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Mingas (Mozambique)  

Having been born on a Sunday, she was given the middle name Domingas, which became 'Mingas' for short. She was also named Elisa, after a legendary paternal grandmother, and the patronymic Salatiel as per traditional custom. She was born, and grew up, on the southeastern coast of Africa, in Lourenço Marques, the capital of Portuguese East Africa, as it was known at the time. Just a few years later, 'LM' would become Maputo and 'PEA' would become independent Mozambique.

Mingas was the fourth in a close-knit family of six children. From early on she developed a love of music and, in particular, of singing. She started singing in church and from the age of 15 was part of a church youth choir. At around that same age, she also participated in some music shows in Maputo, that were aimed at identifying young talents.

Shortly after one of these talent shows, at the age of 17, she was offered the opportunity to sing on a regular basis in the Maputo nightclub 'Sheik'. Her parents were, at least initially, less than enthusiastic about this, but her oldest brother, Max, was supportive. He managed to win the rest of the family over by committing to look after Mingas, to drive her to and from the nightclub and to stay during her performances.

Over the next 2-3 years in the late 1970s, while Mozambique was going through its birth pains as a new, independent country, Mingas continued singing in Maputo nightclubs, first at 'Sheik' and later also at the clubs 'Buzio' and 'Zambi'. She was performing with some of the most popular and successful bands in Mozambique at the time, such as 'Hokolókwe', 'Africa Power' and João Domingos' band.

Genre: African Jazz

Mingas and those of her colleagues who 'toughed it out' and were determined to stay despite the hardships (see context box), obviously had to possess a strong conviction that conditions would eventually stabilize and their beloved music would again play the important role in Mozambican culture that it always had in the past. In the meantime, though, they had to face the reality that, by the end of the 70s, there were essentially no live music venues operating in the country. Club owners and many of their patrons had by then simply left the country.

In February, Mingas performed together with Yvonne Chaka Chaka at the 'South African Women's Day' celebration, organized by the South African High Commission in Maputo. In February, she also recorded a video spot for UNICEF in support of children's rights.

The annual MozJazz Festival took place in April at the 'Parque dos Continuadores' in Maputo. Mingas performed on the second day of the festival before a great, appreciative crowd.

In June she was off to Germany, where she performed in Berlin and Munich, and later in Prague in the Czech Republic. Before and after this European trip, she toured the provinces of southern and central Mozambique and also went to Harare in Zimbabwe, where she performed together with the Zimbabwean singer Dudu Manhenga. She ended this first stage of her Mozambican tour with a much appreciated, sold out concert at CCFM in Maputo on July 31.

Her collaboration with Dudu then continued with performances at the 'Arts Alive' Festival at Bassline in Johannesburg in September, and at Centro Cultural Franco-Mozambicano in Maputo on October 2, 2009.

In early 2009, Mingas was recognized with a sponsorship agreement from the mobile phone service provider MCel of Mozambique. This, she hopes, will help her free up some more time for song writing and recordings. During 2009 she has started to work on material for a new CD, that she intends to record in 2010.

For the national elections in October of 2009, Mingas participated, together with Stewart Sukuma, in a nonpartisan effort to encourage the people of Mozambique to vote. This effort, organized by the national election commission, resulted in a music video for broadcasting on the various TV stations in the country, as well as sound tracks for radio broadcasts.

And in her native Mozambique, at this somewhat more mature stage of her career, Mingas is more popular, loved and respected than ever!

Contact Details:

Visit Mingas Website

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