AUDIO & VIDEO
NEWS & EVENT
"Jazz vocalist Maria Márquez doesn't cross boundaries, she merges them into an exotic
melange with her third release Nature's Princess (Princesa de la Naturaleza), a musical
portrait of her native Venezuela.
Forming a bridge between the ancient and new and spanning a cultural landscape,
Márquez' unique sound is imprinted in the original compositions and jazz arrangements
of traditional Latin American boleros, poems and legends. They come to life in lush
orchestrations and minimalist small ensemble settings, the broad palette of feels and
instrumentation creating the mood for her evocative storytelling.
"Maria's caressing voice is soothing and sensual, her lingering notes create subtle tension
as they move with the dynamic tempo and feel changes, revealing fleeting glimpses of
her expansive range as her throaty contralto gently washes over the melody. Space and
simplicity mark her phrasing, the message is her medium as she articulately expresses a
range of colours from wistful and lamenting to romantic and playful, delivering the lyric
with honesty and clarity. The performances are contributed by a host of master musicians
featuring Gustavo Ovalles (Venezuelan percussion), Kirk Joseph (sousaphone), Rich
Kuhns (keyboards, accordion)and guitarist Robin Lewis, who also contributes
arrangements fro strings. Notable appearances include Cuban pianist/percussionist Omar
Sosa, whose innovative multi-instrumental performance on Alma Adentro electrifies the
inspired duo track; and percussionist John Santos, who contributes percussion
arrangements and appears throughout the recording on an array of percussion and also
creates the enviromental sounds and effects that give the album it's organic feel.
"The ten tracks flow seamlessly together and offer surprising turns along the way, ever
enticing one around the next corner to discover a new feel or harmonic sensibility
changing the direction and tone. Maria Márquez paints melodious landscapes with her
warm voice, bringing the instruments and feels of latin and straight- ahead jazz traditions
together in a loving embrace. Her Nature's Princess is a musical ticket to paradise, a
gentle, peaceful and colorful journey through Latin America borne on the wings of jazz."
-- Cindy Mcleod- www.jazzelements.com – Canada- September 2006
PRINCESA DE LA NATURALEZA- NATURE'S PRINCESS (2004)
"Cultivating a distinctive and coherent style in so canonical a genre as female jazz vocals
will test the creative knack of the best singer.
Trained at Berklee College of Music, and seasoned for over two decades on the Bay Area
Latin Jazz scene, Venezuela's Maria Márquez had the good fortune to connect early with
percussionist, arranger and producer John Santos,with whom she continues to
collaborate. If her breathy vibrato, effortless range and incontrovertible soul owe
something to Nina Simone, Márquez holds her own artistic counsel. "Princesa de la
Naturaleza" (Nature's Princess) is her third solo outing, confirming the singer's
mellowing as one of the most eclectic and idiosyncratic vocal talents and collectors of
songs at work today.
Sheldon Brown's haunting bass clarinet and the minimalist Hammond B-3 of Rich Kuhns
on the Sephardic love lament "Adiyo Kerida" anchor Márquez's lingering, imaginative
interpretation of this early romantic standard. The sublime arrangement, production,
piano, marimba, percussion and background vocals of "Alma Adentro" are the
unmistakable work of Cuba's Omar Sosa, suggestive of the sonic sorcery this duo might
cook up if set loose in the studio. On "La Lagrima" Brown's soprano sax melds
seamlessly with Márquez compatriots Gustavo Ovalles (percussion) and Jackeline Rago
(cuatro) on a meticulous reworking of this traditional tune from Isla Margarita, off the
Venezuelan coast. Perhaps the most daring exposition is her melismatic dismantling of
the Consuelo Velazquez classic, "Besame Mucho", over a sublime pastel of B-3 organ
(Kuhns), acoustic gypsy guitar ( Paul Mehling), clarinet (Harvey Robb), flugelhorn
(Louis Fassman), trombone (Wayne Wallace) and sousaphone (Kirk Joseph).
Márquez also is a keen composer and arranger. The title track traces of nearby Trinidad,
dappled with Tom Miller's understated steel drums and glockenspiel, seasoned with
Kuhns' northeastern Brazilian accordion allusions and Wurlitzer funk, and the samba-
like percussion of Santos. Kuhns's pump organ and Fender Rhodes, along with Santos'
percussion, are key as well to "Reveron", her recondite tribute to Venezuelan painter
Armando Reveron (1889-1954).
