Good vibing Vinyl (old school funk, Latin, reggae, and R&B) returns to the San Luis Obispo area with their friends Delta Nove (much like SambaDa, with drums and Brazilian funk grooves) this Saturday, Oct. 16 at Sweet Springs Saloon. Get more info about the bands at and

Folk singer Brian Joseph, once described as someone who writes sweet and funny songs about “small moments with big meaning,� returns to Paso Robles this week. With intricate fingerstyle playing and softspoken vocals (think Randy Newman’s folkier offerings), Joseph conveys grace and wit. Zoë Lewis, who’s been called “a band in a body� and performs upbeat and edgy tunes on a variety of weird instruments, will join Joseph, delivering some jazz, jump jive, Latin grooves, swing, international folk, and funk originals on anything from the piano to the spoons. It happens this Monday, Oct. 18 at Divine Appointment Guitars. Tickets, which are limited, cost $15 (237-0054). For more on the artists, check out and ³


Glen Starkey has been ignoring your
phone calls. Don’t e-mail him at either!


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