Influenced by some of Portugal’s biggest names in hip-hop and rap, from Chullage to Valete, the music that rang out through her youth in Amadora’s impoverished Cova da Moura, Mynda Guevara is a young revolution in the country’s musical scene, carving out her own path and leaving behind a trail for others to follow.
If you didn’t guess from her name, you’d get it from her lyrics. Never shying away from the brutal truth of life in difficult places, Guevara spins tales of resilience and resistance, building on the foundations set by her forefathers.
One could be easily mistaken by her gentle demeanour that underneath is an equally gentle spirit. The lioness she has tattooed on her arm represents a wild side, a side that could be missed if you walked past her in the street, but one you’d experience like a shockwave if you listened to her rap.
Linguistically, Guevara is already different from many of her peers. Rapping in Creole, rather than Portuguese, her audience is that of like-minded people. Those who understand what and why - instead of people only there for smash hits. Reflecting upon her childhood, Guevara remembers there were many ways to get through life - good paths and bad paths. The latter, she recalls, was far easier to follow. The former, though, was the path she continually tried to remain on, guided by the loving advice of her mother.
It would be easy to take a dismissive stance against such a place, but it is what it is. Her life was given, not chosen and it is exactly because she has embraced this, rather than running away, that the young rapper was able to forge a career in music - documenting all of these memories in such a way that her thirst for knowledge and desire to make change can manifest into something tangible (and highly replayable).
Through a serendipitous moment, her older brother - whose influence ranged from her adopting the name of Che Guevara, to playing her the rappers she still adores - took her along to a local studio after hearing his younger sister sing around the house. They needed a female vocalist and, in Portuguese rap, this is a rare commodity. The emancipatory experience of performing freed her in a way that everyday life was unable to. It is live, with a mic in her hand, that she grows wings.
Because of her love of rap and the effect that it’s had on her life, Guevara takes the stance of an activist in her songs, urging other reluctant female voices to push forward and make themselves heard. Guevara never made it easy for herself to create this path. Female, rap, Creole - all things that set her and her music apart. For some, it might be a turn off. But that doesn’t bother her. She’s speaking to those people that are like her, that could use a guiding word to nudge them towards their own version of greatness.
Although writing largely in Creole, Guevara has made songs in Portuguese and hopes to do more in the future. The reason? Maybe the people that need most to hear her songs can’t because of a language barrier. Always underlined by a strong message, Mynda Guevara is an inspiring voice, one that stands out just by being there. If that means rapping in another language, in another style, that is what she's willing to do.
Listen to her here on Spotify.
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