Born in Pavia, Italy on September 21st, Mafalda Minnozzi is a charismatic multicultural singer and composer who over her long career has melded her vocal virtuosity with jazz in an individual sound that evokes standing ovations from audiences and impresses critics on an ever expanding international level.
Through research, study and creative challenges, all reflected in the profound sentiment found in her music, she produces a record every year and gives her all on her path to consistently present 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, evolving over her career and helping to serve as an inspiration for new ideas and artistic endeavors as she presents songs by the world’s greatest composers around the globe.
As a young girl in Italy studying the voices of divas Edith Piaf, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Caterina Valente and Ornella Vanoni, she discovered the natural power of her own voice and in applying the colors of jazz to it, marked the start of her career from 1986-1993 with first place honors in such prestigious talent festivals as “Festival di Ariccia”, “Sanremo Famosi”, European Radio Festival” and was twice a finalist in the nationally televised “Festival di Castrocaro Terme”.
After studies in Rome with noted vocal coach Gustavo Palumbo, modern dance with Marco Ierva at “IALS” and theater with Roberto Marafante in Saverio Marconi’s “Compagnia della Rancia”, she put her budding talent and preparation to use at the world famous Roman cabaret “La Cabala” while also joining the cast of the RAI TV program “Uno Mattina”, leading to tours in theaters in Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland and Malta.
Always curious to expand beyond her native Italian songbook, her experience and dedication during this time resulted in a vast repertoire that grew to include French, Neapolitan, Brazilian and American song.
BRAZIL and OTHER OCEANS
In January 1996, the owners of Rio De Janeiro’s “Paradiso” music club became aware of her trajectory in Italy and invited her to perform there for a brief engagement. The smashing success and media attention there resulted in a recording contract with “Som Livre” which propelled Mafalda to a 24 year career and a mutual love affair with the Brazilian culture, generating a string of precious artistic collaborations with such important names as Milton Nascimento, Leny Andrade, André Mehmari, Guinga, Ná Ozzetti, Toquinho and many others across generations of Brazilian music.
She has appeared on numerous national TV shows on all the major networks (Faustão, Jô Soares, Ronnie Von and Hebe Camargo) and had a full one hour episode of “Todas as Bossas” (TV Brasil) dedicated to her.
She has released 15 solo CDs, 2 DVDs and 4 music videos, the most recent one (Sacumdí Sacumdà) directed by Murilo Alvesso, one of Brazil’s most in demand young filmmakers. Various recordings by Mafalda are also present in over 20 popular selling collections. As a special guest she has participated in recordings of consecrated artists Martinho Da Vila and Jane Duboc among others. As both a singer and composer, she has participated on numerous prestigious film soundtracks (“O Casamento de Romeo e Julieta” by Bruno Barreto/2005, “Saneamento Basico” by Jorge Furtado/2007 and “S.O.S. Mulheres ao Mar” by Chris D’Amato/2014) and major network TV series (“Anjo de Mim”/1996, “Zazá”/1998, “Andando nas Nuvens”/1999, “Terra Nostra”/2000, “Esperança”/2002 and “Cidadão Brasileiro”/2006).
In both large and small cities in Brazil’s many regions, she has performed over the years in countless concerts from clubs (“Blue Note”, “Beco das Garrafas”/Rio de Janeiro, “Clube de Choro” /Brasilia, “Tom Jazz”,”Bourbon Street”/Sao Paulo, “Clube da Esquina”/Belo Horizonte, “Sgt. Pepper’s”/Porto Alegre and “Café Rubi”/Salvador) to prestigious theaters and concert halls (“Ibirapueira Auditorium”, “Teatro Bradesco”, “Teatro Municipal” and “Teatro Folha”/Sao Paulo, “Teatro Municipal”/Niterói, “Teatro Riachuelo”/Natal, “Teatro Dom Pedro II”/Ribeirão Preto, “Museu Oscar Niemeyer”, “Teatro Guaíra”/Curitiba, “Teatro Rival”, “Teatro Net Rio”/Rio de Janeiro, “Teatro Sesi”/Porto Alegre and “Centro Cultural Minas TC”/Belo Horizonte) and at prestigious jazz festivals (“Winter Jazz Festival” 2013/Campos de Jordão, SP. “Santos Jazz Fest”2016/Santos, SP.)
