SHE MAY BE PERSONABLE, ENGAGING AND CAREFUL WHOM SHE DISSES, BUT THE SHOCKING TRUTH IS THAT MAIUKO IS A ROYAL, AND WE'RE NOT TAKLKING ABOUT ANY OLD TOURIST MAGNET MUSEUM PIECE, THE SINGER IS A DESCENDENT OF A ROYAL REBEL.
"My grandmother Lisa was part of the Swaziland monarchy," says Maiuko with a wry smile. "But she chose to marry a commoner, a white man, actually. She was a very brave woman who was a great inspiration to me". (Kevin Le Gendre - Echoes Magazine)
Not surprisingly Grandma Lisa is one of the most poignant tracks on Maiuko's debut Different Wars. First release on indie label RL-2, the album charts a personal journey from her native Mozambique to London via sojourns in Swaziland and Portugal.
Blessed with a voice that has been likened to "a less raspy Macy Gray, or even the dulcet jazz tones of Erykah Badu" (Wax), Maiuko developed a song writing skill with a little inspiration from the likes of Billie Holiday, Hugh Masekela, Bjork and Massive Attack. Elements of melancholic South African jazz combined with the lo-fi nu-soul grooves feature throughout her music.
A live appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival brought her to the attention of RL-2 producers Maquenzie and Paul Lilly. Her first album Different Wars features outstanding performances from long time Ronnie Scott sideman Dick Pearce on flugelhorn, Sade writing collaborator Martin Ditcham on percussion and Bev Davison on violin. Different Wars has been described as "envelope expanding" with the track 'The Light' winning her the award of best uploaded mp3 track on getoutthere.bt.com as chosen by Mark Brydon of Moloko.
Frequent headliners at Ronnie Scott's, her appearance at the Sony Radio Academy Awards and a European tour lined up for later in the year, all point toward establishing Maiuko as a major profile and voice in the coming year.