Terezinha Araújo

Terezinha Araújo started her musical career as a little girl. She sang mornas and coladeiras in a theatre group at primary school in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, where her parent lived in Exile. The group was founded in the midst of a war of liberation to increase awareness of the cultural identity of the people of Guinea Bissau and the Cape Verdean Islands who were colonized by Portugal.

When she appeared at the Palácio do Povo in Conakry she was discovered by Miriam Makeba, who was also in exile and who thereafter took care of Terezinha´s musical education.At an appearance in Dakar 1972 she discovered for the first time which emotions her voice was able to arouse when she had to sing Jota Monte´s Morna "Fidjo Maguado" four times in a row. The audience was literally moved to tears. After this appearance she accompanied the troupe through Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania and prepared herself for the 10th International Festival of Youth, which took place in Berlin in 1973. There Terezinha won an honour for being the youngest singer in the history of the festival. She appeared at a special event at Miriam Makeba's side and the show was televised live in all Socialist countries. In September in the same year she went to Yvanavo, a city 300 km from Moscow, where she attended an international boarding school. Her music teacher recognized her talent immediately and supported her. She took part in numerous cultural projects and also performed in the biggest venue in Moscow, the Hotel Russia.

In 1975 she went back to the Cape Verde Islands for the first time. The country won its independence in the same year. There she met her master Val, who asked her to sing "Fidjo Maguado" on which she was accompanied by the composer Jota Monte himself.

In Yvanavo and later in Moscow, where she studied teaching, Terezinha was more and more involved in cultural activities. She founded and lead the African ballet, was voted principal among the students from the Cape Verdean Islands and Guinea Bissau, took part in numerous competitions at which her talent was regularly lauded, until she finally returned to the Cape Verdean Islands in 1985 to take charge of the pedagogical coordination of pre-school and kindergarten for the Ministry for Education and Culture. In that year she made her first solo appearance in the Cap Verdean capital Praia and represented the country at the Festival Of Youth in North Korea.

At the beginning of the 90s Terezinha became a founding member of the cultural union Simentera and lead singer of the group of the same name, whose debut album "Raíz" was released in 1992. In between time she recorded four CDs with her band and went on world tours every year. Over The last ten years she appeared in all European countries, the USA (Performing Arts Center, New Jersey) and in Brazil at Paulinho da Viola's side. She gained experience of performing at the biggest European Festivals. At the famous Paris Olympia in Paris the band was received with a standing ovation.

Today Terezinha Araújo dedicates herself to a repertoire from Lusophone Africa, in which the legendary "morabeza" (friendliness) of the inhabitants and the world famous "sodade" play a large part. Songs from Angola and ngumbe rhythms from Guinea Bissau, which are about war and the struggle for liberation, but also about love, have a special place for Terezinha Araújo. With a highly transparent and emotional voice she sings the mornas of her dad, José Araújo, and her aunt, Fátima Araújo Estrêla, as well as sembas and rebita angolanas of her uncle Eleutério and Carlos Sanches. Of course she also honours the man who was the undisputed leader of the uprising for many years, Amilcar Cabral, by interpreting one of his compositions on which she is accompanied by traditional Cape Verdean guitars, cavaquinho (Ukulele) and percussion. Simentera member Kim Bettencourt is responsible for the sensitive arrangements. Together they present songs from a land, in which you sometimes have to sit down for a while in order to cry and draw new strength to continue dancing and singing, despite all adversity!


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