"Bello Jardin" is a pulsing jazz ballad woven through the flowing lyricism of Andre
Bush's spare amplified guitar, John Shifflet's warm, understated acoustic bass, and the
subtle colorings of Kuhns' Fender Rhodes. More whimsical, in the art- song vein is "La
Reina", a taste of the nineteenth- century Venezuelan variation on the contradanza,
chamber orchestra and all.
Yielding up new intonations with each subsequent listening, "Princesa de la Naturaleza"
represents a nearly unclassifiable foray into the nether realm of jazz vocals, marking
Maria Márquez as an eloquent and soulful contemporary voice whose best work is very
likely yet to come."
-- Michael Stone- RootsWorld.com- 8/10/2005
"Maria Márquez no es otra que Maria Fernanda Márquez, o Maria Fernanda,
simplemente, como la conocemos de vista, trato y comunicacion desde hace un largo
tiempo. Claro, no es muy usual encabezar la recomendacion de un disco de este modo.
Pasa que Maria Fernanda es una de esas raras artistas sin gran apego a la rimbombancia.
Sabemos que ella disfruta más un elogio modesto pero que sea sincero. De alli nuestra
cautela al reseñar su más reciente produccion,"Nature's Princess"- Princesa de la
Naturaleza- sin que tengamos que comprometer nuestro gusto musical, pero tratando de
hacerlo como ella, con respeto, con mesura.
Con un gusto refinado y mucho amor por la riqueza de la tradicion musical de la que se
alimenta, Maria Fernanda canta y sobrecoge con un repertorio que, transportándonos a
otros tiempos y parajes, demuestra todavia su vigencia con una inusual fuerza. Es un
disco hermoso, con mucha vitalidad, que recupera con orgullo un manojo de canciones
que dicen más de nuestra manera de ser, nuestra identidad más profunda, de lo que
acostumbran a decir politicos e intelectuales.
Agradecida y anticonvencional, Maria Fernanda siempre se nos ha presentado como
deudora de una tradicion musical tan rica como diversa. De alli que nos se conforme con
apelar a un repertorio ajeno, ya que igual ofrece los temas de su autoria Bello Jardin,
Reveron- no mas que sus nostálgicos recuerdos del Macuto que la vio crecer y al
personaje que mejor los encarna-, y Princesa de la Naturaleza, que abre la produccion, el
cual nos anticipa ese delicado equilibrio entre sobriedad y emocion que caracteriza a las
obras unicas. Este disco de Maria Fernanda es, sin duda, el fruto de un momento de gran
-- Alberto Naranjo- Revista 21- Fundacion Bigott- Caracas, Venezuela- 2005
La voz de Maria Márquez seduce a Nueva York…
Con su voz seductora y única, la cantante venezolana Maria Márquez cautivo al público
neoyorquino con un variado repertorio de temas de jazz latino y música tradicional de
Venezuela. Márquez presento el Sábado en la noche su último disco, "Princesa de la
Naturaleza", una compilacion de temas originales y composiciones de autores de
Venezuela, Mexico y Puerto Rico, en un intimo concierto en el Joe's Pub del Public
Márquez entono con aplomo su rasposa y juguetona voz para deleitar al publico con sus
timbres ágiles y flexibles. "Son como colores", dijo Márquez respecto a sus ricas
inflexions de voz, en una entrevista al finalizar el concierto.
"Cuando estudié jazz en el Berklee College of Music (de Boston) aprendi a usar la voz
para tratar de imitar instrumentos. También hay algo del cante rural y campesino, y
mucho de improvisacion. Lo bonito es que siempre es diferente", señalo.
Sus juegos de voz denotan influencias de los maestros brasileños Milton Nascimento y
Gilberto Gil, y han sido comparados por la critica especializada con las grandes estrellas
del jazz Nina Simone y Billie Holiday. El concierto comenzo con la "Tonada de Ordeño",
un canto de trabajo del llano venezolano del compositor Antonio Estevez, para seguir con
un tema original, "Princesa de la Naturaleza", inspirado en le fotografia de una niña
indigena de Brasil.
