Mariam Matossian is an example of the musical treasures that exist in the world next door. Vancouver born and raised, Mariam has been collecting traditional Armenian folk songs and writing her own melodies since she was a child and initially, singing mainly in her community. Most of the traditional songs she sings have been passed down through her family - songs that have been favourites of her grandmother and her mother, and now they have become her own favourites. With over ten years of training in classical voice, Mariam brings the range and control of a classical singer to the spontaneity and passion of the folk tradition and combines the two to produce a synthesis that has earned her rave reviews from everyone who has heard her.
In 1998, she travelled to Armenia, the first member of her family to set foot in the Homeland. She volunteered for an English language newspaper there and through that work, learned about the plight of the many street children. In 2002, she took a leave of absence from her teaching career to return to Armenia to work with these children. It was during this time that Mariam's passion for singing met her new commitment to bring attention to contemporary Armenia. When she returned to Vancouver, she continued to perform the songs she had learned from her family and songs she had learned in Armenia, including those taught to her by some of the children she had worked with in Yerevan. Those who heard her sing told her she needed to record.
In 2004, Mariam released her first CD, Far From Home and began performing with her ensemble which includes accomplished musicians from the jazz and world music scene in Canada. Her debut recording has won rave reviews and has had airplay across Canada and in the United States. It was chosen as one of Echoes 25 Essential Albums for 2005 in the United States. Mariam's interpretation of Groong/The Crane was also featured in Araz Artinian's moving documentary, The Genocide in Me.
And now, Mariam is on the verge of moving deeper into our hearts with her new album, In the Light.
Mariam's stunning second album, In the Light, is an incredible new work that is already generating an enthusiastic response from listeners worldwide. This amazing new album showcases Mariam's mesmerzing pure vocals and her moving, engaging interpretations of traditional Armenian folk songs. This album also includes Mariam's beautiful new compositions including the haunting Narineh that she dedicates to all victims of war. Produced once again by Adam Popowitz, this album features a team of extremely talented musicians including Elliot Polsky on percussion, Gordon Grdina on oud, Jesse Zubot on violin, Pepe Danza on flutes and Martin Haroutunian on duduk. Emotionally raw, vulnerable and genuine, Mariam's passion for her music is evident in every note and breath.
With a voice that's been described as uniquely lilting, mesmerizing and innocent, this rising artist is fast making a name for herself, and the rich music traditions of her Armenian heritage are finding a new and appreciative audience. Blessed with a beautiful voice and a natural stage presence, Mariam is beginning to share with the world at large her repertoire which includes the traditional folk songs of Armenia and her own creations as she and her band are invited to perform at festivals and in concert halls across the country. And in this way, Mariam is delighted that her dream of sharing the beauty and richness of her beloved culture with a world audience is being fulfilled.
Matossian celebrates her heritage with a voice that is dark, rich, passionate and compelling. Gulf Islands Driftwood Newspaper
Rarely offered is the opportunity to listen to such an elegant voice charged with emotion. Behind this romantic and sensual voice is hidden, barely veiled, the history of a nation. Outstanding pronunciation, sublime music, superb tone of voice the high notes of traditional Armenian culture simply to be discovered. BC Jazz Magazine
In the words of renowned Canadian Jazz Vocalist, Karin Plato: â€œThe first was a set with an Armenian singer Mariam Matossian with Gord playing the oud¦Mariam is actually a Canadian born vocalist but she comes from an Armenian background and has learned many of the traditional folk songs. She sings in a high clear voice and she tells little stories to the audience, which describe what each of the songs are about. Mariam is just lovely to watch and listen to on stage. She is absolutely natural and elegant and I enjoyed every minute of her singing. She and Gord make a wonderful duo team performing this haunting music. (http://karinplato.com/platos-words/2005/2005-October.html)
¦ a very clear, measured and ultimately sweet innocent style that captures the listener from her first breath¦ the eclectically acoustic based folk band is in full swing with Matossian's supremely focused approach. At times, Matossian's voice seems as though it is as light as airâ Raffi Meneshian, CEO Pomegranate Music