FolkWorld #74 03/2021
© Pío Fernández

A Colorful Sampler

Maria Mazzotta

Artist Video

Maria Mazzotta is a renowned international artist and one of the leading voices in Italy’s folk scene.

Maria Mazzotta

Maria Mazzotta "Amore Amaro", Agualoca Records, 2020

Maria has performed with artists such as: Bobby McFerrin, Ibrahim Maalouf, Rita Marcotulli, Ballake Sissoko, Pers Faccini, Justin Adams & Judeh Camara, Mannarino Hysni (Niko) Zela & Fanfara Tirana, Eva Quartet, Klapa Otok, Bojken Lako , Raiz, Roy Paci, Roberto Ottaviano, Raffaele Casarano, Bijan Chemirani and Mario Arcari. From 2000 thru 2015, Maria was a member of the band Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, with whom she recorded six albums. In her deep studies about the different vocal techniques in the world, she met Sayeeduddin Dagar, one of the most relevant Indian Dhrupad singers, and also the American Bobby McFerrin, who chose Maria as a duo partner for 2008 Bari Jazz festival.

She looked as well into the lyrical traditions of Eastern Europe, where she became passionate with the music of the Balcans, and at her age of 21, Maria started a research on artists from: Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, Romania, and the Gypsies that she met in her many concerts. That set the start for the collaboration with the Albanian cello performer Redi Hasa, in their symbiotic duo ‘Hasa-Mazzotta’. In 2006 she became part of the Orquesta Notte della Taranta conducted by Mº Concertatore Ambrogio Sparagna.

From 2011 to 2014 she was the solo singer of that orchestra having as directors: Mº Ludovico Einaudi, Mº Goran Bregovic & Mº Giovanni Sollima. Since 2013 she sings as guest artist in Miguel Ángel Bernal’s dance company, in his shows: ‘Mediterraneo, ‘La jota e la taranta’, ‘Cardia’, and ‘Dos tierras’. In 2015 Maria Mazzotta participate’s in the movie from the Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura ‘La Jota’, dedicated to that Spanish traditional rhythm mainly in the region of Aragón (Saura’s homeland), with other Spanish artists like the Galician bagpiper Carlos Núñez.

In 2019 Maria gives birth to her CD ‘Amoreamaro’, a set of ten songs, sometimes with a significant Italian character (from Puglia, SE-Italy), like the tarantella tambourines in the haunting & bitter tune that gives the name to the album. Her powerful voice merges with accordion, piano or guitar in calmly starting tunes such as: ‘Tore Tore Tore’, ‘Nun me lassare’, ‘Tu Nun Me Piaci Più’ (G.Ferri), ‘Lu Pisci Spada’ (D.Modugno), or the enchanting ‘No Potho Reposare’ or ‘Vorrei Volare’. In other cases, the accordion builds up a plausible relationship with a sort of Astor Piazzola’s Argentinian tango like in ‘Scura Maje’, or ‘Beddha Ci Stai Luntanu’, indicative of the connection established by the Italian immigration in S-America.

The album ‘AmoreAmaro’ is a colorful sampler of Maria Mazzottas diversity of traditional lyrical influences, that now converge in this open window to Italy’s contemporary folk music.

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

Photo Credits: (1)-(2) Maria Mazzotta, (3) Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (unknown/website).

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