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São Tomé is a magical place to grow up, say Calema

It’s not every day that you hear about a musical group from São Tomé and Príncipe that is becoming famous worldwide, but that’s what’s happening with Calema.

The duo have a huge hit with Te Amo, and their album Yellow is top of the Portuguese charts.

Brothers Antonio and Fradique Mendes Ferreira told me on the line from Lisbon, where they now live, what their childhood in the island nation was like:Quote Message: It was amazing, we grew up in nature, fishing, hunting, discovering. There is an energy there that we feel, it is almost like an Amazonian island, it’s very wild… it’s quite magical to know.”

It was amazing, we grew up in nature, fishing, hunting, discovering. There is an energy there that we feel, it is almost like an Amazonian island, it’s very wild… it’s quite magical to know.”

The brothers started singing for fun, and began to get encouragement and compliments from friends and family.

Their parents suggested they form a duo, and their father got them their big break.

They’d been performing in bars and small venues, but he heard about a festival that was going to take place.

The brothers weren’t invited, but their proud father took them along anyway and persuaded the organiser to give them 15 minutes on the stage.

The crowd loved them, and what’s more, a producer who worked with the great Cesária Évora from Cape Verde was listening intently. He offered them a contract on the spot, and in just over a year they were in Portugal recording their first album.

Calema’s romantic Afropop seems to be just what the doctor ordered at the moment. As Antonio says:Quote Message: Calema means wave, the big waves that hit the coast of West Africa, bringing messages and a bit of longing.

Calema means wave, the big waves that hit the coast of West Africa, bringing messages and a bit of longing.Quote Message: We are a wave that brings joy, the sun, music, culture, and good vibes.”

We are a wave that brings joy, the sun, music, culture, and good vibes.”

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