Maria Joao (voice) was born in Lisbon, Portugal. She started her musical life in 1982, in the Jazz School of the Hot Club, in Lisbon, and joined the Big Band of the school in April. In the summer of the same year she began singing with her own band. During 1983 and 1984 she worked in Portugal with the Quinteto Maria Joao, and in the Portuguese TV.
The breakthrough on the Portuguese music scene was in the International Jazz Festival of Cascais in 1984, when audience and critics alike praised Maria Joao for her outstanding performance. A promotion tour through West Germany in April and May 1985, included a radio concert as well as a TV production with German TV - ZDF. In July she won the first prize for the best group at the competition at the International Jazz Festival of San Sebastian. Concerts in Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Holland, Austria, Germany and Switzerland followed.
In 1987 Maria Joao began to work with the German saxophone player Christof Lauer, in April she started to sing with the Japanese piano player Aki Takase. In 1989 the Duo played several Festivals with Nils Henning Orsted-Pedersen and Miroslav Vitous, she also began her colaboration with David Friedman and Charlie Mariano.
With "Cal Viva" Maria Joao presents a complete band from Portugal on her tour in November '91 which is based more than her other projects in the traditional music of Portugal. With this band she published a new CD on Enja Records during the fall '91.
Since 1992 Maria Joao also worked with Lauren Newton (Tage neuer Musik Essen 1991 / Big Band Meeting Munchen 1992) and in Trio with Christof Lauer and the piano players Bobo Stenson and Mario Laginha (Jazzfestivals Madrid, Ansbach, Delmenhorst, Vocaltage Graz all 1992). She was invited guest during the Olympic games in Barcelona in August 1992.
In April '94 she did an important concert during the Festival in Lisbon with Trilok Gurtu, Christof Lauer and Mario Laginha which was recorded by the Portugues Television. In the fall (1994) she signed a five-years-contract for the Label Verve. Her Duo record with Mario Laginha for that label under the title Dancas was out worldwide April '95, her second album is recorded during the fall 95 with Dino Saluzzi, Manu Katche, Ralph Towner and her steady partner Mario Laginha (out spring '96). As a result of all, Maria Joao and Mario Laginha played the International Festivals of Montreux, Den Hague, Malaga and Leipzig in 1995.
New Verve recording called Fabula in summer '96 with Dino Saluzzi, Ralph Towner, Manu Katche, Kai Eckhardt, Mario Laginha a.o, which was presented during the Festivals of Berlin, Rome, Leverkusen, Lisbon, Strasbourg in November '96.
Biography courtesy of Uli Fild Concertburo.