Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: Mariza

Mariza – Photo by Carlos Ramos

Mariza began singing Fado as a child, before she could read. Her father sketched out little cartoon stories to help her remember the lyrics. At the age of five, she would join in the spontaneous singing at her parents’ restaurant in Mouraria, one of Lisbon’s most traditional neighborhoods.

Mariza was born in Mozambique, but her family moved to Portugal when she was a baby, giving her plenty of time to get immersed directly in the Fado tavernas (Fado houses) where singing is part of everyday life. She told the BBC, “Half of me is very, very Portuguese and the other half is very, very African.”

At the age of twenty-six, Mariza released her first CD, Fado Em Mim, the recording presents six classic Fados and six original compositions, all of them tugging listeners at the heart and soul.

Fado is Portugal’s passionate and bittersweet musical gift to the world, equivalent to Blues or Rebetika or Tango or Flamenco. “They all stand on emotions,” said Mariza. “Fado is an emotional kind of music full of passion, sorrow, jealousy, grief, and often satire.”

Mariza had her first major national exposure in 1999 as one of the guest performers in Tribute Concerts for Amália Rodrigues in the Coliseums of Lisbon and Oporto. Both performances were broadcast live on one of Portugal’s Network TV channels. Mariza’s performances immediately sparked interest in the public and in the national media. In 2000, she received the award, “Voice of Fado,” presented by Central FM (Portugal’s national radio station). She was invited to “introduce” Fado to rock icon Sting by a highly rated national television show Hermansic.

Mariza walks the fine line necessary to both genuinely carry the tradition and bring it freshness for today. Her performance style captures the raw emotion that characterizes the genre, but with her own personal twist.

When Mariza recorded Transparente, her latest studio album, she recruited Brazilian Jaques Morelenbaum to help her create the sonority she wanted. “He gave me a more velvet, more intimate, more romantic sound,” Mariza dreamily recalls.


We recorded the Transparente album in Brazil,” explains Mariza. “I am looking for fado from a different perspective, because I now travel a lot. One month I am at the Sidney Opera House, another month I am in China or Thailand. I am starting to find that this music that belongs to Lisbon, to Portuguese people, is starting to feel more and more universal. It speaks about universal feelings. Each country interprets it in its own way. We are crossing cultural lines now. And I feel so proud about it.”

When Lisbon’s mayor invited Mariza to perform for Lisbon in this way, she brought Morelenbaum in once again for the arrangements and conducting duties. One a rainy summer evening in 2005, around 25,000 people gathered at the Tower of Belem’s gardens in Lisbon to hear Mariza.

The 500 year-old Tower of Belem sits at the mouth of the River Tagus. The Tower of Belem looks in one direction onto the river and towards the sea, the departure point for Portugal’s famous sailors. In the other direction it looks over the city of Lisbon. Looking forward while looking back.

At the gardens, Mariza performed favorite songs from her young-but-full career with a full orchestra, the Sinfonietta de Lisboa, conducted by Jaques Morelenbaum. The magical night is captured on Concerto em Lisboa, released on CD with a bonus DVD documentary. Concerto em Lisboa went platinum in Portugal for both CD and DVD version.

Having the river and the Tower, the place where the boats left to make their discoveries in the 16th Century; going to India and Africa. Being in that place, singing fado was very emblematic that night,” says Mariza. “Even if I didn’t want to think about it, the sea was so near, and all these things came to mind that night. I never thought a girl with roots in Africa would have all that!

I was not expecting so many different ages, from a younger generation, to grandmothers with grandchildren. There were traditional people from my neighborhood and people coming from the north and the south, even from Spain!” exclaims Mariza. “When I saw the images, showing my Lisbon people, and not only people from Lisbon, but a very eclectic audience, all clapping and singing along, I realized what a beautiful night it was. It was not a typical fado audience. I was so surprised. I loved it.”

Outside interest in Mariza abounds, from her sell-out concert at the 6,000-seat Royal Albert Hall in London, to her BBC World Music Award, and being picked by Germany’s ‘100 most important women in Europe.’ She performed a duet with Sting for the Athens Olympics album, and became a UNICEF Ambassador.

In 2007 Mariza took the symphonic show on the road. “Sometimes when you talk about classical music, people have a cold approach and they get a little bit distant,” Mariza says. “But with John Mauceri, it was amazing. He had a very, very special way of treating the music. Always explaining it to the audience and saying funny things. It was unbelievable! I learned from him that even if you have a light approach, it doesn’t mean you are not respecting the music.”

