Born in Alvorinha, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, Raul Mendes was attracted to music group while young and began having early instruction from his father when he was eleven years old.
He studied harmonica with Siegfried Sugg and Thilo Krassman, later founding the “Trio
Harmonia” in 1958. With Mendes as principal soloist and leader, the group won considerable
acclaim and 1st place in the following international competitions:
1963 World Harmonica Championship, Strasbourg, France.
1969 World Harmonica Championship, Winterthour, Switzerland.
1973 World Harmonica Championship, Ieper, Belgium.
1975 World Harmonica Championship, Offenbourg, Germany.
In 1974, in collaboration with his daughters Ana Paula and Maria Luisa he founded the
“Mendes Harmonica Trio” which won 1st place in the following events:
1987 World Harmonica Championship, Jersey, UK.
1989 World Harmonica Championship, Trossingen, Germany.
1993 World Harmonica Championship, Trossingen, Germany.
In 1989, as an offshoot of the “Mendes Harmonica Trio” Mendes started the duo, “Raul & Luisa” with his daughter Maria Luisa, winning 1st place in the Duet Category of the 1989 World Harmonica Championship in Trossingen, Germany.
In Granada, in addition to taking 1st place with his trio, Mendes also won individually, the Honor Prize as best participant in the festival.
In addition to extensive concertizing throughout Portugal, Mendes has also performed widely throughout Spain, France (Paris Olympia), Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Lithuania, the former Soviet Union, Brazil, Israel, Morocco and the USA (Ritz Carlton Hotel, Chicago).
He has recorded seven albums/CD’s, one of which was distinguished by Radio Renascença, Lisbon, as Best Instrumental Recording of the Year produced in Portugal.
In addition to being awarded the Prestige Prize by the Casa da Imprensa (Press House), Town Hall of Seixal, Portugal, awarded the Mendes Harmonica Trio the Silver Medal of Merit and a Vote of Praise for the eagerly-desired World Tri-Championship Title.
As a soloist, Mendes’ prestigious career has included the following performances:
- Toledo - Spanish Fantasy, James Moodyy, Army Band conducted by Major Jacinto Montezo. Trinidad Theater, Lisbon Portugal.
- Five Pieces for Harmonica and Orchesttra, Gordon Jacob, Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra conducted by Jean-Marc Burfin. Performances in the Palácio da Vila - Sintra, the National Palace of Ajuda, National Theater Dona Maria II, and the National Palace of Queluz, Portugal.
By express invitation from the EXPO 98 organization, the Mendes Harmonica Trio also performed three unforgettable concerts in the Dock Amphitheater of the EXPO 98 site.
Quoting the last paragraph of the Vote of Praise proposed by the Mayor of Town Hall in
Seixal, Portugal, and unanimously registered in the Minutes of the Meeting:
“The Town Hall of Seixal, convened in Ordinary Session this 22nd of September 1993, while reaffirming its willingness to continue collaborating with all types of cultural endeavors of the County, has decided to approve a vote of praise for the group “Mendes Harmonica Trio” which, in view of their three-time title as World Champions, have brought dignity to the art of excelling in music, to the County and to its people.”
Mendes Harmónica Trio CD - "Tri-Campeões Mundiais"
2. No Tue Poema
3. Canção Do Mar
4. Minha 5ª Sinfonia
5. 5ª Sinfonia "Exerto do 1° Andamento da 5ª Sinfonia
6. O Tema É Fado
7. Marcha Ingénua
9. Júlia Florista
10. Dança Das Horas "Excerto de Dança Das Horas da Ópera La Giaconda"
11. Guiotarras De Lisboa
12. Cantigas Do Maio
13. O Hohem Da Concertina
14. Menina Estáa à Janela
Trio Harmonia - "Tri-Campeões Mundo"
1. Dança Do Sabre
2. Desgarrada Do Vale Santarém
3. Gioconda - Dança Das Horas
4. Serra Do pilar
5. Voo Do Moscardo
6. Corridinho Virtuoso
7. Cavalaria Ligeira
8. Baile Ribatejano
9. Guilherme Tell
10. Vira Dos Malmequeres
11. Dança Hungara N° 1
12. Ariano Da Beira
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