Biography

Salvador Embalo ‘Tchando’ comes from a small country on the west coast of Africa, named Guinea-Bissau. He was born in Bafatá (east) on March 22nd. 1957. Belonging to the Fulani tribe, surrounded by the Mandinka traditions, Tchando expresses the fusion of these two great African cultures.

As a child, Tchando learned to play several traditional Fulani instruments, such as the don-don or tama (a drum), molla and hóddo (lutes of 3, 7 or 9 strings respectively).

He settled in Bissau in 1965, where he lived in the Mandinka and Biafada dominated district (2 Guinean-Bissau ethnic groups), having quickly learned to play percussion instruments such as “Cutil N'Dium” and “Cutil Ba”. Later on, he learned to play the six-string guitar that eventually became his favourite instrument.

Tchando's interests are not limited to music alone. He was always a great supporter of justice. Always aware of the constant violations of human rights in his country, he decided to confront his government and the single ruling party. This positioning against social injustice and the then repressive politics was taken as a counter-revolutionary act. As a consequence, Tchando was imprisoned during two long and gloomy years, 1977-1979, accused of treason to the homeland.

It required the intervention of the Amnesty International in order for the Bissau-Guinean authorities finally try his case in a High Military Court, along with other comrades in the same case, twenty months after the date of their arrest.

From 1982 to 1988 Tchando worked as a session musician and arranger in both Portugal and France and participated in the building up of several bands & artists as ‘Issabary’ and ‘Kabá Mané’ (he produces 2 albums for this artist - Chefo Mae-Mae and Kunga).

Tchando settled in Denmark in 1988 and since then has joined many bands as singer, composer and guitarist. In 1990, he participated in the recordings as a co-arranger and choir singer on the song ‘Light In Your Heart’ written by Bernie Taupin and Martin Page, for the top-selling album ‘Dark Passion’ by the Danish pop-rock singer, Hanne Boel.

In November 1992 he released his first album titled "Naton" (Guest), which was immediately positioned at the top of "World Music Charts Europe". 2 songs of this album were included in compilations like, Big Noise (Ryko Disc - USA ) and Tropical Music - Germany.

In 1994, Tchando decided to return to its origins Fulani and Mandinka. Sponsored by the Danish Association of Composers, D.J.B.F.A. he left to Guinea-Bissau on a journey of true musical research during a period of six months.

Tchando was hired as a music composer for 3 plays in Denmark: In 1992, 1995 and 2005. The latter as part of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the birth of H.C. Andersen, the Danish poet and writer, world famous for his fairytales.

In 1996, Tchando participated in a special Gala Evening as a guest performer for Manu Dibango’s ‘Wakafrika’ together with Angelique Kidjo, Lokua Kanza, Hugh Masekela, etc...

In 2000 Tchando joined the band “Bliss” and recorded 3 albums (After Life-2001, Moon of Langa-2003 and Quiet Letters-2005) as song-writer and lead singer together with Alexandra Hamnede from “Bliss” (Sweden) and Sophie Barker from the band “Zero 7” (UK), as guest singer.
Several songs of “Bliss” have been used in TV series and documentary programs such as “They Made History” (DR1) in Denmark, “CSI” and “The Black Donnellys” (CBS) in the United States.

In 2007, Tchando wrote part of the lyrics and participated in the recordings as a singer on the song "Good" for the album“What’s Next” of the German-Liberian singer Pat Appleton (Berlin).

In 2008 the “Bliss” song “Kissing” co-written by Tchando has been included in the sound track compilation for the movie "Sex and The City" (USA), inspired by the famous American series of the same name.

Currently, Tchando is involved in the development of several cultural projects for Gunea-Bissau, supported by the NGO “Kultura i nô Firkidja” (Culture is our Pillar), of which he is co-founder, in collaboration with national experts on cultural heritage, to promote the concept of the cultural diplomacy for the building of peace, stability and progress in Guinea-Bissau.

Tchando made his debut as a writer with a fairytale “Nima” - the saga of Sira”. This work will soon be released by the National Institute of Studies and Research of Guinea-Bissau, INEP (Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisa).