Martinho da Vila is a prolific songwriter, with over 40 studio albums spanning 50 years. He is internationally recognised as one of the most influential samba artists of all time. Responsible for some of Brazil’s most cherished songs, he taps into a plethora of genres including bossa nova, traditional samba, regional Brazilian rhythms such as partido alto and samba de roda and also more contemporary pop fusions. Martinho da Vila began his music career writing samba de enredos – songs performed by samba schools at carnival. He has since remained loyal to his samba school roots. After decades he remains a key representative and songwriter for one of the most traditional Rio samba schools, Vila Isabel, where his nickname ‘da Vila’ comes from.
Outside of his music career, Martinho da Vila is also a revered journalist, researcher, cultural activist and author of 13 books. He’s conducted extensive research on Afro-Brazilian musical influences and history as well as Lusophone music worldwide. Since the 1970’s, he’s been a central mediator in Brazil-Africa cultural exchanges, in particular with Angola, and has received several honorary titles and awards for his Pan-Brazil/Africa and Lusophone musical initiatives.