In many countries around the world, Mafalda Minnozzi is known and recognized as a woman of a thousand facets. She composes, interprets, dedicates her time to social projects and even designs her own stage wardrobe. She is a strong woman who does not shy away from the challenges faced in establishing herself as one of the top names her field.
She’s a multicultural singer who through research, study and creative challenges that are all reflected in the profound sentiment found in her music, produces a record every year and is always in search of a personal path to propose a one of a kind event onstage. The feedback and interaction she enjoys with her fan base is something the artist holds dear to her heart and this communication has evolved over her career and helped to serve as an inspiration for new ideas in her artistic endeavors.
Through her art, her effusive personality and natural charisma she promotes integration beyond social and political barriers, dedicating her time to causes with young choral groups and other initiatives in underprivileged areas in Brazil or wherever she has concentrated her career.
With keen sensitivity and artistic maturity, qualities that are apparent in her work both in the studio and on stage in her busy agenda of shows, Mafalda actively promotes and presents songs by the worlds greatest composers to her public around the globe. In her current international project entitled “eMPathia” for example, there are elements of jazz, swing and Bossa nova that mixed together, lay the groundwork towards a more universal language in her music.
In fact, each of these musical endeavors by Mafalda Minnozzi draw from her emotions and her origins, from the memory of that child who with eyes closed, listening with great emotion and fascination to the divas Edith Piaf, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Caterina Valente and Ornella Vanoni. Studying the vocal timbres and expressions in the voices of her divas, Mafalda discovered how to control the natural power of her own voice and how to apply the colors of jazz to it. In doing so, she established herself early on with numerous first place honors in Italy’s young talent competitions in the 1980’s that marked the start of her career.
Moved by passion and curiosity, she went to Rome to study with noted vocal coach maestro Gustavo Palumbo, modern dance with the choreographer Marco Ierva at IALS and theater with Roberto Marafante in the “Compagnia della Rancia” directed by Saverio Marconi. In 1990 she put her talent and preparation to good use at the world famous Roman cabaret “Cabala” where she landed front and center in the Roman music scene while simultaneously joining the cast of the TV program “Uno Mattina” (RAI Uno) where she excelled in two seasons once again taking advantage of her eclectic repertoire drawing from jazz and classic song.
This popularity led her to tours in theaters in Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland and Malta with various musical projects. As her star was rising at this point in her career, she received an invitation to bring her show to Brazil.
Feeling adventurous and prepared from what she achieved in Europe, she accepted the challenge and in January 1996 she arrived in Rio De Janeiro at the music club “Paradiso” for what was to be a brief engagement.
From the start she fell in love with the Brazilian culture and weaved a web of artistic relations that generated some precious collaborations that began with renowned musicians like Nico Assumpção, Armando Marçal, Jurim Moriera, Jamil Joanes, Tiago Costa, Toninho Ferragutti, Bocato and Edu Ribeiro. From there Milton Nascimento, Leny Andrade, Paulo Moura, Leila Pinheiro, Filo Machado, Guinga and Toquinho are just some of the artists who shared their love of Italian music with Mafalda on stage or in the studio through the art of the encounter in various musical projects. Thanks to Mafalda, the musical meeting between Italian legend Lucio Dalla and Brazil’s “King of Samba” Martinho Da Vila was consecrated via Martinho’s portuguese lyric on the Dalla composition “Prima Dammi Un Bacio”. Mafalda introduced the song to Martinho and recorded it with him in duet on his EMI CD and DVD “Brasilatinidade” much to the delight of Dalla. On an endless search for new musical encounters that continues today with the same curiosity, Mafalda has embraced important collaborations in Brazil with Ná Ozzetti, Simoninha, Isabella Taviani, André Mehmari, Fabiana Cozza, Jane Duboc and artists from the new generation such as Filipe Catto, Dani Black, Bruna Caram and Dani Gurgel.
Through her participation on various major network national TV shows and extensive touring in Brazil, Mafalda’s popularity led to an invitation in 1999 to open Sao Paulo’s New Years Eve special concert on Avenida Paulista before over a million people and in 2000 she was honored with the official title of “Ambassador of Italian Music” from the Italian Consulate in Sao Paulo. Since 2003 Mafalda continues to collaborate on Italy’s most important state radio, RADIO 1 RAI program “Brasil”, known today as “Stereo Notte”.
Several of her performances and compositions have been chosen as part of soundtracks in nationally distributed films and in TV series on the Globo and Record networks distributed worldwide and throughout her career in Brazil, Mafalda has released 12 CDs, 2 DVDs and has appeared in 21 compilation CDs, dedicating the same passion to each project. In this age of social networks, Mafalda continues in her highly active fashion developing hundreds of videos and clips which regularly appear on YouTube, her artist pages and by others totaling over a million visualizations.
