Maria João has built a career as surprising as it is brilliant, highlighted by her performances at the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals.

Her career began at the Jazz school of the Hot Clube de Portugal in Lisbon, with her music soon receiving recognition as she became one of the few Portuguese singers to achieve success outside her home territory.

João’s remarkable vocal ability and the unequalled intensity of her performances have turned her into an internationally renowned artist who has earned her place among the greatest contemporary avant-garde singers, her unique style becoming a touchstone in the world of improvised music. She has worked with artists such as Joe Zawinul, Gilberto Gil, Egberto Gismonti, Trilok Gurtu and Manu Katché, while her portfolio also includes a duet with Bobby McFerrin and a longstanding duo partnership with pianist Mario Laginha.

The forthcoming ‘Open Your Mouth’ is João’s third incursion into the world of electronic music with her OGRE Electric project, its previous releases having seen reviewers consider her as “a singer who is continually evolving,” with “a voice that goes all the way to the limit.” The 63-year old youngster herself (64 for anybody reading this after 27th June) states that “to explore, never settle and be on the lookout for new things will always be our motto, so sometimes it might not be so easy to label us. But, who needs labels anyway?”

‘Open Your Mouth’ heads into a more urban, groove-oriented vibe than before,  which, when combined with João’s own inner child, takes the listener for a spin around mysterious dreamworlds and trippy soundscapes, as African rhythms and all manner of programmed electronics are thrown into the mix to provide occasionally jarring yet thought-provoking accompaniment.

Besides her core ensemble, consisting of fellow countrymen João Farinha on keyboards/synthesizers (as well as writing and production) and electronics wizard André Nascimento, ‘Open Your Mouth’ also features German wonder drummer and producer Silvan Strauss, who never forgets to pack a punch and to whom the album owes much of its new sonic direction.

MARIA JOÃO / OGRE Electric
Maria João – vocals
João Farinha – keyboards, synthesizers
Silvan Strauss – drums
André Nascimento – laptop, electronics

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