mofini.com
biography

Mo's Great Grandfather, regional ruler of central Iran with his bodyguards, 1905.

Mo Fini was born into a Persian textile family in the desert town of Kashan, the home of world-famous carpets. In 1968 he went to England to study. His passion for travelling took him to South America in 1978 for the first time. He immediately fell in love with the land and its people and developed an affinity with the weavers of Peru and Ecuador. When he returned to England he founded Tumi, a small imports business specialising in crafts and textiles made in Latin America.
Taking its name from a ceremonial Inca dagger the 'Tumi' remains one of the most important symbols of heritage for the Latin American people. 2003 complete 25 years of trade for Tumi in Latin America and the Caribbean. Tumi started with a modest capital and by the mid '80s grew to be the biggest exporter of handicrafts from Latin America. Trading with some 10 countries the workforce during this period grew to several thousand individuals and families.

Morales family and Mo after family baptism. Otavalo, Ecuador.

Tumi's aim has always been to bring these two worlds together through fair trade and to promote Latin American and Caribbean culture. This has been brought about by concerted effort in the cultural arena. In 1985 Mo Fini mounted a major exhibition of Peruvian textiles at the Commonwealth Institute in London. The exhibition was accompanied by a book entitled 'The Weavers of Ancient Peru' written by Mo Fini. During the six weeks of the exhibition an estimated 25,000 people visited. In 1987 Mo Fini, accompanied by his partner Lucy Davies toured South America on a motorbike. The journey, which lasted seven months, raised several thousand pounds for Amnesty International.

Mo meets up with local kids, Pisaq, Peru 1997.

In 1991 Tumi Crafts received the Award for Effective Communication from the Centre for World Development Education in London. Mo Fini was also short-listed for the World Vision Award by the same organisation. The charismatic traveller always carries at least one camera with him wherever he goes in Latin America and has taken some 40,000 photographs of the continent. In 1990 a major exhibition of his work was displayed in the Royal Photographic Society in Bath, UK and a book of his photographs entitled 'Portrait of Latin America' was published.

Our 8 months old duaghter Nina, Lucy and Mo, Peruvian high land 1983.

In 1993 Mo led a filming expedition across the Peruvian Andes to film a remote community of pure blood Inca Indians. The film ' Q'eros The Last of the Incas' was shown on international television and in 1995 he co-authored a book entitled 'Arts and Crafts of South America' for world-wide distribution by the London publishers Thames and Hudson. Once again, in order to do the final research for the book, Mo Fini, Lucy Davies and their five month old baby travelled in their landrover from Tierra del Fuego to Caracas, passing through thousands of villages. They covered some 40,000 miles.

Linda Chalker presenting Mo Fini with the Award for Effective Communication, London, 1991.

Tumi Music, also founded and headed by Mo Fini, has been a pioneering company within the vast and diverse field of Latin Music. In 1983 in La Paz, Bolivia, Mo Fini heard the beautiful voice of Edgar Villaroel, then a member of the group Rumillajta. Convinced of their success he began to promote them and brought them to tour the UK in 1984. They were the first successful Andean band to tour Europe and became well known well before bands like Incantation made the charts. Tumi Music was thus born and has now become one of the world's leading Latin Music specialist record labels.

Mo Fini and Compay Segundo in Havana, 1995.

Today, Tumi Music is held with the utmost loyalty and respect by all its musicians in Latin America. By realising the potential of various Latin American and Caribbean music including Andean folk music, Salsa and Cuban music well before any of its competitors, Tumi Music has built up an enviable catalogue of over 120 new recordings by some of the greatest names in Latin American and Caribbean music including: Celina Gonzales (Cuba), Lizandro Meza (Colombia), Candido Fabre (Cuba), Los Kjarkas (Bolivia), Expresion (Peru), Saldanha Rholim (Brazil), Son 14 (Cuba), Orquesta Aragon (Cuba) in the fields of Jazz, Salsa, Cumbia, Hayno, Rumba, Danzon, Son, Bolero, Forro and Dance. 1996 saw the international release of Mo Fini's most ambitious project to date: a 4CD Box Set and booklet from the inventors of Chachacha, Orquesta America together with the Cuban All Stars: Twice Grammy winner Chucho Valdes, UNESCO Medal Winner Celina Gonzalez, Felix Baloy, Omara Portuondo and many more.
Mo Fini, together with Duke University Press in the USA, and Tumi Music (UK) are shortly to publish 'The Dictionary of Cuban' Music by Helio Orovio, Cuba's leading musicologist. Please visit www.tumimusic.com

Helio Orovio and Mo Fini

A creative, cultured and endlessly enthusiastic man, Mo Fini divides his time living and learning in England and Latin America. Life is a learning experience for the passionate photographer, textile expert, head of Tumi Music and enthusiastic member of the Grammy organisation. His creation of a new label, Crossing Borders, has given birth to three different projects which have all achieved international recognition in the field of world music. The first project in 2002 was Bana Congo, involving two great personalities of the world legendary music scene: Papa Noel, the Congolese guitarist and Papi Oviedo the great Cuban tres player. The most recent project is Yusa, the young Cuban musician who was not only nominated for BBC Radio 3 awards but who also won the Cubadisco 2003. Currently Mo Fini is working on a new project between Casquinha, the Brazilian Samba singer/songwriter and Papa Noel.
Mo Fini is the author of 'Portrait of Latin America', 'Weavers of Ancient Peru' and, together with Lucy Davies, co-author of 'Arts and Crafts of Latin America'. He is the Director of Tumi Crafts/Tumi Music and Tumi (Editorial) which is a subsidiary of Tumi crafts specialising in publishing Latin music. He is also a voting member of Grammy, Latin Grammy and the director of IGF in Bath UK (International Guitar Festival).