Mariza has also been getting her feet wet in the film world. The BBC released a documentary in 2007 titled Mariza and the Story of Fado, compellingly profiling both the artist and the genre. There will be a special limited edition version of the Concerto em Lisboa album that includes the full BBC documentary. And Mariza played the lead role in a new film called Fado by Carlos Saura, whose past works include the Oscar-nominated Tango and Flamenco, giving fans a chance to see her in an acting role.

In 2007 prominent architect Frank Gehry designed a set for a performance by Portuguese fado singer Mariza later this year. Gehry, renowned for his stunning and daring urban visions, agreed to create a taverna-inspired stage for Mariza’s performance in October at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Gehry said he met Mariza several years ago in Lisbon and was enamored by fado, Portuguese folk music that often has mournful lyrics. “It’s a very intimate setting and there is a dark ambiance,” said Mariza. “It’s a huge privilege to have my own taverna directed by Mr. Gehry.”

Her international acknowledgement is notable: in 2003 she won the BBC Radio 3 Award For World Music, in the European category. She was the first Portuguese artist ever nominated for the GRAMMY awards in the category of Best Folk Album.


Fado Em Mim (World Connection, 2001)
Ao Vivo Na Culturgest ‎(2002)
Fado Curvo (EMI, 2003)
Fado Curvo / Ao vivo em Espanha ‎(EMI-Valentim De Carvalho, 2004)
Ao Vivo No Casino ‎(Corda Seca, 2004)
Transparente (EMI, 2005)
Concerto Em Lisboa (EMI Music Portugal, 2006)
Terra (EMI Music Portugal, 2008)
Fado Tradicional (EMI Music Portugal, 2010)
Live at Philharmonie im Gasteig in Munich ‎(2013)
Mundo (Warner Music Portugal, 2015)
Mariza (Warner Music Portugal, 2018)


Live in London

Live 8 at Eden – Africa Calling (Real World/Rhino, 2005)


Artist Profiles: Edwin Bonilla

Edwin Bonilla

Edwin Bonilla was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico and transplanted to Elizabeth, New Jersey, at the age of four. Aside from the Puerto Rican “jibaro,” or countryside music, his parents often played at home, he listened to Motown, R&B, and rock during his preteen years. By the time he was 11 years of age, Edwin began to pay more attention to the music of New York figures such as Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri, Willie Colón and the rest of the emerging Salsa groups. The process of self-learning timbales started at 13 years of age. Within a year, he was already playing professionally with a trio that mostly played “jibaro” music in Elizabeth, which eventually led to work with Salsa bands.

At 15 years of age Edwin started playing with a local band called Orquesta Sonica that featured two youngsters who are well know today, Jimmy Bosch on trombone and Herman Oliveras on vocals. While playing with several groups, Edwin studied at the Drummers Collective in New York.

In 1981, he joined the Charanga Casino that was extremely popular throughout America’s Northeast and Miami during the early 1980’s. The experiences in the Charanga Casino led to further learning of Cuban music as he was exposed to Afro-Cuban rhythms early on during the frequent. By then, Edwin was into Cuban septets, traditional and “tipico” ensembles.

While performing with the Charanga Casino, he caught the eye of Hansel Martinez who invited him to join him and Raul, whereupon Edwin moved to Miami in 1987.

As a percussionist, Edwin is familiar with rhythmic patterns from all over the world. His professional experiences include performances and recordings in Jazz, Rock, Soca, Pop, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Indian and Brazilian music. He has participated in more than 1000 recordings during the last 12 years. He has done work for videos, movie scores and jingles. In 1999, “Edwin y su Son” was his first solo release. In March 2002 Edwin released “Soy la Candela.”

He has one of the most impressive resumes in the music industry. He has worked for such distinguished and popular figures as Lenny Kravitz, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Arturo Sandoval, N’Sync, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Madonna, Dave Grusin, Gloria Estefan, Patty Labelle, Quincy Jones, Nestor Torres, Giovanni Hidalgo, Gypsy Kings and Stevie Wonder among a host of others.


