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The music of Cape Verde and Angola has been transformed into an international phenomena by the Cape Verde-born and Brockton, MA-based Mendes Brothers João and Ramiro. In addition to three albums of their own, the Mendes Brothers have helped to promote the music of their homeland as owners of the MB record label. Artists that have released albums on the label include Mirri Lobo, Djosinha, Waldemar Bastos, Sãozinha, and Cesaria Evora. Born in the small village of Palonkon on the island of Fogo, the Mendes Brothers emigrated to the United States in 1978. Shortly after their arrival, the brothers formed a band to perform Cape Verdean and Angolan music. In 1981, Haitian keyboardist Nono took over the band's leadership, composing original songs and serving as musical director. After studying classical guitar, Ramiro Mendes enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston to study commercial arranging and film scoring. While still at the school, Mendes produced an album, Andorinha Debolta, for vocalist Sãozinha. The album was a critical success with one tune, "The Whole World Sings," going on to win Cape Verde's annual international song contest. Mendes went on to produce more than 20 additional albums before graduating from the school. Launching MB Records in 1991, the Mendes Brothers began work on their debut album, Palonkon. The album was released two years later. ~ Craig Harris