I am from Portugal. It is a very small country, a really small country.
The influence of this type of music [in my work] happened about two years ago.
Before, I was working with patterns and textures. I started working with patterns about 7 or 8 years ago.
I got a degree in graphic design, and I was fed up with doing all the logos, and so in my free time I focused only on patterns. Patterns, patterns, patterns. I started studying patterns from fabric and tiles.
In the beginning, I was not that influenced by music. I was more visual.
There were all these visual things coming from my hometown, it is the capitol of Portugal, and it is amazing all these patterns. I grew up in Lisbon in an African community. I was in an area that was about 80% African – from Cape Verde and Angola.
I went to these old fabric shops and bought all this fabric, and I started to collect all these books and books of material.
But then this hit me, more of this R&B, funk, soul kind of scene. It wasn’t really present in my life yet, until about 2-3 years ago. This influence of soul and funk in my work – the posters with Fela Kuti, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, all these old, true, brilliant musicians that I had been hearing – now it has developed on me, and every time I listen to it and go into afro beat – like Monomono and Fela Kuti – I start to turn off the patterns and I don’t know, it happens.
It happens with the music. I don’t know how to explain really well the things I do, but now…
it’s always connected to the music…
We are such a small country with such a big mix.
I was into another type of music. This was a whole new world.
I heard these sounds and these big active rhythms from Angola. It is amazing the sound they are creating right now in Angola. It’s completely different. It’s becoming one of the Meccas for musicians.
The traditional music for me is amazing, and I have been hearing this type of music all my life because Angola was part of Portugal years ago, and then they had their independence.
The Portuguese have been all around the world, so we have loads and loads of influence.
Now they are mixing old rhythms and new ones, and everyone is doing this.
There is such a big scene going on and even the dance. It is a weird mix of break dance and traditional – a mix of Cuban and traditional African. It’s a goofy kind of thing. It’s so fun!