Márquez se distingue por crear ambiciosas y elegantes versiones del folclore venezolano,
por sus arrreglos jazzisticos de coordinada orquestacion y ritmo, y por llevar lo popular a
los extremos de las fusiones de vanguardia."
-- Alejandra Villasmil-El Diario NY - March 2005
Article with INTERVIEW by Mark Holston for Latina Style Magazine- March 2005
"Latina Singer-Songwriters: Behind the Music" can be seen by going to:
"… Her latest "Princesa de la Naturaleza" (Nature's Princess) is the best showcase of her
grasp of pan- Latin traditions and jazz singing. This is really a storytelling session: folk
legends, poems, boleros and Márquez's originals are set to jazz and folk music but played
with chamber- music sensitivity.
The melodies are clearly rooted in traditional sounds but the instrumentation is original
and surprising. Throughout the CD an eclectic range of instruments from Latin America
as well as the U.S.- who would have expected a New Orleans- style sousaphone on
"Besame Mucho"?- accompany her dark, captivating voice.This CD is a major step
forward for an artist who deserves much more recognition."
-- Felix Contreras- JazzTimes- March 2005
"Maria Márquez is expanding the parameters of Latin jazz. With her luminous cellolike
timbre and supple rhythmic phrasing, the vocalist has painstakingly built her repertoire
out of classic Latin American ballads, Brazilian standards and a vast treasure trove of
tunes from her native Venezuela- songs largely unknown in the U.S. and obscure even in
the rest of South America.
Her breathtaking self-produced album "Nature's Princess", originally released on her own
label in 2003, gained widespread notice in 2004 when it was reissued by Adventure
Music. ..Márquez assembled a program composed mostly by women, ranging from
boleros, and folkloric Venezuelan songs to Sephardic laments, material perfectly suited
for her arresting, ardently sensual voice. Whatever context Márquez performs in, her
voice is unmistakable, luxuriant, husky and achingly soulful, as if Nina Simone had been
raised in the Caribbean."
-- Andrew Gilbert- JazzTimes- February 2005
"If the level of talent and creativity on these four releases is any indication, it's going to
be a great year for discovering new vocal talent from south of the border. Among this
quartet of singers (Rosa Passos, Gabriela Anders, Maria Márquez and Ana Caram),
Venezuela's Maria Márquez gets the nod on Nature's Princess (Adventure Music) for a
genuinely fresh approach to her program of self-penned works and infrequently heard
regional fare from Mexico and Puerto Rico. Long known as one of Venezuela's top jazz
vocalists, Márquez here explores tunes that radiate folkloric qualities while being
rendered with elegant chamber jazz flourishes.
But just when the listener settles into a comfort zone, she comes along with an incredibly
hip update of "Besame Mucho", the bolero classic rendered with a walking bass, combo
organ, electric guitar and- believe it or not- sousaphone. The wide-ranging orchestrations
feature strings, woodwind instruments, brass, and a generous mix of percussion and
If Márquez's voice were a tropical beverage, it would be rum of a dense amber tone, with
hints of chocolate and tobacco on the palate, taken straight up."
-- Mark Holston- Jazziz- January 2005
"Márquez's voice, like the ghost of Billie Holiday living in the sax of a skillful player,
lends the songs an ageless quality. The selections span centuries of (mostly) Venezuelan
writers, including three by the singer herself.
Márquez also produced the album, and some of the rich arrangements are her work as
well; the settings are uniquely extraordinary.
It's a recording that is immediately charming, never less than pleasant, often lovely and
on more than one occasion quite beautiful."
-- Ben Varkentine- INK 19- January 2005
"Maria Márquez's husky, sensitive voice and unusual approach are marvelously displayed
on her third self- produced recording. A native of Caracas and current resident of The San
Francisco Bay Are, Márquez must be regarded as the preeminent Venezuelan-born
jazz/world music vocalist of our trying times. Her unconditionally evocative and delicate
vocals, elegantly suspended between jazz and world music currents, are complimented by
the remarkable contributions of her gifted sidemen, including the likes of percussionist
Jon Santos and pianist Omar Sosa."
-- Luis Tamargo- Latin Beat- 2004
"Esta vez, Maria aglutina un repertorio de mayor vigor y vida. Con un fraseo jugueton,
Maria sabe en que momento contenerse, alargar una silaba para entrar en complicidad
con la instrumentacion. El repertorio echa del jazz en todo lo largo.
