Mariza is a former Best Artist winner, snagging the title in the 2016 Songlines Music Awards. She is perhaps an obvious choice, but an irresistible and overwhelming one. After the pop crossover sounds of 2015’s Mundo, the queen of Portuguese fado returned to a more traditional style in 2018 on her self-titled seventh studio album. At 45 her voice has ripened into a more expressive and seductive instrument; when asked about this, Mariza herself suggested that she has added what the Portuguese call ‘um grao’ (a grain) to add a greater emotional heft to her singing. The production by Javier Limón is immaculate, the Portuguese guitars ring with pin-dropping clarity, and whether she’s singing upbeat fado or exquisitely melancholic ballads, the choice of songs is flawless. She also sings her own lyrics for the first time on ‘Oração’, a gentle prayer about seeking one’s way in darkness and looking for the light. No longer the young pretender to the crown once held by the late, great Amália Rodrigues, Mariza is now at the height of her powers – not just the finest fado singer of them all but one of the world’s great divas. Even if you don’t understand a word of Portuguese, this is soul-baring singing at its most thrilling.