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Fantcha


 

Francelina Durão Almeida, a.k.a. Fantcha, was born in Mindelo. From the earliest age, she liked to sing. Instead of playing with dolls or hopscotch with her little girlfriends, her biggest pleasure was to sing with her two brothers who enjoyed playing guitar and cavaquinho at home.

 

When she was around 10, Fantcha joined the Flores do Mindelo Carnival Company -like in Brazil, year by year, people of a same neighbourhood, professional societies, group of friends are getting ready to the carnival, one of the most important social event in Mindelo. Gregorio Gonçalves, also known as Ti Goy, at that time one of the most famous composers in the city, was the Flores Company music Director; soon he realized that this young shrill–voiced girl had a voice that people would notice, a voice that would make the difference in the tough competition the carnival companies were indulged in. But, besides her voice and her look, Ti Goy detected in her a promising talent: he told her that she should become a singer and offered her some training lessons.

 

Years later, Ti Goy introduced Fantcha to Cesaria Evora; she also became a friend of Cesaria’s daughter Fernanda, who was Fantcha’s age. She started to visit Cesaria regularly and learned a lot from her: Ti Goy (who had previously trained Cesaria) taught her the rules of the rythm as Cesaria taught her the vibes, the emotion, the phrasing…

 

Early 1988, (later the same year Cesaria was recording an album that changed her destiny), Fantcha was in Lisboa recording for Bana, the famous Capeverdean singer who lived in Portugal. For the first time, she went to the US, at the Massachussets Capeverdean community’s invitation, for a concert series in the company of Cesaria Evora. Fantcha thought life was more exciting overthere; so she took the decision to join this huge New England Capeverdean community, and then, finally she moved to New York where she is still living.

 

Since then, she recorded two albums for Lusafrica, Criolinha (“Little Creole”) in 1997, and Viva Mindelo in 2000, which is a tribute to the carnival of Mindelo and her early beginning.

 


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