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Teófilo Chantre

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Biography

Cape Verdean guitarist, songwriter, and singer Teofilo Chantre was introduced to world music audiences via his compositions, many of which were popularized by the great Césaria Évora. Later in his career Chantre used that momentum and recognition to launch his career as a performer. Teofilo Chantre was born in 1964 on the island of Sao Nicolau, later moving to São Vicente. He was surrounded by music and arts early on, brought up by a father who was a renowned lyricist in Cape Verde's bustling arts hub of Mindelo. In his early teens Teofilo relocated to France, where he began to experiment with guitar and composition. Only a few short years later the budding artist took an interest in the music of his homeland. As Chantre grew as a writer he garnered the attention of professionals in the Portuguese music community, such as producer Jose DaSilva. In 1991 DaSilva included a number of Chantre's compositions on Césaria Évora's record Miss Perfumado, which went on to be a smash success. A lasting relationship between Chantre and Évora developed, resulting in widespread popularity for the previously unknown songwriter. It was not long before Chantre had the clout necessary to release high-quality solo recordings, the first of which was Terra & Cretcheu (1993). On his debut record listeners were treated to not only standard Cape Verdean fare, but a rich mixture of elements, including Brazilian, Caribbean, Spanish, and jazz-influenced musics. Having spent a number of years living in Paris, Chantre had been exposed to a world of ideas that he now integrated with his native Afro-Portuguese musical heritage. His sophomore effort was entitled Di Alma (1997), followed three years later by Rodatempo (2000). Following a live record in 2002, Chantre's 2007 recording, Azulando, enjoyed a lasting presence on world music charts throughout Europe and the States. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez
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