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Maria Alice de Fatima Rocha Silva was born on the island of Sal in the Cape Verde archipelago on the 23rd October 1971. Sal’s international airport makes it Cape Verde’s interface with the world.
Around the age of 14, Maria Alice began to sing in the family world of Cape Verde nightlife. Her sharp voice - strangely echoing the timbre of Indian singers - caught the ear of many musicians visiting Sal on their way to Europe.
At 20, she moved to Portugal where she mixed with expatriate Cape Verdean musicians. Her talent for mornas and coladeras and the distinctive colouration of her voice brought her rapid success on the Lisbon scene.
In 1992, she went on a major tour of Holland with Morgadinho and Luis Morais. In 1993, she was one of the artists invited by Cesaria Evora to appear in the Cape Verdean show at France’s Printemps de Bourges festival.
In the same year, the Portuguese press enthused over her wonderful performance at the Algarve International Music Festival. In its wake, she recorded a record for a local label, “Ilha d’ Sal”, which drew still more praise from the press.
At the end of 1995, she returned to the recording studio, now accompanied by some of the greatest Cape Verdean musicians in Lisbon: Armando Tito, Vaiss, Dalù, Manuel Paris and Toi Vieira (also the album’s artistic director and brother of Paulino Vieira, a member of Cesaria Evora’s group for several years). The songs she recorded were penned by a number of great writers: apart from Toi Vieira, they included Ramiro Mendes, Jorge Humberto and Luis Lima.
The resulting album, “D’Zemcontre” (April 96), brought her a special status in the world of Cape Verdean music. She went on to appear in many sets of Cape Verdean artists in various festivals in Holland, Greece, Italy and the United States (with Tito Paris and Teofilo Chantre), as well as the Seville and Lisbon Universal Exhibitions. In Portugal, her extensive, wide-coverage tours and frequent television appearances brought her star status.