Portrait of the Portuguese jazz singer Maria Joao; shot in Portugal, France and Germany; with Mario Laghina, Trilog Gurtu, Wolfgang Muthspiel and the NDR-Radiophilharmonie Hannover.
It is said that a culture can be better understood by listening to its music than by learning its language. In Portugal this music is the fado: bittersweet, melancholic sounds that reflect the desire for something that has been lost forever. Fernando Pessoa called this sadness without a reason "leafing through the soul". Maria Joao is not a fadista - and yet her playing with tones is rooted in this tradition.
International TV distribution by Euroarts."Maria João (voice) was born in Lisbon, Portugal. She started her musical life in 1982, in the Jazz School of the Hot Club, in Lisbon, and joined the Big Band of the school in April. In the summer of the same year she began singing with her own band. During 1983 and 1984 she worked in Portugal with the Quinteto Maria Joao, and in the Portuguese TV.
The breakthrough on the Portuguese music scene was in the International Jazz Festival of Cascais in 1984, when audience and critics alike praised Maria Joao for her outstanding performance. A promotion tour through West Germany in April and May 1985, included a radio concert as well as a TV production with German TV - ZDF. In July she won the first prize for the best group at the competition at the International Jazz Festival of San Sebastian. Concerts in Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Holland, Austria, Germany and Switzerland followed.
In 1987 Maria João began to work with the German saxophone player Christof Lauer, in April she started to sing with the Japanese piano player Aki Takase. In 1989 the Duo played several Festivals with Nils Henning Örsted-Pedersen and Miroslav Vitous, she also began her colaboration with David Friedman and Charlie Mariano.
With "Cal Viva" Maria João presents a complete band from Portugal on her tour in November 91 which is based more than her other projects in the traditional music of Portugal. With this band she published a new CD on Enja Records during the fall 91.
Since 1992 Maria João also worked with Lauren Newton (Tage neuer Musik Essen 1991 / Big Band Meeting München 1992) and in Trio with Christof Lauer and the piano players Bobo Stenson and Mario Laginha (Jazzfestivals Madrid, Ansbach, Delmenhorst, Vocaltage Graz all 1992). She was invited guest during the Olympic games in Barcelona in August 1992.
In April �94 she did an important concert during the Festival in Lisbon with Trilok Gurtu, Christof Lauer and Mario Laginha which was recorded by the Portugues Television. In the fall (1994) she signed a five-years-contract for the Label Verve. Her Duo record with Mario Laginha for that label under the title Danças was out worldwide April �95, her second album is recorded during the fall 95 with Dino Saluzzi, Manu Katché, Ralph Towner and her steady partner Mario Laginha (out spring �96). As a result of all, Maria João and Mario Laginha played the International Festivals of Montreux, Den Hague, Malaga and Leipzig in 1995.
New Verve recording called Fabula in summer 96 with Dino Saluzzi, Ralph Towner, Manu Katché, Kai Eckhardt, Mario Laginha a.o, which was presented during the Festivals of Berlin, Rome, Leverkusen, Lisbon, Strasbourg in November 96." (Biography courtesy of Uli Fild Concertbüro)
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