In 2020, upon arrival to Sao Paulo from her USA tour, she has confronted the creative and spiritual challenges presented by the pandemia that has severely stricken both countries. With long distance productions she has recorded collaborations with world renown pianists John Di Martino, Art Hirahara and André Mehmari and organized various live transmissions based on the themes of Brazilian music, immigration themes and Italian cinema, all to wide audiences on the web. She has also created and published a series of refined podcasts in which she collects her reflections with poetry and music.
BEYOND HER VOICE
Mafalda has also made a name for herself beyond her singing talents in the area of cultural productions often related to her Italian heritage.
Some of the most prominent events began with her 1998-1999 New Year’s Eve concert on Avenida Paulista where she performed before a million and a half people at the invitation of the mayor of Sao Paulo to commemorate that city’s 110th anniversary of Italian immigration.
Between the years of 1999 and 2003 Mafalda served both as a singer and as a musical history and Italian language consultant for the internationally syndicated Globo network TV series “Terra Nostra” and “Esperança” dedicated to Italian immigration in Brazil.
In 2012, the Italian Consulates of Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Curitiba joined forces with the Italian Foreign Ministry to celebrate Italy’s bond with Brazil in the “MIB – Momento Italia Brazil” ceremonies and Mafalda’s project “Il Bianco, Il Rosso e Il Verde” was presented in concert on a 12 city tour and preserved in a commemorative book as part of the festivities.
During the World Cup in 2014 she performed in concert and on TV Globo media events in Manaus, Recife, Natal, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, as part of the project “Italia na Copa” in the cities where Italian national soccer team competed. She has been invited to perform at concerts and events commemorating Italy’s annual worldwide “week of the Italian language” in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Curitiba, and in jazz festivals in Asuncion, Paraguay (“AsuJazz” 2018) and Lima, Peru (“Festival Jazz de Lima” 2019).
In 2019, Sao Paulo’s Italian Consul General Filippo La Rosa inaugurated a new and ambitious project of cultural integration entitled “#A Caminho do Interior” that brought Italian culture to the principal communities in the interior of the state of Sao Paulo.
Mafalda enthusiastically accepted the challenge and in presentation of her show “Portraits in Bossa and Jazz” at six of the state’s largest theaters, she was met with critical acclaim and sold out crowds.
In 2020, she was chosen by the Brazilian office of the Italian tourism agency ENIT as a representative for an effective campaign to relaunch and promote tourism in post-pandemic Italy.
AWARDS AND TITLES
At the onset of her career in Brazil, Mafalda was recognized and awarded with the official title of “Ambassador of Italian Music” by Italian Consul General Stefano Canavesio (1998) for the cultural and artistic importance of her work.
Mafalda received many other awards in Brazil in recognition of her artistic and social merit. Some of the most notable include a 2001 ceremony in Sao Paulo’s historic “Theatro Municipal” to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Brazil’s discovery. She was chosen by the state of Sao Paulo to be among the 500 most important personalities that helped to shape the nation via their “significant contributions for the enrichment of Brazil by way of their work and personal sacrifice” and had her name published in the commemorative book marking the event.
In 2007 she was decorated with the title of “Commander of the order of Juscelino Kubitschek” by CICESP (Center of Cultural Integration Sao Paulo) for her promotion of musical integration between Brazil and Italy.
In 2013, on behalf of the State legislature, Mafalda was awarded the official title of “Honorary Citizen of the State of Rio De Janeiro” by congressman Bernardo Rossi.
Mafalda’s artistic path continues in her work, not only as a performer, but also as a socially active contributor through benefit appearances and support of artistic initiatives in schools and communities wherever she might travel. Her belief that song is the gateway to a young person’s creative and artistic identity has compelled her to contribute to some very important projects.
In 1996 and 1997 she contributed her time and energy to the noble work of Dona Neuma whose foundation helped to educate and clothe orphaned children in the famous Mangueira ghetto of Rio De Janeiro.
In the year 2000 for the 30 year commemoration of the San Gennaro festival in Sao Paulo’s Italo-Brazilian Mooca neighborhood, Mafalda organized and assembled a children’s choir with the parish of the local church and through much rehearsal, presented them in Italian song nightly on the stage of the festival and on important TV shows to increase awareness for musical education in the schools.