Edwin y Su Son (SAR Productions, 1999)
Soy La Candela (SAR Records, 2002)
Pa’ La Calle (SAR Records, 2004)
Tirando Pa’ Charanga (SAR Records, 2006)
Homenaje A Los Rumberos (Sonic Projects Records, 2010)
Back To Basics (Sonic Projects Records, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Adalberto Santiago

Adalberto Santiago

Born in Ciales, Puerto Rico, Adalberto Santiago was influenced and inspired by the vocal styles of Beny Moré, Chapottin, Pancho Alonso and Miguelito Cuni. These free-style singers helped him form a method of singing that has turned him into one of the most popular vocalists of Latin music.

He became the lead vocalist for Ray Barretto?s Orchestra in 1966 and captivated audiences with a string of hits. He was once nicknamed The Puerto Rican Elvis Presley.

In addition to his solo albums, Adalberto Santiago made numerous recordings with With Chuito Velez, Ray Barretto, Típica 73, Los Kimbos and The Fania All Stars


Adalberto (Fania Records, 1977)
Adalberto Santiago Featuring Popeye El Marino (Fania Records, 1979)
Feliz Me Siento (Fania Records, 1980)
Adalberto Santiago (Fania Records, 1981)
Calidad (Fania Records, 1982)
Cosas del Alma (WS Latino, 1984)
Más Sabroso (Budda Records, 1985)
Fania Dancing Club Collection #7 (Fania Records, 1985
Sex Symbol (Mayor Music, 1989)
Hay Algo En Ella (JV Music, 1991)
Romantico y Salsero, Exitos (La Ola Musical, 2009)
Exitos (Edenways Records, 2010)


Artist Profiles: El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico

El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico

El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico began after the breakup of the Combo de Rafael Cortijo in 1962. At the time, several former members met with Rafael Alvarez Guedes, a business manager, with the purpose of forming amusical group that would accompany Dominican singer Joséito Mateo in a recording for the Gema label. The album, titled Meneame los mangos (Shake my mangos), featured Rafael Ithier, Eddie Pérez, Hector Santos, Kito Velez, Martin Quiñones, Miguel Cruz and Roberto Rohena. The group, baptized then by Alvarez Guedes as El Gran Combo, met again to set the foundation of what would be one of the most prestigious nationally and internationally.

After a stormy beginning, the quality of their musicians opened the doors to WIAC radio, where they started a show together with Fidel Cabrera. Little by little, they became better known in Puerto Rican homes. On May 26 of they that year they made their first public presentation at the Bayamón Rock and Roll club. Later they moved over to WKAQ, where the group had its TV debut on “La Taberna India (The Indian Tavern). They later played at La Concha Hotel, in a tribute to Rafael Cortijo.

After that, singer Chiqui Rivera left the group and Sammy Ayala recommended a young man from Trastallares named Junior Montañez as a replacement. During his premiere, at WKAQ, the singer performed a number that impressed several of those who were present, including Felipe “LaVoz” Rodríguez, who told him that there were too many ‘Juniors’ in the business and that he should change the name for “Andy.” Since then,and for the next 15 years, Andy Montañez, became a legendary figure in Latin American music. After that, Roberto Rohena returned and stayed with the Combo for seven years, before leaving permanently to create his Apolo Sound.

Two days before the murder of President John F. Kennedy, the group’s first album, Acángana, came out. The island was in mourning and the producers of the album, the brothers Alvarez Guedes, stopped the distribution in Puerto Rico and sent the recording to Panama, Venezuela and Mexico, where it got considerable airplay. Afterwards, it arrived to New York and finally to Puerto Rico, where it reached gold status.

The following year, El Combo performed in New York City forthe first time. There, they had a great success at the top dance halls,including the Palladium Ball Room, the Bronx Casino, the Manhattan Center and The Caborrojeño. From there, other doors were opened in Curacao, Panama, Santo Domingo, Venezuela, Colombia and the rest of the American continent, where their songs reached the top of the charts. During that time the Combo acquired so many fans, that soon they were given an exclusive contract with the Puerto Rican TV show “El Show de las 12,” produced by Paquito Cordero.

The excess of publicity through the TV screen shrank the demand for the group at dance halls and public and private celebrations,because the fans enjoyed their music daily from their arm chairs. The album sales declined and so did the bookings. After recording LPs, in 1967 the group won its second “gold album” for Boogaloo con el Gran Combo.

