AMÉLIA MUGE – bio
Amélia Muge started singing and composing while studying piano, guitar and music education in Mozambique where she was born. She also studied History, communication and training for development in the University of Maputo, as well as music for animation, design, drawing and audio-visual arts in Portugal where she moved in 1984.
She has participated in projects related to music, poetry, dance, theatre, animation, multimedia, visual arts, training for local development, and also written and drawn books for children. She has worked with musicians such as José Mário Branco, Fausto, Júlio Pereira (Portugal); Amancio Prada, Ester Formosa, Camerata Meiga (Spain); Elena Ledda, Lucilla Galeazzi, Riccardo Tesi (Italy); and Pirin Folk Ensemble (Bulgaria). She has composed for other artists such as Mísia, Ana Moura, Cristina Branco, Camané, Pedro Moutinho, Gaiteiros de Lisboa, Mafalda Arnauth, Ana Laíns, and produced other artists’ discs.
Múgica, her first solo album, was released in 1992, followed by Todos os Dias two years later. The latter was included in the “100 best Portuguese music albums ever” by the Público newspaper; she was also nominated for the Blitz review prizes as best female singer. Around that time she started directing and adapting TV cartoon soundtracks into Portuguese – a work that lasted for almost ten years.
She was awarded the Zeca Afonso Prize twice: in 1995 for Maio Maduro Maio, dedicated to Zeca’s work and presented together with J.M. Branco and João Afonso, and for her new disc, Taco a Taco, in 1998. That year she also collaborated in Novas Vos Trago, where traditional romances were recreated, in Terras de Canto with E. Ledda and L. Galeazzi, and in As vozes embarcam with the Pirin Bulgarian Voices in the Lisbon Expo ’98. In 2002 she released A Monte in Portugal and Germany.
Her children’s play O Dono do Nada was staged in Sintra in 2003 and three years later in Lisbon. Her album Não Sou Daqui was released in 2007, followed by the disc-book Uma Autora, 202 Canções – as many as her songs registered in the Society of Portuguese Authors (SPA) in 2009. The next year she was invited by the Guimarães European Capital of Culture 2012 to direct the vocal group Outra Voz, while in 2011 she was honoured as one of the most important fado lyricists and composers by SPA.
Working with Michales Loukovikas, she adapted into Portuguese his book-disc The Gold in the Sky (O Ouro do Céu), based on Ares Alexandrou’s poetry, and published in Portugal in 2011. This partnership continued with Periplus / deambulações luso-gregas, released in February 2012, featuring music and poetry from Portugal and Hellas, with Hélia Correia, Eleni Tsaligopoulou and Outra Voz as special guests. Its international edition, Periplus / Luso-Hellenic Wanderings, was released in Greece in October. In the meantime, Amélia participated in the production of Ruelles in France, where children interacted with guest artists from Lusophone countries and sang their songs.
Her next work Amélia com versos de Amália, based on Amália Rodrigues‘ verses, was released immediately after her collaboration with Kronos Quartet in their Lisbon concert in November 2014. It was presented in Culturgest in January 2015, and rated as the best album of 2014 in Portugal (Expresso and Público).
Amélia Muge and Michales Loukovikas’ latest project, ARCHiPELAGOS / Passages, issued in November 2017, was premiered at the Sãο Luiz Theatre, Lisbon, with excellent reviews in the press. In Greece, it was presented at Ianos, Athens, in May 2018, with equal reception. The voyage goes on, with stops at several other places in Portugal, including Madeira, in Paris, France, and – who knows? – maybe elsewhere in Greece, as well.
- ● With Friedrich Hölderlin’s archipelago (i.e. the Aegean) as a starting point, and deeply moved with Euripides’ tragedy Orestes (408 BCE), we voyage to Syria to listen to an ancient hymn (1400 BCE) as a lullaby of… awakening, or as a lament of the Sorceress Sea about the refugees’ drama. Crossing the Mediterranean and the Pillars of Heracles, we sail around Macaronesia (Macárōn nẽsoe, or Elysium: the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries and Cape Verde) in search of Cesária Évora.
We sail back to Greece, with Sappho singing about love (eros) and loneliness, or to Portugal, with Fernando Pessoa’s weariness of being. From a harbour’s tavern, where João de Deus, Giorgos Mitsakis and Vasilis Tsitsanis sing of voyages with no return, we fly to imaginary islands: Utopia, Ithaca of Penelope, and Neverland, where lost kids dance a… Thracian traditional dance!
Hélia Correia “takes us down to earth” in times of indigence, without gods or Argonauts, polis or agora, with Pan dead on the Aegean islands, in the ruin of Hellas, or in Alexandria engulfed in flames, in the antipode of Pericles’ democracy, to the accompaniment of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Marcia funebre.
