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Maiuko's family roots go back to the kingdom of Swaziland in southern Africa as her grandmother was part of the royal family there. Maiuko explains that her grandmother was a rebel who chose to marry a commoner, a Portuguese white man. Her grandmother therefore left Swaziland for Mozambique. Maiuko has memories of her grandmother Lisa's words and has drawn inspiration from her bravery and advice about herself as a woman: one of the tracks on Maiuko's first album is entitled 'Grandma Lisa'.
Maiuko herself was born in Maputo, Mozambique and lived as a child in a village near the border with Swaziland.
Her parents decided to leave the country to get away from the independence war there. They went back to Swaziland, faced many difficulties, and later moved to Portugal when Maiuko was a teenager. The manner in which they had to leave her homeland where she felt and still feels she belongs made Maiuko upset, angry and uprooted. She says that she has never really had anywhere else she could call home in the same way, and would like to back to Mozambique as an adult. Many of the tracks on her album connect strongly with her experiences in Mozambique.
Maiuko arrived in Britain around 1993 and has been based there since then. In an interview on BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour, in September 2001 Maiuko spoke of the musical influences of members of her immediate family: her father, mother and aunt.
A live appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival brought Maiuko to the attention of label RL-2 producers Maquenzie and Paul Lilly. She has worked with legendary blues guitarist Jeff Beck, has had frequent headliners at Ronnie Scott’s in London, a performance at the 2002 Sony Radio Academy Awards and a European tour later that year.
Maiuko's amazing singing voice has been likened to “a less raspy Macy Gray, or even the dulcet jazz tones of Erykah Badu” (Wax). Her song-writing skills

have been inspired by the likes of Billie Holiday, Hugh Masekela, Bjork and Massive Attack. Elements of melancholic South African jazz combined with deep soul grooves feature throughout her music.
Says Maiuko about her 11-track debut album Different Wars that was released in 2000: “It’s about Africa, but not just where I was born,” Maiuko elaborates. “I hear about revolutions and what people fight for all the time. Some people are just fighting for bread. I did experience some of that in Mozambique. The country is at war and we went through starvation after a long drought”. Most of the tracks on Different Wars are not typically African sounding. The musicians accompanying Maiuko use violin, flugel horn, trumpet and guitars amongst other instruments. The lyrics are in English, Cape Verde-Potuguese dialect, and the Landin dialect of Mozambique. It's an album brimming with exciting yet haunting sounds and lyrics. The tracks that most obviously relate directly to Maiuko's African background are: 'Mozambique', 'Hold my Hand' and 'Grandma Lisa'.
These unique and very striking songs can make a great impact - make sure you have a chance to listen closely several times! Check out more about Maiuko on