Two years later, the group’s stability was at stake. Several musicians left and joined the ensemble. Roberto Rohena and Elias Lopes left el Gran Combo. They were replaced by Baby Serrano and Edwin Cortés. Later, Hector Santos and Victor Pérez also left, and they were replaced by José Duchesne and Mike Torres. Mike left and was eventually replaced by Tommy Sánchez. Soon after, Edwin Cortés left and Gerardo Cruz joined the group, staying for ten years. In spite of the difficulties, the members were able to get along and”Los mulatos del sabor” became popular again.

The decade of the 1970s began with other changes. Milton Correa left and Miguel Marrero joined El Gran Combo. Mike Ramos joined the band and Mike Torres left. He was replaced by Alfredo (Taty) Maldonado. In spite of the renovation, the orchestra continued winning followers and that year they received yet again the “Momo de Oro, the top Venezuelan award, for best international orchestra. The group had achieved international fame.

Representatives of several record labels entered into conversations with El Gran Combo, but they did not prosper. Gema did not renew their contract. Without a record company the orphaned group took the difficult decision of producing its own albums. To do this, Andy had to mortgage his home for $7.000 payable in 30 days. That’s how the EGC label was born. Its first release was Estamos primeros, El Gran Combo (We Are first, the Gran Combo).

In 1971 the combo added the trombone, skillfully played by Epifanio (Fanny) Ceballo, who remained with the group until he died of cancer in 1991. The first release with the new sound was De punta a punta. It included the classics “Don Goyo,” “Achilipu” and “Le dicen papá.”The following year Record World Magazine gave them the award for “El Combodel Año” (Combo of the Year) and they also won the Gold Album Festival in Miami. A little later, singer Pellin Rodríguez left to pursue solo projects. Hewas replaced by Marcos Montañez, Andy’s brother. Marcos stayed with the group for about six months, until he was replaced by sonero Charlie Aponte.

One of the group’s founders, bassist Miguel Cruz left in1975 due to health reasons. He was replaced by Fernando Pérez. The following year, El Gran Combo’s members were declared “Honorary Citizens of New Orleans”and in 1977 they won the Presidential Cup of Venezuela for best international musical group. Sadly, that year other members left. Martin Quiñones retired and Andy Montañez received an offer to sing with Dimension Latina in Venezuela.Substituting Andy was difficult, but they found the right voice in the talented Jerry Rivas.

Many doubted the new singers, but the doubts soon vanished with the recording of “El Gran Combo en Las Vegas,” winner of a gold album in 1978.

The decade closed with other important rewards, including an acknowledgment from the Festival of Bomba and Plena of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. The new decade began with yet another gold album, “Aqui no se sienta nadie” (No One Sits Down Here); as well as a successful trip to Peru. The following year El Gran Combo received the Calendario de Plata (Silver Calendar) in Mexico, a traditionally difficult market to conquer.

Upon turning 20 years old, El Gran Combo received multiple national and international recognition, including “El Congo de Oro”from Colombia, a Resolution of the Puerto Rican Senate and another from the town of Dorado, as well as a Paoli Prize. Two years later El Gran Combo took its music c to the cold lands from Alaska, where they lit the atmosphere with the heat of their rhythm. They celebrated the visit with Breaking the Ice – El Gran Combo en Alaska, nominated for a Grammy. That year they won another Paoli Prize and the radio station Z-93 dedicated its First National Salsa Day to Rafael Ithier. By then,  El Gran Combo had conquered countries like England,Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Argentina, Venezuela, Japan and the United States.

In 1982 came in a historical concert in the Madison Square Garden, where they celebrated their Silver Anniversary in front of a packed audience that intoned standing “Happy Birthday.” Other accolades followed: “The Guayaquil Luminoso” from Ecuador, the “Premio Aplausos a la Mejor Orquesta,” a Resolution by the Puerto Rican House of Representatives, another by the town of Bayamon and a proclaim by the town ofJuncos, among others. Five years later El Gran Combo celebrated its 30th anniversary with a series of festivities that included a softball game with current and legendary Major League baseball stars as well as guest artists like Victor Pellot Power, Rubén Sierra and Gilberto Santa Rosa.

