Umbelina began playing harmonica at age 11, listening to music from other Portuguese-speaking countries and his own island's rhythms. He formed his first band, Os Diablos do Ritmo, in 1967, attempting to revitalize local musical traditions. He moved to Lisbon in 1970 and Paris in 1978 after having a difficult time making ends meet as a musician. He returned to recording in the early '80s, combining local rhythms with Brazilian influences.
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