Minister of Culture of Cape Verde
Matias de Sousa
Lúcio Matias de Sousa Mendes, better known by his stage name of Mário Lúcio, earned a grant from the Cuban government to study law in Havana in 1984. He returned to Cape Verde six years later to work as a lawyer. In 1992, he was appointed cultural advisor to the Ministry of Culture. From 1996 to 2001, he was a member of the Cape Verdean parliament. Cultural Ambassador of Cape Verde, he was decorated in 2006 with the Volcano Medal, with Cesária Évora, becoming the youngest artist to receive that honour. He is the author of several books, ranging from poetry, to plays and fiction. Composer, multi-instrumentalist and researcher of traditional music, Mário Lúcio Sousa founded the group Simentera, which marked the seminal return of Cape Verdean music to its acoustic roots and claimed mainland African culture as an integral part of Cape Verdean cultural identity. His ideas brought him an appointment as advisor to the commissioner responsible for Expo ‘92 in Seville. At the fair — and later at Expo ‘98 in Lisbon — he developed musical projects to represent his country. He is a founding member and director of the Quintal da Música association, which runs a private cultural centre dedicated to the promotion of traditional music. Children can learn and develop their talents there.