The tributes continued in Madrid (Spain), where they held a big celebration and got wide press coverage. Upon their return, the Senate of Puerto Rico honored them and passed a resolution called Embajadores de Nuestra Musica (Ambassadors of Our Music).” But the people of Puerto Rico had its biggest celebration at the Hiram Bithorn stadium in front of thousands of loyal fans who enjoyed the musical history of the “Mulattos del Sabor,”together with Andy Montañez, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Jerry Rivera, Alex D’Castro,Johnny Ventura and La Sonora Ponceña. Two months there was another tribute at the Puerto Rican convention center.

In 2006, they released Arroz con Habichuela (“Rice and Beans”) which featured three hit singles: “No Hay Manera” (“There’s No Way”), the title song, and “Si la ves por ahí”.

On August 9, 2013 founder Eddie “La Bala” Perez died.

On December 12, 2014 the lead singer Charlie Aponte retired.

On January 24, 2015 Anthony Garcia became lead singer, replacing Aponte. Later in 2015, El Gran Combo received the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.


Menéame los Mangos, el Gran Combo con Joseito Mateo (Gema Records, 1962)
El Gran Combo… de Siempre (Gema Records, 1963)
Acángana (Gema Records, 1963)
Ojos Chinos, Jala Jala (Gema Records, 1964)
El Caballo Pelotero (Gema Records, 1965)
Traigo un Tumba’o, Meneíto Me (Gema Records, 1965)
El Swing del Gran Combo con Pellín y Andy (Gema Records, 1966)
En Navidad (Gema Records, 1966)
Maldito Callo (Gema Records, 1967)
Esos Ojitos Negros (Gema Records, 1967)
Fiesta Con El Gran Combo (Gema Records, 1967)
Boleros Románticos (Gema Records, 1967)
Tú Querías Boogaloo, Toma Boogaloo (Gema Records, 1967)
Pata Pata, Jala Jala Y Boogaloo (Gema Records, 1967)
Boogaloos Con El Gran Combo (Gema Records, 1967)
Tangos (Gema Records, 1967)
Merengues (Gema Records, 1968)
Guarachas (Gema Records, 1968)
Bombas, Bombas, Bombas (Gema Records, 1968)
Los Nenes Sicodélicos (Gema Records, 1968)
Latin Power (Gema Records, 1968)
Smile, It’s El Gran Combo (Gema Records, 1968)
Este Si Que es el Gran Combo (Gema Records, 1969)
Estamos Primeros (EGC Records, 1970)
De Punta a Punta (EGC Records, 1971)
Por el Libro (EGC Records, 1972)
En Acción (EGC Records, 1973)
5 (EGC Records, 1973)
Disfrútelo Hasta el Cabo! (EGC Records, 1974)
7 (EGC Records, 1975)
Los Sorullos (EGC Records, 1975)
Mejor Que Nunca (EGC Records, 1976)
Internacional (EGC Records, 1977)
En Las Vegas (Combo Records, 1978)
¡Aquí No Se Sienta Nadie! (Combo Records, 1979)
Unity (Combo Records, 1980)
Happy Days (Combo Records, 1981)
Nuestro Aniversario (Combo Records, 1982)
20th Anniversary (Combo Records, 1982)
La Universidad de la Salsa (Combo Records, 1983)
In Alaska: Breaking The Ice (Combo Records, 1984)
Innovations (Combo Records, 1985)
Nuestra Música (Combo Records, 1985)
Y Su Pueblo (Combo Records, 1986)
25th Anniversary (Combo Records, 1987)
Romántico y Sabroso (Combo Records, 1988)
¡Ámame! (Combo Records, 1989)
Latin Up! (Combo Records, 1990)
20 Grandes Éxitos (Discos Fuentes, 1990)
Erupción (Combo Records, 1991)
¡Gracias!: 30 Años de Sabor (Combo Records, 1992)
30 Aniversario: Bailando Con el Mundo (Combo Records, 1992)
First Class International (Combo Records, 1993)
Puerto Rico: La Ruta del Sabor (Combo Records, 1994)
Para Todos los Gustos (Fonovisa Records, 1995)
The Best (Sony Discos Norte, 1995)
Por Todo lo Alto (Fonovisa Records, 1996)
16 Boleros (Discos Fuentes, 1996)
35th Anniversary: 35 Years Around The World (Combo Records, 1997)
Pasaporte Musical (Combo Records, 1998)
Nuevo Milenio: El Mismo Sabor (Combo Records, 2001)
40 Aniversario en Vivo (BMG, 2002)
Estamos Aquí…¡Y de Verdad! (Sony Discos Norte, 2004)
Arroz Con Habichuela (Sony Discos Norte, 2006)
Sin Salsa No Hay Paraíso (Sony Discos Norte, 2010)
50 Aniversario, Vol. 1 (EGC Records, 2013)
Alunizando (EGC Records, 2016)


Artist Profiles: Toque de Caixa

New traditional music from the northern Portugal, with a strong acoustic flavor. Starting from its own musical researches in “deep Portugal”, this band has developed a solid reputation in the Portuguese traditional music scene.

