Formed in Lisbon in late 2006 with João Graça on the violin, Miguel Veríssimo on the clarinet, André Santos on the guitar, João Novais on the doublebass and Francisco Caiado on the percussion set, Melech Mechaya are appointed today as the first and most prominent klezmer band in Portugal. The sound of the group is also inspired by the portuguese, balkan and arabian music, and Salvatore Esposito, from the italian magazine BlogFoolk, considered them to be “one of the most interesting cases of the portuguese musical scene”.
After the release of two discs in 2008 and 2009 – the EP “Melech Mechaya” and the LP “Budja Ba”, featuring Tucanas – Melech Mechaya came out in October 2011 with the album “Down Here Everything Is Simple”. This record features the fado singer Mísia and the american trumpet player Frank London, leader and founder of the Klezmatics (Grammy Award winners in 2006). “Down Here Everything Is Simple” was reffered to as one of the best albums of the year by Blitz magazine, and featured the Spanish National Radio’s Mundofonias’s top for favourite records os 2011. It was internationally released in May 2012 and conquered the european critics with “its own musical identity” (Eelco Schilder, from the prestigious german magazine FolkWorld).
The long tours of Melech Mechaya brought their “simply electrifying” (João Bonifácio, Público) shows to Portugal’s every corner. The quintet have performed in important festivals such as Rock In Rio Lisbon, Super Bock Surf Fest, FMM Sines, CCB Fora de Si, Festa do Avante!, Maré de Agosto or Bons Sons Festival, and also did the opening act for Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra’s concert in Lisbon. The tour for the new album sold out several theaters throughout the country, and included important venues like Casa da Música (Oporto) or Cinema São Jorge (Lisbon).
Melech Mechaya’s international career has been growing rapidly. With a strong presence in Spain, where they were headlinners of several festivals and shared stages with artists like Portico Quartet and Kroke, Melech Mechaya have performed in Croatia, Brazil and Cape Verde. Their concerts were broadcasted in the Spanish National Radio and in Cape Verdian National Radio, they were elected “Awesome Contemporary Indie Band” next to Beirut and Gogol Bordello by the american KJHK Radio, and their last record was album of the week on the prestigious radioshow Fahrenheit from Italy’s Radio 3.
Alongside their work in recording studios and live performances, Melech Mechaya frequently work in theater and cinema. They have been producing their own music videos, and two of them were distinguished in several film festivals in Portugal, Germany and United States. They wrote the complete soundtrack for Joaquim Horta’s short-film “Shortcut To Ivanov”, and the song “Los Bentos” features Silvio Soldini’s “Il Comandante I La Cicogna”’s trailer, released in October 2012 by Warner Brothers. Several other songs also feature the soundtracks of numerous short-films, and “Bulgar From Odessa” featured the soundtrack of the top-rated soap-opera “Dancin’ Days”. Melech Mechaya have also done the musical direction of various theater shows such as “Ivanov”, with the theater company “A Truta”, and “Time To Be Reborn” with the prestigious “La Fura Dels Baus”. This last show was part of Guimarães 2012 – European Capital of Culture.
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