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Luis Martelo is the face of a mural by international graffiti artist VILE, in Montijo – Portugal

Luis Martelo mural by international graffiti artist VILE in Montijo

Luís Martelo, the award-winning Portuguese composer and trumpet player based in Taunton, Somerset, is the protagonist of Vile’s mural located in Montijo. The artist Vile proposed to the government the idea of portraying Luís Martelo’s image in a mural, and will be officially inaugurated on June 22nd at 5.30pm in a ceremony where Luís will be present, in a 5-story building in the Esteval neighbourhood. 

This work is part of a campaign promoted by Projeto (C)ASAS, whose goal is to raise awareness and demystify stereotypes related to homeless people.

Luís Martelo, who is currently successful in the music world, having won the silver medal for best instrumentalist at the Global Music Awards in March, and who recently recorded for famous international singers and movie’s soundtracks, went through a homeless experience that lasted three years before gaining recognition and awards. The mural was created as a way to convey this personal story and also to promote empathy and understanding towards those facing homelessness and vulnerability.

The initiative to create this mural is part of the (C)ASAS Project – Capacitar para Incluir, a proposal submitted by the municipality of Montijo to the Regional Operational Program Lisbon 2020. The main goal of this project is to promote social inclusion, combat poverty and discrimination, with a specific focus on the insertion of homeless people in society.

Check out the artist:

Who is Luis Martelo
Luis Martelo was born on July 6, 1989, in Barcouço, municipality of Mealhada. He grew up in a humble family. At the age of 7 he joined the Lyra Barcoucense 10 d’Agosto Philharmonic Band, where he started playing music. At 11 he started playing the trumpet, by the hands of Fernando Vidal, at the time First Sergeant of the Army Band. It was also by his hand that he joined the military career in the Army Symphonic Band in Queluz where he played alongside him.

Later on was transferred to the Évora military band, in a new city and with a sudden freedom, Luís is unable to conciliate military life with night life and new experiences and leaves the military band after almost 5 years.

Back home, he realizes that his parents have split up and he suddenly finds himself without a home, without a ground. He heads to Vila Nova de Mil Fontes where he lives for three years as a homeless and had to sell his trumpet to eat.

He decides after that period, with help, to move to London, where he has worked on construction sites, in factories, and where he meets his wife. Moves 4 years later to Taunton and It is at this point that he applies to an orchestra and everything changes. A lot of effort, dedication, and study allow Luís to get back to the level he always knew he was at.

During the pandemic he conquered the country by playing on the streets, in nursing homes, hospitals, and for the most vulnerable, always from a distance outdoors, and decides to record his first album with musicians like Mark Upton who plays with Andrea Bocelli and Rod Stewart; Rudney Machado, Ivete Sangalo’s trumpet player; Diogo Duque, HMB’s trumpet player, and Salvador Sobral, Gonçalo Seco from Kumpania Algazarra, Sandro Félix from Boss AC, and many other top world names.

With this album he wins two silver medals at the Global Music Awards in the USA. The following year wins again as best emerging artist and best band. On March 31, 2023 he wins again the silver medal for best instrumentalist with a version of “Adeus Tristeza” by Fernando Tordo. This theme belongs to his new album Roots, due to be released in late September and promises to be the artist’s best work to date.

Luís is proof that what happens to us in life doesn’t define us and that vulnerability can make us stronger.

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