Toque de Caixa won the “José Afonso” Award in 1989 – Best Folk Band of the Year. The award is named after one of the best Portuguese folk-singers of all times and devoted to celebrate new achievements in the evolution of Portuguese traditional and folk music.

Miguel – guitars, viola braguesa, rajão, quatro ocarina, percussion, vocals
Machado – vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion
Albertina – accordion, concertina, keyboards, percussion
Horácio – guitar, viola braguesa and percussion
Luís Viegas – vocals, percussion
Eugénio – percussion
Tété – gaita de foles, flutes and percussion


Histórias Do Som (Numérica, 1993)
Cruzes Canhoto (Ocarina, 2009)


Artist Profiles: Songhoy Blues

Songhoy Blues

Songhoy Blues is a Malian desert blues band based in Bamako, Mali formed by Garba Touré, Aliou Touré, Oumar Touré and Nathanael Dembélé

Songhoy Blues released its debut album, Music In Exile in 2015.

The second album, Résistance, was recorded in the fall of 2016 at The Pool studio in London with producer Neil Comber (MIA, Django Django, Crystal Fighters, Declan McKenna) and also includes a guest appearance from Elf Kid.


Music in Exile (Transgressive Records, 2015)                       

Résistance (Transgressive Records, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Rodrigo Leão

Rodrigo Leão

Rodrigo Leão is one of the greatest Portuguese composers of his generation. This great Portuguese musician, founding member of the Madredeus group and key element of the Sétima Legião lineup, undertook his solo career in 1993 to explore new musical terrains.

For a long time, the trio Setima Legião was the passion of Rodrigo Leao: the constant presence of musicians who exchanged ideas and friendship became an aspect of their music that will never be dispensed with. Then came the days of Madredeus. Rodrigo Leão found in Pedro Ayres Magalhaes the ideal companion for his musical idea. Together they built one of the key groups of contemporary Portuguese music, Madredeus.

Meanwhile, in 1989, Rodrigo Leão made what can be considered his first solo work: the soundtrack for a film by the young director Manuel Mozos Um passo, outro passo e depois …

Four years later came the decisive test: the edition of the album Ave Mundi Luminar, under the name of Rodrigo Leao and Vox Ensemble. This initial album shows a new trajectory in the composition of Rodrigo Leao. He abandons the pop format to proceed through more contemporary sounds, closer to Sakamoto or Nyman, mixed with classical vocal and musical influences. Ave Mundi Luminar was produced by Antonio Pinheiro da Silva and features Francisco Ribeiro (vocals and arrangements) and Teresa Salgueiro (vocals), both from Madredeus, a group that Leão had just left.

In 1996, Rodrigo Leao directed another project with the editor Herminio Monteiro: the
The group was called Os Poetas and the disc Entre Nos e As Palabras based on a poem by the Portuguese surrealist poet Mario Cesariny. The following year he released Theatrum, his second solo album, in which he traveled to darker and disturbing territories.

Pasión is a compilation album recorded live.


With Sétima Legião

A Um Deus Desconhecido (1984)
Mar d’Outubro (1987)
De um Tempo Ausente (1989)
O Fogo (1992)
Auto de Fé (Live) (1994)
Sexto Sentido (1999)

With Madredeus

Os Dias da Madredeus (1987)
Existir (1990)
Lisboa (Live) (1992)
O Espírito da Paz (1994)
Ainda , soundtrack (1995)

With Os Poetas

Entre Nós e as Palavras (1997)