Through this constant evolution and musical transformation and her musical partnership with the American guitarist and arranger Paul Ricci, Mafalda rediscovered and revisited the colors and musical expressions of the divas of her youth, firmly referencing and recapturing the improvisational jazz spirit in her music.
Supported by high quality production, the international dimension of the artist exploded with the “eMPathia Jazz Duo” project that together with Ricci, was applauded by the public and critics in Italy, Portugal, Germany as well as in Brazil, where in September 2016 Mafalda celebrated the 20 year anniversary of her career there with a tour throughout many Brazilian capitals, culminating at the famous “Ibirapuera Auditorium – Oscar Niemeyer“.
At Sao Paulo’s “Teatro Bradesco” the following year, Mafalda debuted her new show “ROMANTICA BOSSA” marked by her unique interpretations of Brazilian and Italian music from the cinema.
Other remarkable performances in the singer’s career in Brazil and other Latin American countries came from the recognition of the cultural significance of her work by several Italian institutions. She was invited by Italian Embassies in Brazil, Paraguay and Peru to represent Italy in international Jazz festivals in their respective countries. In 2019 in partnership with the Italian Consulate in Sao Paulo, the project “A Caminho Do Interior” presented Mafalda and her show “Portraits in Bossa and Jazz” in six of the states largest theaters to sold out crowds.
In Italy, Mafalda’s was nominated for the prestigious Targa Tenco award and was voted into the top 10 best jazz vocalists readers polls in Italy’s JAZZIT magazine. Among one of her most avowed supporters there is the noted critic Gerlando Gatto who recently included a chapter on Mafalda in his book “L’Altra Metà del Jazz” (The Other half of Jazz) dedicated to significant women in jazz from around the world that he interviewed.
In her shows in theaters and festivals in Italy, Mafalda has received some very special guests such as Giovanni Falzone, Gabriele Mirabassi, Daniele di Bonaventura and Antonio Onorato in unique and expressive performances.
Since 2015, Mafalda has been earning respect and a following in the New York scene from support by enthusiastic audiences and press there. Her talent and powerful performances combined with her intimate over 20 year experience with Brazilian music applied to the universal jazz idiom, opened the doors to the legendary Birdland and prestigious clubs such as Mezzrow, Jazz Forum, Zinc Bar and Trumpets, often enlisting the help of percussionist Rogerio Boccato and pianists Art Hirahara and Helio Alves. Mafalda’s presence on Columbia University’s WKCR radio annual tribute to Jobim and performances at institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and NY University’s Casa Zerilli-Marimo are just some examples of her artistic and cultural range.
Another outlet for her music comes from Mafalda’s interest in, and lasting relationship with the guitar via her duo project with Paul Ricci provoking interest from another musical niche. Mafalda has performed with Ricci in Cremona, Italy’s Acoustic Guitar Village and the Rocky Mountain Archtop festival outside of Denver, Co. , has recorded with legendary guitarist Gene Bertoncini and appears in a documentary dedicated to the life of master jazz guitar luthier John Montelelone.
Her time in NY also led to the recording of a trilogy of CDs under the banner of the eMPathia Jazz Duo, the last two produced by Grammy award winner Jeff Jones.
Her continued acceptance into the community of top shelf NY players led to an inevitable invitation to record with them in a new project entitled “SENSORIAL”.
Under the musical direction of Paul Ricci and with the help of heavyweights like Essiet Okon Essiet, Will Calhoun, Art Hirahara, Rogerio Boccato, Harvie S and Victor Jones, the album revisits the Bossa Nova songbook with some updates and an eye on how NY interprets this magical fusion of Brazil and Jazz.
To make the most of the artistic maturity required to create in the studio with such great musicians, video was rolling at all times and the results on the CD are also documented in real time on video for all 13 selections on the CD.
The official release of SENSORIAL is slated with a live full band performances on Sunday, October 13th at NY’s Birdland Theater before their Italian tour in November with an eye on 2020.
With the same passion,courage and sincerity that mark her brilliant career from the beginning, Mafalda continues her artistic journey, evolving and engaging in projects that span generations, always ready to face new challenges and to be an active proponent of her sound in her time.
“Mafalda Minnozzi, is an extraordinary performer. She dominates the stage with her fascinating scenic presence and her powerful and flexible voice, rich in a thousand nuances” – Gerlando Gatto (journalist and music critic)
“Thanks to her experiences with jazz music in Brazil and Italy, both countries influence her way of singing … each interpretation is deep and sensitive. This is jazz for falling in love, the free flight of a bird in a great sky. “- Debbie Burke (blogger and jazz critic)
“She has a beautiful conception of each song and is a wonderful performer. I am fascinated by her way of improvising and interacting” – Gene Bertoncini (legendary NY jazz guitarist)