Vocalist and composer Catarina Cardeal has wrapped her Portuguese heritage around her singing career from an early age. Singing with family at campfires and summer vacations led to formal training that has intertwined the influences of her father's lessons, inspirational mentors in the community and the essential Fado songbook. Her first recording and CBC radio appearance was at 10 years of age as a featured soloist in the Phillip Pocock Family of Schools Choir singing “O Holy Night”. Later that year she and her sister were asked to record on the Christmas album "But I'm just a Kid". With their father as their guide, she and her sister were performing regularly. From the age of 15 Catarina began working with Paramount Canada’s Wonderland as a singer, dancer and team leader until she turned 18. She continued performing regulary and was awarded many awards and grants.
In the year 2000, Catarina competed internationally and won the award for best interpretation in Portugal's Festival de Comunidades, broadcast by RTP (Portuguese National Radio and Television). The following year she was featured on the soundtrack for the Portuguese film Gente Feliz com Lagrimas, produced by Zeca Medeiros.
In 2004, Catarina was invited to sing Fado with Canadian Multiple Juno Award winner, Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana for the very succesful •Global Divas - An International Celebration of Women and Song benefiting St. Stephen's Community House. . Catarina invited Mike Siracusa to join. They gladly accepted the invitation to return the following year.
Since 2003, award winning vocalist/composer, Catarina Cardeal and respected producer/composer Mike Siracusa have been performing their unique brand of music incorporating Blues, Jazz and Fado with a twist. This creativity has not gone unnoticed; within their first year Fado Blues 15 was performing to sell out audiences in clubs in Toronto and throughout Canada. A favorite of the CBC with several sold out shows, Live at Glenn Gould with Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana, 2 live recordings, and featured on numerous CBC national Radio and T.V. shows.
Catarina Cardeal and Mike Siracusa are pushing the definition of Portuguese Fado to new areas that touch the universal exploration of blues - passionate Portuguese song, with a contemporary twist. This fusion has garnered attention from around the globe.
“Fado Blues”, Catarina Cardeal and Mike Siracusa’s first CD was released in June 2007 with the support of CBC Radio, The "Fado Blues" recording was produced in Toronto at the Glenn Gould Studio, CBC Radio Studio 211 by Malcolm Gould and live by Ron Skinner at Lula Lounge.
In their own words... "Fado Blues was created unintentionally, out of a desire to play music we love and out the enjoyment we felt playing together. Over the last years, whether it's been a concert hall or a café, Fado Blues has grown out of divine moments, when you can hear, and feel, that special connection between the instruments and voice, between the audience and musicians. It is a blessing to be a part of this creation. We hope you enjoy it." - Catarina Cardeal + Mike Siracusa | 15.
Catarina and Mike were recently invited to perform and present an award at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards held at The Dominion-Chalmers United Church in Ottawa, Ontario.
Described as “Portuguese Fado - Canadian style”, their music is being featured on episodes of the new original Canadian drama series, Cra$h & Burn. A Whizbang Films and Canwest Production. The series aires on Showcase and is executive produced by Paul Gross, Frank Siracusa, and Malcolm MacRury. The series’ musical director is Jack Lenz.
In 2006 Catarina was invited to lend her voice and talent to help and provide insight in developing the character of Inês for the Canadian Opera “Ines” by Toronto’s award winning Queen of Puddings Music Theatre.
As a teacher Catarina heads the Vocal Faculty at Guitar Workshop Plus, taught for several years with Merriam School of Music, Camp Rock, Merriam School of Music, privately and workshops through WOMT at the University of Toronto.
Catarina works professionally with several projects, most particularly with her guitarist collaborator, Mike Siracusa.
Mike Siracusa comes by his love of music naturally. His mother was an opera singer in her hometown of Bari, Italy, and his father loved nothing better than to play Italian songs on guitar or harmonica after a hard day's work. His artistic family includes a beloved grandfather who was a painter and carpenter, highly acclaimed Canadian film director Frank Siracusa, and award winning singer Angela Siracusa. Mike's vital Italian family experience meant songs at the kitchen table and every day life. He began to teach himself guitar from age seven and drums at eleven, and has spent more than 25 years developing, enjoying and teaching his craft.
As a producer, arranger, musical director, session player and performer, Mike has traveled and toured with many acts. He has contributed his talent to theatrical works, jingles, television scores, concerts and festivals. His work has been featured on The Life Network, Global, CTS, CBC, Q107, THE EDGE 102, and 97.3 Hits FM.
Mike Siracusa is the Director of IMC Camp Rock. The Head of Percussion at Guitar Workshop Plus, and the founder of the BAND CHOPS program at Merriam School of Music.
He is currently working in many different bands from contemporary to folk, most particularly in conjunction with Catarina Cardeal in the fado blues ensemble known as "15". Mike brings his blues guitar and percussion training to this fusion with European tradition.
"15" Live at the Backroom Studios 2006
CBC Sounds of the season Christmas CD Released Oct 24/2006
"15" Fado Blues Released June 20, 2007
Here and Now
Big City, Small World
The World, In Performance
Sounds of the Season
Radio Canada – Montreal
Opening Night/ Sunday Encore