Back in 1990, before the great success of Cesaria Evora, Boy Ge Mendes put the music of Cape Verde on the map with his hit song "Grito de Bo Fidge".
Born in 1952 as Gerard Mendes, Boy Ge Mendes' adventure began in Dakar, Senegal. His father was a punch card operator and his mother a seamstress. They were living in Dakar like many Cape Verdeans. In Félix Faure Street, downtown, Gerard Mendes grew up among friends from Mali, Senegal, Guinea and Cape Verde. He developed a taste for singing in his Catholic school choir and at parties and fairs. Later, Mendes started to perform at seedy piano bars like the Marseille, the Black & White and the Alhabama.
In those days he sang cover songs by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Rhythm and Blues and Salsa, in French and phonetically in English or Spanish. In 1967 Mendes put together his first group, the Beryls, with one of his brothers. This marked the start of a hectic life of concerts and festivals throughout Senegal. Mendes began to build a very good reputation. At the end of the 60s he left for France where he joined another one of his brothers. It was a false start. Two years later, he was happy to return to his favorite hangouts in Dakar, but the return was temporary.
In 1976 he set off again for France. The following year his brother Jean-Claude, Luis Silva and Emmanuel Lima asked him to join them in forming an exclusively Cape Verdean group. Created in Joinville in the Paris region, the Cabo Verde Show became the star group of the expatriate communities in Paris and Holland where they played regularly. For Gerard Mendes this was a crucial period. Suddenly an irresistible urge began to grow in him. Until then his native music had not been a priority but he now felt the need to compose and write as a Cape Verdean.
He contributed three original songs to the group's second album and they proved popular with the community. This success encouraged him to go further. Leaving the Cabo Verde Show, he and his brother launched a new project: Mendes and Mendes. Three albums later he put Paris behind him. Ten years in the gray north was enough. After missing the sea and sun, he moved to Nice in 1983.
Mendes formed a new group called O'asah, the name of a legendary bird. With O'asah he recorded an album and played as opening act at Joao Bosco's concerts in France. In 1990 Mendes recorded the hit song "Grito de Bo Fidge. He became Boy Gé Mendes, which is an allusion to his childhood nickname. After touring France and the United States Boy Gé Mendes decided to take a break. He traveled with his guitar to Brazil, the United States, Senegal and Cape Verde. In 1996, at the Baia das Gatas festival in Sao Vicente, the native island of his mother and girlfriend, he met up with Emmanuel Lima, who had now made his mark as Manu Lima, a key arranger and composer of African music. It was a fresh start. Boy Ge recorded the album "Di Oro" with Manu then chased off after yet another dream.