Ilo Africano Querido Varela Ferreira was born on July 1st 1979 in Mindelo city, Sao Vicente Island, Cape Verde, 500 miles away from Africa’s west coast. After finishing high school he moved to Brazil for 6 years (1999-2005) where he finished his education as an Aircraft Mechanical Engineer at the University of Sáo Paulo (USP) at Sáo Carlos. After finishing College, Ilo returned to CV and decided to be a musician. He worked as a teacher and as a port operator in his father’s company by day, and played CV’s bars and clubs by night, until January 2007. Ilo didn’t know that his neighbor and his father’s friend, Cesária Évora, would bring to CV someone who would give him a chance he didn’t see coming.
In January 2007, on its way to Timbuktu, Jimmy Buffett stopped by CV to refuel his plane and hoping to meet Cesária Évora, and in that process Ilo got the chance to meet him. At the time he had no idea who Jimmy Buffet was and how big he was in country music. But he knew a song he learned to sing when he didn’t understand a word he was singing about. A song written by Jimmy Buffett and Mike Utley, “La Vie Danssante”. It took a few months, until Ilo knew that Jimmy had co-written the song. Although the strong capeverdean music influence surrounding him during his childhood he also grew up listening to rock n’roll, country and world music. His father, Vlú, a great capeverdean musician and songwriter, contributed a lot to his music education. Since he was very young (6 years old) Ilo started drawing his first note on the guitar trying to reproduce what he heard from his father, playing guitar, and the rock n’roll records his father brought home.
As a singer/songwriter, Ilo tends to line up with Pop Rock, and country music styles. Today he’s on the road with his American band and playing with Jimmy on his tour as special guest. By his own words “… to be part of the Buffett’s family on the road is like a rock n’roll dream taking shape. The first show I did with Jimmy got me in front of 57 thousand people from day to night. The biggest crowd I ever seen before was about 3 thousand. It’s being a terrific experience for me to see how this world of rock n’roll works…”
How we met:
We met Ilo through our dear friend, Jimmy Buffett. Ilo had been playing with Jimmy since 2007, and once we heard him sing, we knew why!