Catarina comes from Barreiro, Portugal, and since a young child she was exposed to all genres of music, more specifically jazz and funk, gospel, and also traditional music from Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, and Brazil. She grew up in a neighbourhood where Portuguese, Angolans and Cape Verdeans lived alongside and share their lives. When a teenager, she started writing her first songs. In 1998 she was the lead singer and co-composer in her first band, "Edworld", which fused jazz and pop music. At the same time she studied Voice at Lisbon's Conservatory of Music and Jazz Performance at Luis Villas-Boas Jazz School, where she was invited to teach Voice and Improvisation, as well as adjunct-conducting the school's Jazz Vocal Group. She sang in various formations as a jazz singer, and started at that time fusing Brazilian and Angolan music in her repertoire. In search of more musical challenges and knowledge she comes to New York, where she completed a BFA in Jazz Performance, graduating Suma Cum Laude, and studied with John Pattittuci, Janet Steele, Jonathan Pieslak, Sheila Jordan, Paquito de Rivera, Mike Holober, Neil Clark, Ed Simon, Duduka da Fonseca and others. She also studied Orchestration with composer Daniel Ott, at the Juilliard School and performs with the Juilliard Choral Union in important venues such as Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center.She is a Kaye Scholar from 2004 to 2006, and wins several scholarships from the Music Department of the City College for her musicianship. Catarina has been working as a singer, percussionist and composer in New York City since 2003, and is an African and Afro-Brazilian music researcher. The strong connections between this culture, Portuguese, Angolan, and Cape Verde an cultures made her understand herself deeply, and all these experiences made her know exactly how to express a unique and new sound, that incorporates the expression a Portuguese-Afro-Brazilian world of rhythms and melodies that are always in eternal exchange, with a contemporary approach. She studies percussion with Ze Mauricio (NY Choro Ensemble), Cafe (Djavan).
Her experience as a musician in New York goes from jazz to Brazilian music, and also Puerto-Rican and Cuban music. Between 2005 and 2007 she is the lead vocalist of Nation Beat, a band that plays a blend of North Eastern Brazilian rhythms such as Maracatu, Coco, Baiao, with the New Orleans Second Line, and funk. It's with Nation Beat that Catarina travels to Brazil in 2006 to record the band's debut cd, "Maracatuniversal", in collaboration with the Maracatu Nation Estrela Brilhante, and also New York based musicians, like Frank London (The Klezmatics), and Rob Curto (Lila Downs). In this band she works as an arranger, lyricist, and percussionist, and it's one of the tracks that Catarina co-writes with the band leader, Scott Kettner, "Old Wooden Chair", that wins first place in World Music in Rolling Stone Brazil. With Nation Beat she travelled the U.S.A., and plays in great New York venues such as Blue Note, Joes Pub, Makor, The Stone (John Zorn), Barbes, SOB'S, Drom, etc. in February of 2007 she performs at Festival Porto Musical, in Recife, and at Festival Nova Consciencia, in Campina Grande, Paraiba, Brazil. It's in Recife that Catarina builds bridges of friendship and music work with important traditional music Masters such as Dona Duda Cirandeira, Mestre Nana (Samba Galeria do Ritmo), Dona Aurinha do Coco, Mestre Salustiano (Casa da Rabeca), Cila do Coco, Siba Veloso (Siba e a Fuloresta, Mestre Ambrosio), Jorge Martins (School of Percussion and NGO Corpos Percussivos).
Other collaborations in New York include work with Montego Joe, Carol Lester and the World Women, Arthur Dutra and Timbatu, Cuban pianist and flutist Oriente Lopez (Gonzalo Rubalcaba), Juan Usera and La Tribu, and Los Pleneros de la 21 (Puerto Rican traditional music), Eduardo Nazarian and Quizomba, Billy Newman and Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble, and she is a soloist at Pregones Theatre Music Ensemble, directed by Desmar Guevara. In Lisbon she works regularly with Miroca Paris (Cesaria Evora), Jon Luz, Paulo Temeroso, Marco Santos, with her own band and her side Project, Tambor de Tres, with Mick Trovoada (Angola) e Oswaldo Santos (Grupo Tempo, Sao Tome).
Catarina has traveled the U.S. Brazil and Portugal performing, and also doing Master classes at a University level, at Syracuse University and University of Florida. Her beautiful voice and presence have been acclaimed at the Avery Fisher Hall at The Lincoln Center (New York), Joe's Pub (NY), Cornelia St Cafe (NY), Tonic, The Stone, Sweet Rhythm, Barbes, Pregones Theatre, CUNY Jazz Festival, The United Nations Church Center, Bomplenazo at Hostos Community College, The Harbour Conservatory for The Performing Arts, Enzo's Jazz, Black Repertory Theatre (Rhode Island), The University of Florida Performance Center, The Georgia Theatre, (Athens, Georgia), Nectars (Vermont), Porto Musical (Brazil), Livraria Cultura's Auditorium, Hot Clube de Portugal (Lisboa), Teatro S. Luiz, Auditorio Jose Figueiredo, RDP Africa's Performance Center, etc.
Catarina works as a Teaching Artist for Young Audiences NY, Third Street Music School Settlement, and The Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts, teaching Vocal Instruction (Individual and Ensembles), Percussion, Composition, Afro-Brazilian Percussion, and for Bergen Academy of Music, as Vocal Instructor. Most of work is based in NY Public Schools, mainly in the poor neighbourhoods. She also works with Syracuse University (NY) and University of Florida.
In her debut cd, "No Balanco do Mar", she is the composer and lead vocalist, in a blend of Portuguese, North East Brazilian, Cape Verdean and Angolan rhythms. In 2009 she does the CD Release in New York, and in Lisbon, and she is invited to perform at Festival CCB Fora de Si.
Her debut record, "No Balanco do Mar", produced by Eduardo Nazarian and herself, was released in USA in June 2009, with her own compositions, and includes great musicians from Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique and Brazil, such as Miroca Paris (Cesaria Evora), Rolando Semedo, Costa Neto (Sara Tavares), Vaisse (Lura), Mick Trovoada (Sara Tavares, Buraka Som Sistema), Mucio Sa, Nancy Vieira, Eduardo Nazarian, Alfredo Bello (Projeto Cru), Bina Coquet and Bruno Buarque (Ceu, Barbatuques). "No Balanco do Mar" is a beautiful record on which Catarina proves she is a very talented singer/song writer. Her compositions are the result of her experiences as a musician, and fuse naturally different accents and languages, from Cape Verdean Creole to Portuguese. She is an acclaimed performer, and her soft and rich tone is at times strong and powerful, or calm and serene. In an honest and innovative way she is an important element of a new generation of musicians and composers seeking new approaches to traditional styles of music.