Canciones conocidas, "Besame Mucho" de Consuelo Velazquez, y otras de la propia
autoria de Márquez. Es el tercer disco de esta estupenda cantante. Ojo con la chama."
-- Rafael Mieses-El Sol de La Florida- 2004
"Ella, su actitud, su capacidad musical, tanto como vocalista como compositora, y su
vision de lo excepcional, le hacen merecer el titulo del CD y su propia creacion "Princesa
de la Naturaleza". En este bien logrado trabajo produce y arregla composiciones de los
recordados Conny Mendez, Amable Torres, Antonio Estevez, ademas de las propias
suyas (Bello Jardin y Reveron- dedicada a ese gran artista plastico que en estos dias es
homenajeado en Venezuela). Para concluir con estos y otros personajes una joya musical
del nuevo mundo y un valioso aporte a nuestro jazz criollo."
-- Luis Raul Montell- Diario El Globo- Venezuela
"..Maria who studied jazz for five years at Berkley Col;ege of Music, has a rich, tender
and sympathetic sound, her voice is clear and seems to come from somewhere deep
within. Slow, lilting, richly melancholic; supported by over thirty excellent musicians, it
is a heartfelt wander down a tree- lined avenue of the soul, wrestling with the illusive
transience of love. This is one for a special mood."
-- Ferdinand Maylin- www.jazznow.com
"Maria Márquez has a haunting voice and sometimes sounds a little like Nina Simone
and Cassandra Wilson tone-wise. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and based in Oakland for
years, Márquez utilizes some of the Bay Area's top "world jazz" musicians, including
guitarist Andre Bush, pianist Omar Sosa, and percussionist John Santos among many
others. While "Besame Mucho" is familiar, most of the other songs are lesser known but
no less worthy. It might be a slight stretch to call Márquez a jazz singer, but her
musicians definitely have jazz as part of their heritage, along with South American and
Latin American folk songs. Even though she is generous in allocating solo space,
Márquez is the main star and she is in top form on her third recording, giving very
expressive treatments to the Spanish lyrics. "
-- Scott Yanow - www.allmusic.com
"Another exceptional talent is Venezuela's Maria Márquez. Her wistful vocals evoke a
range of emotions on Nature's Princess on the boutique label Adventure Music. Márquez
demonstrates her penchant for finely crafted improvisation but within the framework of
songs that are strongly tied to folk and popular traditions of her native land, Puerto Rico,
Mexico and Brazil. Márquez's husky voice is particularly convincing on the arresting title
track and on a funky, lounge-style update of "Besame Mucho"."
-- Mark Holston - Hispanic Music Column- October 2004
"San Francisco local treasure is about to belong to all of us. Following a trajectory out of
South America and into American jazz that was started by the likes of Valucha de Castro
and others, Márquez makes music that fills the gulf between jazz, world, eclectic and
good. A supreme vocalist that has been a secret weapon for many others, her third set is
going to be the charm. A tantalizing date from start to finish that feels on track to be a
contemporary adult classic."
-- Chris Spector- Midwest Record Recap- 2004
MARÍA FERNANDA MÁRQUEZ: "NATURE'S PRINCESS" "The press and critics
in North America have begun to talk about her in the best terms, comparing her to Nina
Simone, Edith Piaf and Astrud Gilberto. Or saying things like what was written in the
Toronto Sun: "Venezuela's Maria Márquez joins an esteemed group that includes Peru's
Susana Baca, India's Shweta Jhaveri, Brazil's Virginia Rodrigues, and Mali's Rokia
Years have passed since Maria Fernanda Márquez, in the mid 70's, went to live in the
U.S. after being part of the Caracas based duo "Vytas and Maria Fernanda " with the
legendary Vytas Brenner, then they were played in the radio and participated in the "II
Festival de Onda Nueva", created by Aldemaro Romero.
