In 2012, as in many other years, I sang in a competition open to all soloist categories. I went there willing to do my best and if possible get an award. I didn’t win any prize, but I ended up with the sensation as I felt I made a good performance, but at the same time feeling sad for not being valuable enough to get a prize (which not always happens once in most cases I feel I could have done better. Call it perfectionism!).

Head up and focus on what was coming next. Interestingly days later I met by chance – in another city from the one where the competition took place – with a gentleman who expressed his dissatisfaction with those results, indicating he had been at the panel of judges. I thanked him his honesty and kept his words as a motivation to keep doing my job. After all it is our mission as musicians to leave a beautiful imprint on the people we meet. And apparently I did it.

Years later – six years precisely – after sending a proposal of my project À la joie for Festival Xiquitsi, in Maputo (Mozambique) I got a positive answer from its executive and artistic director. Me, Tiago Matos (baritone) and Pedro Costa (pianist) went on this magic journey in Maputo really happy.

First and foremost magic because part of my family lived there for many years, when my mum was still a child. And then because since ever I listen to my compatriots speaking about Mozambique and Africa in general with sparkling eyes. And this is the truth: once you visit Africa you will never forget. The people I met – who I taught and taught me so much – made this a memorable experience.

Last but no least, it was magic because I understood that when it is least expected we leave an imprint on people we never imagined.

And here I go back to 2012 competition. Among the judges was Kika Materula – executive and artistic director of Xiquitsi. Kika was not happy with those results promised herself one day she would reward me.

And what a reward! What a gesture! The most interesting thing here is that I didn’t know who was in the panel of judges, not even remembered her name on the list.

And now I was so happy I didn’t win because I won everything with this experience: beautiful, honest, genuine true and HAPPY memories! THANK YOU!

It will be forever In my memory that moment when on stage the member of Xiquisti Project offered me while singing a powerful African song called SAN’BONANI – which means to say hello/ to greet – two beautiful capulanas.

Capulana | Xiquitsi Maputo

Capulana | Xiquitsi Maputo

Impossible to hold the tears. This made it all worthwhile!