Mariza is recognised as one of the most talented world music performers and is celebrated as one of the great ambassadors of Portuguese culture. She has received numerous Portuguese and international awards, such as the 2003 BBC Award for World Music, Best European Act Award, the 2001 Most Outstanding Performance Award (Canada) and the 2004 European Border Breakers Award (sponsored by the EU). Her records "Fado em mim" (2001) and "Fado Curvo" (2003) are thorough investigations of Portuguese poetry. These records have achieved an extraordinary international success and contribute to the global awareness of the Portuguese language and Portuguese heritage.
Mariza's words on Hans Christian Andersen:
Hans Christian Andersen is part of the loving memories of my childhood, from a time when my dreams were embraced by the magic of his storytelling.
His fabulous stories, full of imagination and humour, sent me on many a wonderful journey into the Romanticist realm of his storytelling. Hans Christian Andersen was my childhood companion, and fairytales such as "The Little Mermaid", "The Steadfast Tin Solider" and "The Ugly Duckling" were among the thrills of my childhood. His literary compositions, which are stooped in everyday living, offer good guidance on how to conduct your life.
The intensity of his characters, the amazing universe instilled with straightforward everyday love still lingers in my memory. Hans Christian Andersen empowers us with his boundless devotion to the young and those who are disenfranchised. His preoccupation with human nature and the inner qualities we posses is always apparent in his stories. It is quite interesting to see that his fairytales are just as relevant and cherished today as ever among the children of the world, who gain important insight that holds value in their further development. He is seen as "the father of children's literature", and his works, which are also appreciated by adults, are a true source of inspiration in regards to human interaction.
I send my heartfelt thanks to the Hans Christian Andersen Foundation and the Danish Embassy in Portugal for my appointment as goodwill ambassador in relation to the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary. It is a great honour for me, as representative of my country, to be granted the opportunity to take part in this tribute and the many events set to take place during this grand commemoration.