Vancouver-born Armenian singer Mariam Matossian’s second CD, In the Light, has been nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award in the category of Outstanding World Music Recording of the Year.
This is the first time that an Armenian folk music recording has been nominated for an award in Canada. “We are extremely excited and pleased,” she said. “It is truly wonderful that Armenian music is being recognized in this way in Canada.”
Matossian, who has been invited to perform at festivals and in concert halls across Canada and recently in the US, began receiving public attention after her acclaimed first CD Far From Home started having frequent air play on Canada’s national radio station, CBC Radio.
The same recording was then named one of the top 25 essential albums of the year by Echoes radio program in the United States. Non-Armenia’s began emailing her and coming to her concerts enthralled by her mesmerizing vocals and exceptionally talented band. “Non-Armenia’s have been the first ones to truly embrace my music,” she says. “They may not understand the words I am singing, but they love the music.” Soon after releasing her new album In the Light, CBC Radio and National Public Radio in the US, as well as radio stations in Europe, began playing her music.
In the Light, a collection of new songs that she has written and timeless folk songs she has re-interpreted, has been praised for its “emotional resonance” and beautiful, moving arrangemen’s. Showcasing Matossian’s pure vocals and the oud, violin, mandolin and dumbec, this acoustic folk album has been called “impressive” by Canada’s folk music magazine, Penguin Eggs (Spring 2008). Moreover, her performances have received critical acclaim. In the words of theatre director, Paul Gravett, “Her unaccompanied voice soared through the theatre, blanketing the spellbound audience. Rarely have I heard simplicity and sincerity used so expertly to create such a tremendous impact.”
Matossian’s voice is often called ethereal and passionate; this passion is driven by her desire to share her Armenian heritage with a world audience. “I began this project as a vehicle through which to tell my grandparents’ story,” she shares. “My grandparents inspire me. They endured so much through the Genocide in 1915 and yet they held on to their faith in the Lord and persevered. What is more, the traditional songs I sing are all songs that my grandmother used to sing.”
Matossian feels certain that with the news of this nomination, her grandparents are smiling. “If they were still here with us, they’d be thrilled that the Armenian songs that brought them much joy during such extreme hardships are being embraced by Canadians.”
The Western Canadian Music Awards will be held in Edmonton, Canada on October 19th.
For more information on Mariam and her music, please visit www.mariammatossian.com. You can download Far From Home and In the Light from the Itunes store.