In the songs of nostalgia, Tsitsanis meets Rosalía de Castro, José Niza, Armando Soares, and Violeta Parra, as Greece, Galicia, Portugal, Cape Verde, and Chile are joined together. Joys and dances of nostos follow, with José Saramago and Giorgos Andreou. Another meeting, on the sea waves, is that between the medieval minstrel Martín Codax and the rebetiko composer Panagiotis Tountas, concluding the voyage in a feast with a peculiar Greco-Portuguese and Afro-Andalusian bulería: o come, all ye faithful (to art) – you are all welcome!
The voyage goes on…
Some Festivals and Venues
• Portugal, Lisbon: Misty Fest; Culturgest, Centro Cultural de Belém, Gulbenkian Grande Auditório, Teatro São Luiz. Sintra: Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval. Almada: Solar dos Zagalos, Auditório Lopes Graça. Seixal: Festival Cantigas do Maio. Porto: Festival Inter-Céltico; Teatro Sá da Bandeira, Palácio de Cristal, Casa da Música, Coliseu. Coimbra: Festival Zeca Afonso; Teatro Gil Vicente. Guimarães: Centro Cultural Vila Flor; European Capital of Culture final show. Viseu: Teatro Viriato. Aveiro: Teatro Aveirense. Évora: Teatro Garcia de Resende. Sines: Festival Músicas do Mundo. Algarve: Encontros do DeVIR; Faro: Teatro Lethes.
• France, Paris: Cité de la Musique, Institut du Monde Arabe, Méditerranée, Méditérranées. Bourg-en-Bresse: Les Temps Chauds. Rouen: Tranches d’Europe Express. Rennes: Les Tombées de la Nuit. Aigues-Mortes: 7 Nuits d’Encens. Montpellier: Les Voix du Sud. Amilly: Fête de l’Europe. Corsica: Rencontres de Musiques Classique et Contemporaine de Calenzana.
• Netherlands, Amsterdam: Concertgebouw; Wereldmuziek, Musical Meetings of the European Tradition.
• Spain, Madrid: Festival Folk. Barcelona: Barnasants. Córdova: Grande Teatro de Córdova.
• Italy: Sete Sóis, Sete Luas; Itinerari Folk. Sicily: Festival Novas Musicas.
• Czech Republic, Prague: Lusophony meetings.
• Brazil, Rio de Janeiro: Festival Tão Longe, Tão Perto.
• Greece, Thessalonica: Demetria Festival, Womex. Athens: Ianos.
• 1994-1995: Todos os Dias was included in the “100 best Portuguese music albums ever” by the Público newspaper; Amélia was also nominated for the Blitz review prizes as best female singer.
• 1995/1998: she was awarded the Zeca Afonso Prize twice: for Maio Maduro Maio and Taco a Taco.
• 2011: she was honoured as one of the most important fado lyricists and composers by SPA.
• 2013: SPA selected Periplus among the three best albums of 2012; the jury of the Sopa da Pedra blogspot elected it as the best album of the year; Mundofonias of RTVE selected it among the best discs of 2012 in the world; Periplus was also nominated for the British fRoots charter with the ten best albums of the year.
• 2013: Amélia won the Académie Charles Cros Award for Ruelles.
• 1992: Múgica, Amélia Muge
• 1994: Todos os Dias, Amélia Muge
• 1995: Maio Maduro Maio, Amélia Muge, João Afonso, José Mário Branco
• 1996: Ó Tambor, Rui Júnior
• 1997: Rosas a Rosalía, Amancio Prada
• 1998: Taco a Taco, Amélia Muge
• 1998: Novas Vos Trago, Amélia Muge, Brigada Victor Jara, Gaiteros de Lisboa, João Afonso, Sérgio Godinho
• 1999: Habelas Hailas, Camerata Meiga
• 2002: A Monte, Amélia Muge (Πορτογαλία και Γερμανία)
• 2003: A Ópera Mágica do Cantor Maldito, Fausto
• 2006: O Dono do Nada, Amélia Muge
• 2007: Não Sou Daqui, Amélia Muge
• 2008: Meu Bem, Meu Mal, José Barros e Navegante
• 2009: Uma Autora, 202 Canções, Amélia Muge
• 2011: Os Fados e as Canções do Alvim, Fernando Alvim
• 2011: Ciclorama, A Presença das Formigas
• 2012: Periplus / deambulações luso-gregas (Luso-Hellenic Wanderings), Amélia Muge, Michales Loukovikas (Portugal-Greece)
• 2012: Ruelles, Amélia Muge, Teófilo Chantre, Magna Fereira, Roda do Cavaco, Choeurs d’enfants de l’Ain
• 2014: Canto & Autores 06, Amélia Muge
• 2014: Amélia com Versos de Amália, Amélia Muge, Amália Rodrigues
• 2017: ARCHiPELAGOS / Passagens, Amélia Muge, Michales Loukovikas (Portugal-Greece)