Maria Joao Monteiro Grancha was born in 1956, in Lisbon. When the gymnasium where she worked as a swimming teacher closed, however, a friend suggested that she attend the Hot Club of Lisbon Jazz School. She soon began performing with a band of her own and made a record with Jorge Palma before going on to work on solo projects.

Maria Joao

In 1985 she performed at the Cascais Jazz Festival and then recorded her first albums, Quinteto Maria Joao e Cem Caminhos. She was a 1st prize winner at the San Sebastian Jazz Festival and received the "Nova Gente" award for best female artist of the year.

Maria Joao

She released the album Sol, with the band Cal Viva, on which Maria Joao mixes Jazz with traditional Portuguese music.
Maria Joao

In 1998 Maria Joao and Mario Laginha released the album Cor. The album was inspired by and dedicated to India and Mozambique (where Maria Joao has roots).

In 2000 she released another album Chorinho Feliz.
In 2001, Maria Joao, Mario Laginha, Helge Norbakken and Toninho Ferragutti formed the Mumadji quartet. Mumadji means "Portuguese-European" in Xangana, a Mozambican language.