Solo albums

Ave Mundi Luminar (1993)
Mysterium, EP (1995)
Theatrum (1996)
Alma Mater (Columbia, 2000)
Pasión (Columbia, 2001)
Cinema (Columbia, 2004)
Portugal, Um Retrato Social (Sony BMG Music Portugal, 2007)
O Mundo (compilation with new material) (2006)
Portugal, um Retrato Social, soundtrack (2007)
A Mãe (2009)
Equador (Farol 2010)
A Montanha Mágica (Sony Music, 2011)
La Cage Dorée (Zazi Films, 2013)
Songs (compilation with new material) (2012)
The Butler, soundtrack (2013)
O Espírito De Um País (Ao Vivo Na Assembleia Da República) (2014)
Florestas Submersas (2015)
A Vida Secreta Das Máquinas Blitz (Uguru 2014)
O Espírito de Um País (Sony Music Portugal 2014)
O Retiro (Universal Music Portugal, 2015)
Florestas Submersas (Uguru 2015)
Life Is Long (Glitterhouse Records 2016)
100 metros, soundtrack (2017)
O Aniversário (Universal Music Portugal, 2018)
Os Portugueses (Sony Music 2018)


Artist Profiles: Ronda dos Quatro Caminhos

Ronda dos Quatro Caminhos is one of the most important groups in the Portuguese traditional folk music scene. The group was formed in the early 1980s. During this time Ronda recorded over a dozen albums and performed throughout the world.

On stage, Ronda presents a selection of Portuguese traditional songs, from the north to the south of Portugal, from the islands of Azores and Madeira.

Antonio Prata – violin & bandolim;  Carlos Barata – accordion & bandolim; Pedro Fragoso – keyboards; Pedro Pita – drum set; Mario Peniche – electric bass; and Joao Oliveira – vocals & guitar


Ronda Dos Quatro Caminhos (Orfeu, 1984)
Cantigas do Sete-Estrelo (Rádio Triunfo, 1985)
Canções Tradicionais Infantis (Transmedia, 1985)
Amores De Maio (Contradança, 1986)
Fados Velhos (Contradança, 1987)
Romarias (Ovação, 1991)
Uma Noite De Música Tradicional (Polydor, 1993)
Outras Terras (RQC, 1999)
Terra De Abrigo (Ocarina, 2003)
Canções Esquecidas (Ovação, 2005)
Ronda Dos Quatro Caminhos com a Orquestra Sinfonietta De Lisboa – Ao vivo no Grande Auditório do Centro Cultural de Belém (Ocarina, 2005)


Artist Profiles: Sara Tavares

Sara Tavares

Sara Tavares was only 16 years old, when she won two of Portugal’s most prestigious TV music contests. Born out of a second generation Cape Verdean immigrants, Sara grew up between two cultures.

Initially known as a singer and composer of Gospel, Soul and Funk, she gradually incorporated more of her African music in her compositions. In 1994, she recorded her first album Sara Tavares & Shout, released in 1996. To present the album she performed all over Portugal, Cape Verde, and France.

Her second album Mi Ma Bô, produced by Lokua Kanza, reached gold in Portugal. The album was a mix of African rhythms and melodic pop songs.

By the end of 1998, Sara Tavares decided to start working on her new album. To achieve that, she stopped performing, and went through a long period of introspection to search for her real roots and influences.

As a result of such profound search, Mi Ma Bô was born. Mi Ma Bô, which translated from the criolo (language from Cape Verde) means “Me and You”, is an intimate album, wherein Sara’s voice links all the emotions expressed in its lyrics and melodies.

In this record, Sara Tavares establishes herself not only as a huge musical talent, but also as a composer and co-producer, which assures us of her maturity, her talent and of the long career she has in front of her.

Mi Ma Bô was produced by Lokua Kanza, a musician from Congo, living in Paris. He has previously worked with other African artists such as Ray Lema, Manu Dibango, Papa Wemba, Miriam Makeba and Youssou N’dour. Together with Sara’s co-production, the final result is a very special album, with African colours and a touch of soul, that winds up stirring the listener’s soul.

Sung in three different languages (Portuguese, Criolo and English), “Mi Ma Bô” really shows the universality of the language of music. The album reached gold status in Portugal.

In 2006, her third album, Balancê, came out on World Connection (Europe) and Times Square (North America).

Sara Tavares has become one of the leading exponents of Lisbon’s world music scene. “There is a big, big generation of Cape Verdeans and other Africans here in Lisbon, in Paris, in Boston, all over; with a kind of messed-up identity,” says Tavares. “Our generation feels very lost because there is no culture specifically for us; that talks about our reality.”

