23 Apr Costa Neto
Costa Neto was born at the stroke of midnight on 5 October 1959, in the southernmost building in Mozambique, the Ponta do Ouro lighthouse, on the mountain where his father had been posted.
He started primary school in 1965 in a Portuguese colonial Catholic mission in Matutuine, Mozambique, joined a Catholic seminar in 1970, and in 1971 went to secondary school in the City of Maputo, then still under Portuguese rule and known as Lourenço Marques.
In 1974, following the revolution in Portugal, he stopped his studies for a year, and the free time enabled him to teach himself music.
After independence, in 1976, he went back to technical school, but gave up his studies in 1980, refusing to follow an official mandatory teaching career. He has since devoted himself to music, having joined in that same year the Mozambican light music “Grupo 1”. In 1981, he and some friends set up the musical band “M’bila”, one of the groups that most revolutionised Mozambican urban music, which he led until its demise in 1988. Further back, his first musical band had been “ABC 78”, a name he himself suggested when it was created in 1978.
In 1983, he was entrusted with the role of acting director of the Maputo Youth Club, the place most regularly promoting entertainment during the post-independence civil war, which also housed the activities of his “M’bila” band.
In 1988, he left for a tour in Portugal, where he decided to settle and live to continue his artistic career, which was fraught with hardship for the first few years. Driven by a sense of solidarity, he got together with artists from other Portuguese-speaking countries, including some of the most renowned artists of their countries of origin, with many of whom he maintains excellent relationships of camaraderie and friendship; this inspired him to create the “FAZER” project in 1996, which involved mostly African musicians residing in Portugal, together with personalities and other institutions that adhered to the project. In June 2008, the population, the association and its traditional leaders paid tribute to him in his homeland of Matutino, in Mozambique.
In 2000, shaken by the flooding disaster in his homeland of Mozambique, he wrote and sang “Sinónimo Vida” which became the hymn for the tragedy’s victims, a project that would later be recorded on a “CD single”.
2001 marked the start of his solo career, with the issue of “PROTOTYPUS”, which people suggest is a contribution to the development and dissemination of Mozambican and African culture in general across the world.
Original tracks from the “PROTOTYPUS” album, like “ÚÈ MWANÊ”, were selected for the pan-African compilation “MOTHER AFRICA”, and “KIKIRIGÔ” for the first compilation of “MÚSICA DA CPLP”.
Considered by many to be the most faithful interpreter of Mozambican music in Europe, he has been invited to represent his country in some of the events with the most media coverage, where Mozambican culture is a must, particularly at the closing concert of the “GALEGO EM PÓ” conference in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, three editions of the “PORTAFRICAS” festival, the closing celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Mozambique peace accords in Rome, the “ENCONTROS LUSÓFONOS” festival representing Mozambique, in Lisbon, in 2004, and the “MUSIC AFRICA” concert in Rome in 2006.
In 2009 he recorded the CD “Mandjólò”, which is already one of the most well-known Mozambican CDs abroad.
The title song, “Mandjólò”, is probably today the most well-known Mozambican song internationally.
On 18 December 2009, at the invitation of the Azores Regional Government, he closed the celebrations of World Migrant Day with a concert.
Also in 2011, at the invitation of the Brazilian “Casa Grande” Foundation, he was the only African to participate in the Iberian American Musical Show, in Nova Olinda, in Ceará, and in the “Warakdzã” cultural show.
In 2011, in Maputo, he founded the “MZ Band” orchestra which became the supporting band for his concerts.
In 2010, the prestigious world music record label, Putumayo, selected Costa Neto’s song “Boas Festas Moçambique” for their compilation of the world’s Christmas songs (World Christmas Party).
In March 2012, he represented Mozambique in Coimbra Cultural Week, organised by the University of Coimbra as part of a collective of Brazilian, Portuguese and Mozambican artists.
In December 2013 he was invited to become one of the patrons of the international campaign “Juntos Contra a Fome” (Together Against Hunger), a project conducted under a CPLP-FAO partnership, for which he composed and produced the official anthem, performed by musicians from the various Community of Portuguese speaking countries.
In October 2015 he organised the concert for peace in Mozambique, in Lisbon, in which various guest artists participated.
Costa Neto is co-founder and president of “Razão d’Arte – Associação Cultural dos Artistas da Comunidade dos Países de Língua Oficial Portuguesa”, created in 2016.