Since 2012 in an ongoing partnership with maestro Leonardo Randolfo in the city of Petropolis/Rio de Janeiro, Mafalda is the official “madrinha” (godmother) of the pilot program to include choral instruction in public schools in unprivileged communities. Over the years this project “Canta Petropolis” has grown from the original choir (“DoReMi”) to encompass more than 50 other public school choirs in the region. In 2013 she invited “DoReMi” to perform in her DVD “Spritz” and as “madrinha” in 2016, accompanied them on a three cities tour in support of the program. To this day, Mafalda continues her work as a constant reference for the “Do Re Mi” chorus, which she frequently encounters on stage when her international schedule permits. In 2020, from the regimen of isolation due to the global pandemic, she recorded a fitting version of the famous “Let It Be” in a highly appreciated remote video with her “kids” in the chorus.
In October 2016 Mafalda’s hometown in Italy (San Severino Marche) suffered a serious earthquake that left many people in need of assistance. On its one year anniversary she produced and sponsored a benefit concert “Ricominciamo dal Jazz: la solidarietà non si improvvisa” in the town’s theater featuring some of Italy’s most prominent jazz musicians including Gabriele Mirabassi and Daniele Di Bonaventura who joined forces to help the cause and raise money for restoration projects.
Between 2011 and 2019 Mafalda has continued to collaborate with benefit shows in support of the Italian “Amici del Brasile O.n.l.u.s” missionary project in Brazil.
In 2020, Mafalda created a campaign of unity that collected donations of 750 kilos of non-perishable foods that were distributed to families in distress in the Sao Paulo region due to the hardships of the pandemic.
As an artist, she participated in a live studio event with Seu Jorge and other selected Brazilian stars to collect funds in support of the artist retirement home “Retiro dos Artistas” in Rio de Janeiro.
Since 2000, Mafalda and her husband/manager Marco Bisconti established their independent “MPI” record label in Brazil in order to pursue Mafalda’s vision of how Italian music could be explored and adapted to other cultures without the constraints of commercial interests.
From the freedom of expression that her own label afforded, her passion for graphic design and packaging flourished and expanded as did the modern technology of social media where her company has always been on the cusp of what the possibilities are.
Her immersion into the world of design provided her with a creative outlet into one more classic Italian discipline, fashion design. Since 2013 she has been designing her own original stage wardrobe, enabling her to define herself from record cover art, to stage scenery, to website and every step along the way for a conceptual package that completes her artistic evolution.
After her enthusiastic reception to her successful EXPO 2015 performance in Milan at the invitation of APEX-BRASIL (Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency), Mafalda felt it was the right time to expand her musical horizons from her Sao Paulo headquarters and reach out to Milan and New York. Milan being her birthplace, New York City being her constant source of inspiration from her jazz club performances and partnership with her NY guitarist Paul Ricci, but most of all, both cities are hubs of conceptual integration that capture the energy of what she sets out to project in her music in melding jazz and Bossa nova with sophisticated Italian aesthetics.
And so, 2015 marked the year that Mafalda embarked on a musical trip through her stylizations of the great composers from Italy, Brazil, America and France. Since then, her professional life has taken on a new dimension with international booking and performances and projects in Portugal, Germany, South America, Brazil and the United States with initiatives at trade fairs such as “MIDEM”, “APAP”, “WOMEX” and “JAZZAHEAD”.
Since the start of her professional career in Brazil in 1996, Mafalda has always promoted integration between Brazil and Italy. In that role dating back to 2003 to the present she is a frequent participant on Italy’s number one “RADIO1 RAI” network as both commentator and artist on the programs “Brasil” and “RAI Stereonotte” hosted by Max De Tomassi.
In performing both in Brazil and Italy, her career in Italy includes several important projects like her “Live in Italia” DVD (2008) that mixed her Brazilian band in Italy with Italian soloists and American jazz musicians, her appearance at the “International Accordion Festival” in Castelfidardo (2010) with both Italian and Brazilian musicians, and numerous appearances and collaborations on stages, radio and TV including participations with Italian artists Bungaro and Mariella Nava and expatriate American jazz pianist Mike Mellilo.