When I walk around with my friends, it’s a very, very interesting community,” Tavares explains. “We speak Portuguese slang, Angolan slang, some words in Cape Verdean Crioulo, and of course some English. In Crioulo there are already English and French words. This is because slaves from all over the world had to communicate and didn’t speak the same languages. We are a metisse culture.”

Multilingual wordplay shows up throughout Tavares’ album, and she hops across cultural references as much as she embraces any. The album title Balancê has many different meanings. The noun balan?o is used in Portuguese when music swings. Lusophone Africans use the verb form Balancê in a more general way. “When you are eating something really good you say “this food is Balancê!“? explains Tavares.

For me the song, Balancê is also about balancing yourself,” Tavares continues, “between sadness and joy; day and night; salt and sugar. It’s about balancing emotions. You are always walking a thin line and you have to keep your balance. You have to dance with that line in order to keep standing. If you stay too rigid, you will fall.”

I was in Zimbabwe a few years ago and I saw some really drunk people dancing,” Tavares chuckles. “We were watching them, and they were always almost falling and then they would catch themselves. Just like those people dancing, I also want to dance with that kind of freedom and balance.”

Through music, Tavares seeks cultural roots, along with the help of veteran African musicians in Lisbon and back in Cape Verde where she travels every year.

The whole album is like little lullabies to myself,” says Tavares. “All the messages are about self-esteem, loving yourself. About liking what is different in you. About integrating all the parts of you.”

“Bom Feeling,” whose title combines a Portuguese word with an English word that “everyone uses,” translates as “Good Feeling.” While some people look down on the Portuguese slang associated with African people in Portugal, Tavares embraces it. Tavares says she is from a “broken home” and identifies with street culture.

“Poka Terra” is influenced by Afro-Beat and semba (a style from Angola). The song’s title is an onomatopoeia for the sound a train makes. Tavares is calling on people to catch the train of consciousness and to become responsible for yourself. She sings “An alligator that sleeps will be turned into an alligator bag sold in some store.”

On “Planeta Sukri” (Sugar Planet) Tavares places a reggae style sound system on top of a traditional Cape Verdean rhythm coladeira (a style made popular by Cesaria Evora). “The poem of this song can be seen as a love poem,” says Tavares. “I am saying “Take me to a sugar planet, take me to place where there is no sadness, no cries. And this place is inside of you and me and everyone.” I mean it more in a spiritual way than a romantic way. The ballads are very much like little prayers.”

Tavares talks to the moon on “Muna Xeia” (Full Moon). The song title emerged when Tavares made a mistake and accidentally combined the English word “moon” with the Portuguese word for the same “lua.” “It’s a very feminine song with me talking to the women,” Tavares explains. “First the woman inside of me and then the women in Africa and the women in the world. I sing, “Moon go in peace, moon go in faith, walk in peace, walk in faith.””

Tavares spent time in Cape Verde working with a contemporary dance company. “You know how contemporary artists do crazy experimental stuff” she asks. “Well, they gave me the strength to experiment. If those who live in and own the culture, then we in diaspora can also experiment. As long as someone keeps the tradition. It’s a two-sided knife.”

I want to be a part of a movement like the African Americans were, like the African Brazilians were,” Tavares says. “Instead of doing the music of their ancestors, they have created this musical identity of their own. And it is now respected. It is considered whole and authentic and genuine. It will be a long time before the people from my generation do not have to choose between being African or European. I think you shouldn’t have to choose. You should just be there. Celebrate that. Be that!


Sara Tavares & Shout! (BMG Portugal, 1996)
Mi Ma Bô (RCA, 1999)
Balancê (Times Square Records, 2005)
Xinti (World Connection, 2009)
Fitxadu (Sony Music, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Terrakota


Terrakota is a Portuguese world fusion band that generates “organic music” rooted in sub-Saharan Africa, that absorbs sounds from the Sahara, the Caribbean, the West Indies, and rises above the Jamaican sun.


Terrakota (Zona Musica, 2002)
Humus Sapiens (Zona Musica, 2004)
Oba Train (Gumalaka, 2007)
World Massala (Ojo Music, 2010)
Re-Cooked Sessions (Optimus Discos, 2012)
Wontanara, EP (2015)
Oxalá (2016)