Tcheka & Modeste
@ the Purcell Room
18 November 2006
Photographs in order
Click an image to enlarge.
Manuel Lopes Andrade, aka Tcheka, was born on 20 July 1973 in the
Port of Ribeira Barca, Santa Catarina, district of Santiago, Cape
Verde archipelago. Tcheka’s introduction to the stage came
from performing alongside his father, Nho Raul Andrade, a popular
violinist at local functions. As his father was a disciplined performer,
Tcheka learned quickly and the young disciple would soon develop
his own style based on one of the islands most popular beats ‘Batuque’
(originally played by women).
One of his earliest compositions, “Man’ba des bes kumida
dâ” clearly highlights Tcheka’s potential, and
desire to reach a wider audience.
Tcheka would eventually move to Praia, where he worked as a cameraman
for national television. This change of location and initial choice
of career involved travel, therefore broadening the young man’s
horizons. During his travels, Tcheka met journalist Julio Rodrigues.
The pair clicked immediately and went on to write several songs,
which they performed in the bars of the Cape Verdean capital. The
newly formed duo where joined by other musicians, Perry (percussion)
Kizo (bass) Robert Pemberton (flute) and more recently Raul (percussion).
Tcheka continues to gain new ground in his quest to bring the batuque
beat to a wider audience. His concert at the Purcell Room was lively
and extremely well received by all.
Modeste Hugues Randramahitasoa grew up in Betroka, Southern Madagascar.
Though his mother sings, and his uncle played the accordion, it
was the sound of his neighbour’s guitar that caught his imagination.
“I didn’t start to play until I was about 15 years
old. A neighbour played the guitar and I loved the sounds so much
that I borrowed his and taught myself.”
After Modeste’s neighbour relocated, Modeste was forced to
make his own guitar in his father’s workshop in the local
technical college. Fishing line was used for strings. This would
mean the guitar had to be held very close to hear the sound. Though
Modeste admits the guitar was probably out of tune, it would be
good enough for him to practise on.
Modeste’s interest in other musical sounds led him to experiment
with other musical instruments, specifically those of the mervan,
the traditional Malagasy instrument, with its box shape and 24 strings,
which is played like the West African Kora. Modeste also listened
to the natural sounds around him, such as birdcalls and whistling
of the shepherds in the hills. He would then attempt to imitate
these sounds on his homemade guitar.
Modeste was encouraged by his father to continue academic studies,
so he studied engineering, and at 26 Modeste left for Bulgaria where
he was awarded a U.N.E.S.C.O scholarship to do a post-graduate in
Modeste worked hard at his studies, but always found time for his
music, and would continue performing at student celebrations. He
met his love, married and moved to Greece where he worked as an
engineer. By the time the couple moved to London in 1996, Modeste
had decided to pursue a career in music.
Modeste currently performs at festivals and clubs in England, France
“… I play every day myself for at least 15 minutes.
Any time life gets difficult and I feel angry or frustrated or London
becomes a bit too hectic, I just take up my guitar and play. It
keeps me cool.”
Tcheka – vocals & guitar
Modeste – vocals & guitar
Les Mommsen – guitar
Adriano Pinto - percussion
Adriano Adewale- percussion
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.