Mafalda was also selected for featured performances in the official calendar at the “Midem Fringe” music fair in Cannes, France in 2010 and in 2015 was featured worldwide on Rai International TV in a 10 episode weekly segment dedicated to Italian songs related to immigration.
2015 marked a new phase in Mafalda’s artistic life when she decided to give a twist to her career with the “eMPathia Jazz duo” project together with long time musical director and NY guitarist Paul Ricci. The artistic stars lined up between the three poles of Sao Paulo, Milan and New York giving new life to her ever evolving jazz expression that begged to be free. Launching the project at Italy’s renowned “Musicultura Festival” in Macerata in January 2015, the duo has since gone on to record a trilogy of CD’s (“Empathia”/2015, “Inside”/2016, “Cool Romantics”/2018) in a sound that documents the evolution of an arranging and improvisational style in a singular voice that could only be the result of this long career trajectory.
The duo moved on to perform at the “European Jazz Expo”/Sardinia (2015), “Casa del Jazz”/Rome (2015), “Jazz Sotto Le Stelle”/Pietrelcina (2016), “San Severino Blues Festival”/Marche (2017), “Ancona Jazz Summer” (2017) “Udine Jazzfest”(2018), “Empoli Jazzfest,”/Florence (2018), “Sant’Elpido Jazzfest” (2018) and other jazz festivals and clubs throughout the country to critical acclaim by Gerlando Gatto, Alberto Bazzurro, and Stefano Dentice among others.
Their success generated appearances on TV (Tg2, Tg3, Rai News, Tgcom24), on radio (RADIO1 RAI, Radio 24, Cittá Futura, IsoRadio, Radio Popolare Milan) and in print, leading to Mafalda’s nomination in the category of best interpreter for the prestigious “Targa Tenco” award (2015), her designation as one of the 10 best jazz vocalists in Italy’s “JAZZIT” magazine readers poll two years in a row (2018-19) and an entire chapter in the noted Italian jazz critic Gerlando Gatto’s book “L’Altra Metà del Jazz” (The Other Half of Jazz) dedicated to significant women in jazz from around the world. With their eyes on Europe, the duo has also performed in Munich and in Bremen where they were twice selected for the “Club Night” programming of the “JAZZAHEAD” music fair 2017-18
Always musically curious and open to new experiences in Brazil, Mafalda has continued her love of exploring new encounters on stage in Italy and has performed there with noted American jazz pianist Art Hirahara and Italian jazz artists Antonio Onorato, Marco Pacassoni, Giovanni Falzone and Giovanni Ceccarelli among others.
In her newest project “SENSORIAL – Portraits in Bossa & Jazz”, she performed a November 2019 six city tour of major Italian winter jazz festivals (“Casa del Jazz”/Rome, “JazzMi”/Milan, “Villa Redenta”/Spoleto, “Teatro Feronia”/Marche region, “Note Nuove Jazzfest”/Gorizia and “Padova Jazz”) with her NY band made up of Paul Ricci, Harvie S, John Di Martino and Victor Jones, and was met with standing ovations in anticipation of the albums 2020 release that features one of a kind interpretations of works by Brazilian composers.
In 2015, after several well received but sporadic concerts that gave Mafalda some visibility in NY, she decided to bring her “eMPathia Jazz Duo” with Paul Ricci to town and her talent and powerful performances opened the doors to clubs like Mezzrow, Jazz Forum, Zinc Bar and Trumpets and the legendary Birdland where she has performed to sold out crowds. The duo has also been a regular on Columbia University’s WKCR radio annual tribute to Jobim and at NY University’s Italian cultural center “Casa Zerilli-Marimò”.
Mafalda, in her ongoing relationship with voice and guitar, has recorded with NY studio guitar legend Gene Bertoncini and has performed at the “Rocky Mountain Archtop Guitar Festival” and KUVO radio in Denver (2019) with the eMPathia Jazz duo. At the invitation of the legendary guitar maker John Monteleone, the duo has performed for his “Guitar Heroes” exhibition at NY’s Metropolitan Museum (2011) and in a film about his life recorded at the “Museu del Violino” in Cremona, Italy (2019). The film, slated for release in 2020, also includes performances by Mark Knopfler, Ben Harper, Julian Lage and David Grisman.
