About the album:
The idea of producing this album was to present the beauty of Czech, Moravian and Slovak folk songs to an international audience. I committed myself to this project fully in 2001 (in fact just after 9-11), while living in New York City. This horrible event coincided with numerous changes in my life and made me reflect a lot on life, music and my heritage. This is why I decided to make this recording. I was born in Ostrava, the Czech Republic, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1987. Not long after I began singing professionally, I noticed that there were very few albums that represented the folk songs I grew up singing. “I must do something about this”, I thought to myself. So I embarked on collecting and arranging these folk songs, as well as writing a couple of originals for the recording. I chose to use a cappella voices only in order to capture the spirit of how we sang these songs when I was a child. I also wanted to achieve a pure, transparent and emotional quality throughout the album.
The themes in these songs range from courtship, love, heartbreak, nature, wartime and loss. The history of the land and the people are preserved in this music.
I hope that you will enjoy these songs and find them a valuable addition to the little-known microcosm of Czech, Moravian and Slovak folklore.
- Marta Topferova
Marta started singing at age eight in her native Prague, Czech Republic with the 'Mládí' choir. Upon moving to the US in 1987, she continued her vocal and music studies with the Seattle Girls' Choir. At an early age, she sang in many languages including Latin, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Finnish and Czech, as well as a wide range of works by Brahms, Hayden, Poulanc and Pergolesi to name a few.
She toured Germany and Finland participating in choral festivals in 1985, 1986 and 1990. Her first two recordings were a collection of songs inspired by children's poetry from the Terezin concentration camp, and 'A Ceremony of Carols' by Benjamin Brittain, both with the Seattle Girls' Choir.
But Marta's first encounter with Latin American music goes back to when she was six years old, she remembers her favorite album being Inti-Illimani's songs from the Andes. Her parents, both actors, had gotten the record from a Chilean friend that had come to live in Czechoslovakia in the 1970's.
So at about age fifteen, when she started developing as a soloist, exploring her own style and direction as a singer, she was again completely drawn to music from Spain, Cuba and South America. She was particularly inspired by Camarón De La Isla, Paco De Lucía, Mercedes Sosa, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Joao Gilberto, A.C. Jobim, Vinicius Da Moraes, Ornella Vanoni, Guillermo Portabales, Eliades Ochoa, Benny Moré, Los Compadres and Simón Díaz.
Continuing in her musical calling, she first majored in music and dance at Bard College from '92 to '93. Afterwards, she moved to Morón de la Frontera, Spain, to study privately and further develop as a musician.
She took up playing the guitar, hand percussion and now most recently, her favorite accompanying instrument, the four-string 'cuatro'.
Her love and dedication to Latin American music as well as the folklore of Czechoslovakia, makes her a unique artist who sings in and is fluent in both Czech and Spanish.
After spending two years in Spain and the Czech Republic, she settled in New York City in '96 and since then has been actively composing, arranging and performing her original songs as well as collaborating with other groups including Lucía Pulido & Fiesta De Tambores among others.
The highlights of Marta's performing career include concerts at The Blue Note and Joe's Pub, The World Music Festival in Chicago, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Jazz Festival Royale in Thailand, The Vienna Jazz Festival, The Hague Jazz Festival, The London Jazz Festival, The New Morning in Paris, and many other venues in Argentina, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany and the Czech Republic. Marta has also been featured on numerous radio and TV programs including NPR’s “Around Noon”, BBC’s “The World”, RTVE (Spanish National Radio and TV), ARTE TV (France), Radio W (Colombia), among other networks.
Her five releases to date are: TROVA (2009 World Village), FLOR NOCTURNA (2006 World Village), LA MAREA (2005 World Village), SUENO VERDE (2003 Circular Moves) and HOMAGE TO HOMELAND (2002 self-produced).
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"A top-flight singer."
"Topferova sings with an elegant longing in her voice."
- New York Times
"Marta romanced the audience with her captivating voice."
- The Prague Post
"A leading light of the nueva cancion movement of today."