“I see a mixture of new people, who are giving more value to fado and traditions,” said the Portuguese descendant fado singer, born in São José, California. “I'm seeing that people really want to have that connection, they want to know more about themselves and go deeper,” she added.
The video “Alfama”, she explained, was filmed in São José as a way to honour one of the cities with the greatest history of Portuguese emigrants in California.
“I wanted to show everyone that my Alfama is Little Portugal. I wanted to link traditional fado to modern days,” said the 31-year-old artist. "I'm trying to connect the two things and give a whole picture."
Daughter of an emigrant from Viseu, Marisa Silva Rocha learned to speak Portuguese with her father, maternal grandmother and at school in São José.
“I always say that I'm a Portuguese-American fado singer. I'm different, I'm proud to be Portuguese and American”, she described. "I want to show people that it's ok if I have an accent, if I don't say the words correctly."
With a concert scheduled for the São Joaquim Valley Portuguese Festival, which will take place in Turlock on 28 and 29 August, Marisa Silva Rocha stressed that more musicians are needed to expand the fado with California flavour.
“The Portuguese guitar is an instrument that we don't have many people who know how to play in this area”, she stressed. “We need more musicians who know how to play Portuguese guitar and beyond, also viola da terra, which is a traditional instrument of our culture”, she stressed.
Marisa Silva Rocha - Alfama
In addition to being necessary to have more guitarists to teach how to play, the artist considered that it will be important to encourage younger people who like instruments to try out Portuguese guitar.
“I think there will be more music and participants, but it will take a few years. Maybe in 10 or 20 years we can see more musicians and more fado”, she said.
“We have a new generation of people who want to get more involved in our community, whether in fado, folklore groups or carnival dances,” said the fado singer. "I see that people miss this and want to do their part."
It was in this context that Marisa Silva Rocha launched in January with PAMA Media a weekly radio program, “AmáConversa”, where she speaks with personalities of Portuguese culture and plays not only fado, but also contemporary Portuguese music.
“I see that our people in California and the United States don't know much about Portugal. They know the songs of the past, but they don't know what the Portuguese are listening to now”, explained the artist.
“I'm trying to show people what our land has got. In many things Portugal is ahead of America”, she considered. "I'm trying to make a greater connection between the community here and the community there."
Preparing a second single by the end of the year, Marisa Silva Rocha intends to record an album with traditional fados and some original fados, which will be written by Falicia Arruda, with whom she is working.
“My goal is not just to sing for the community”, she shared. "I want to sing for Portugal and other countries", she concluded.