The “eMPathia Jazz Duo” has recorded: “Empathia”/2015, “Inside”/2016 and “Cool Romantics”/2018, the last two of which were produced in NY by “Grammy” winner Jeff Jones and all 3 feature imaginative arrangements on classic compositions from the Italian, French, Brazilian and American songbooks.
Mafalda’s impact on the NY club scene resounded so much with both singers and musicians, that it was a logical decision to expand on the duo format with Ricci to include a quintet of noted jazz musicians documenting her new project “SENSORIAL – Portraits in Bossa & Jazz”. Recorded in two afternoons at Brooklyn’s “Acoustic Recording New York” studio, percussionists Will Calhoun and Rogerio Boccato, pianist Art Hirahara, bassists Essiet Okon Essiet and Harvie S and drummer Victor Jones deliver a unique take on the Brazilian songbook captured not only on CD (mixed and mastered by David Darlington) but also on video (by Sara Pettinella).
Immediately upon release of Sensorial, Mafalda’s single “A Felicidade” was chosen by Jazziz magazine in their weekly feature New Music Mondays. (June 29th,2020)
In the 1980’s in Italy, Mafalda earned a degree in computer analysis and information engineering before leaving her professional career behind to pursue singing.
In 1999, taking advantage of her familiarity with the computer world, she launched her first website which was also the very first official artist website on the burgeoning Brazilian platform “UOL – Universo On Line”
Ever since 2010, Mafalda has taken a hands on approach and dedicated much of her time in the projection, creation and growth management of her social media platforms. From that time on there have been a string of 8 official websites that have accompanied her career until the present, all beautifully designed and rich in video and audio content. Following the same criteria of quality, on January 10th, 2020 her new website “Sensorial” debuted to accompany the promotion of her new recording of the same name.
Mafalda Minnozzi’s official Facebook page with almost 70,000 followers:
The Facebook page dedicated to her parallel project the eMPathia Jazz Duo with 14,000 followers
Instagram is also o great resource for interaction between Mafalda and her friends, fans and followers that recently has surpassed 11,000 members:
The Instagram profile for eMPathia Jazz duo has also motivated an enthusiastic fan base of almost 7,000 members:
YouTube is undoubtably the strongest element of Mafalda’s presence on the web in that it presents her music and also the one with the most investment behind it in terms of music and videos over the many years of her career.
Her two channels are extremely rich in content considering that the channels feature almost 400 videos that have generated almost 1 million views.
All in total this body of work has generated over a million visualizations.
Recently Twitter has also become an important part of Mafalda’s social interaction.
Regardless of where she goes or what language she sings in, Mafalda searches out rare beauty to be found in every angle of her life and music. From her upbringing in her parents gourmet restaurant that nurtured her refined ability as a chef, always meticulously choosing her ingredients and presenting stunningly prepared tables with an eye for chromaticism, to the cultivation of her great passion for the classic Italian painters where she loses herself in that very same chromaticism, to her love of fashion design that expresses itself in the beauty of her stage wardrobe and finally full circle back to her music which could only be defined as sensorial in its integration of all these inspirations.
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 transmits an apparent innocence that is still pure sensuality….. the energy of jazz, with the Brazilian rhythm and the Italian spirit, resulting in a captivating and relaxing work…”
– La Habitacion Del Jazz – Spain
“…bossa and jazz came together perfectly – of course, thanks to the art of Mafalda Minnozzi.”
– Jazz Square – Russia
“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, writer and music critic at “A proposito di jazz”)
“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)
“She expertly handles the dynamics and projection with grace and deep emotional impact, suggesting a sort of imaginary bridge connecting Italy, the United States and Brazil…”
– Stefano Dentice (Italian Jazz Critic at “ITALIAINJAZZ”)
“The Italian singer Mafalda Minnozzi literally raised the audience with jazzy versions of classics.”
– Carlos Calado (Brazilian Jazz author and critic at “FOLHA de S.PAULO”)
“She was an amazing revelation. Mafalda Minnozzi is fantastic!”
– Humphrey Inzillo (Argentine Jazz critic and author at “LA NACION”)