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Magda Machado Garshol was born in Goias, Brazil, on the Piracanjuba River. She learned to sing with her father's guitar and her mother's beautiful voice. She left Goias in 1970, during the military dictatorship that dismantled her family. She went to New York and, after graduating from C.W. Post College in Languages and Education, she sang at the Feitico, in Greenwich Village, with Brazilian guitarist Beso. Maguinha met percussionist Dom Um Romao of Weather Report and joined his band. She worked with Sam Elyachar, Alph Edwards, Romero Lubambo and Nilson Matta, whose latest work is with Yo-Yo-Ma. In 1986, Maguinha traveled to Italy for 10 years. She came to Miami in 1997, from Mill Valley, California, where she worked with author and photojournalist Doug Menuez. Of Miami, she says: "I was puzzled to see how, in spite of the many cultures thriving here, every group stuck to its own kind. Miami had everything to be a vibrant cultural center, where all could celebrate and appreciate their differences, yet each group was out of touch with the other.”
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