Since the early 80's Márquez has been living in San Francisco, California, and has been
recording little by little, from 45 RPMs to EPs, collaborations with artists like the Cuban
pianist Omar Sosa and a recording here and there that have progressively gained her fame
and respect for her rare, particular and original timbre, her singular artistic sense and her
It is not strange then that through the years Maria Fernanda Márquez has only three CDs
to her name: "De uno y otro Lado" edited in Venezuela by the independent label founded
by Roberto Obeso and Federico Pacanins; "Eleven Love Stories" (Once Cuentos de
Amor) also co-produced by the same duo, later released internationally by Rykopalm, an
affiliate to the prestigious label Island Records, and her third independent project
"Princesa de la Naturaleza" (Nature's Princess) which will be released by Adventure
Music in the summer of 2004, perhaps the most important work this original Venezuelan
singer has done, who also by the late 80's surprised us with her "techno" interpretations of
the "Canto del Pilon" (Song Of The Mashing Of The Corn) and "Campesina" ( Peasant
Woman) by Juan Vicente Torrealba.
For this opportunity MFM has avertedly gone deeper as a composer and has given us
three of her compositions: one that gives the title to the CD, "Reveron" (dedicated to the
painter, of course) and "Bello Jardin" (Beautiful Garden).
Through the seven remaining titles we find ourselves with new arrangements to "Es
Decir" (It is to Say) by Conny Mendez, the Sephardic "Adiyo Kerida" (Bye Love) and
bolero classics: "Alma Adentro" (Soul Inside) by Silvia Rexach (arranged by Omar
Sosa), and "Besame Mucho" by Consuelo Velazquez, which Márquez transforms into a
blues with a Hammond -B3 and a sousaphone played by Kirk Joseph -ex- member of the
Dirty Dozen Brass Band- as a substitute for the bass, obtaining with this arrangement one
of the most exquisite and exotic versions of this piece, a theme so frequently recorded
(they say "Yesterday" and "Besame Mucho" are the two songs with more international
But the surprises do not end here because the three remaining tracks that we have not
mentioned yet constitute a before and after. The covers that Maria Fernanda has created
of three classics from the Venezuelan popular music and folklore: "La Lagrima" (The
Tear), "La Reina" (The Queen) and "Tonada de Ordeño" (The Milking Song) from
Antonio Estevez are milestones.
"La Lagrima" (The Tear), a piece identified with the folklore from the island of
Margarita, is enriched by and taken to a different context with the Afro-Venezuelan
percussion by Gustavo Ovalles (another of the national percussionists who is gaining
international reputation); the most celebrated of the contra-danzas from the Zulia region:
"La Reina" (The Queen) by Amable Torres, executed by a string ensemble, has never
before reached such elegance and MFM's voice brings it to another dimension; finally her
version of "Tonada de Ordeño" (Milking Song) done as what seems to be a Jamaican
reggae colored by a French accordion and a pure sounding jazz guitar is to leave one
Once more Maria Fernanda Márquez has pleasantly surprised us with a beautiful CD,
intimate, feminine, distinguished, intelligent, different, which places her as one of the
singers not only from Venezuela but internationally with something of her own to say and
-- Gregorio Montiel Cupello - El Nacional, Sunday February 1st. 2004
Jazz vocalist's sensual sound is steeped in Venezuela WITH NEW ALBUM, MÁRQUEZ
IS POISED FOR BIGGER FAME "Every year it seems a singer or two emerges from the
Bay Area jazz scene and gains national attention, enhancing the region's reputation as a
creative hothouse for vocalists. Now it's time to add Maria Márquez to the list. With her
luminous, husky voice and supple rhythmic phrasing, the Caracas- born vocalist has been
a quiet force on the Bay Area music scene for more than two decades. Drawing on a vast
treasure trove of tunes from her native Venezuela- songs largely unknown in the United
States and obscure even in the rest of Latin America - as well as Brazilian music and jazz,
Márquez has created a signature sound distinguished by its haunting sensuality.
She released her second solo album last year, a breathtaking self- produced session,
"Princesa de la Naturaleza" (Nature's Princess). Much like her mesmerizing 2001 debut,
"Once Cuentos de Amor" (Eleven Love Stories), which was picked up for international
distribution by Palm Pictures, "Princesa" is being reissued this summer by Adventure
Music, a new label that has made a name for itself with a rich mix of Brazilian releases.
"Maria is an incredible artist," says John Santos, the veteran bandleader whose
multilayered percussion work is featured throughout "Princesa." "To see her getting
recognized now by record companies is so wonderful because it's long overdue. It's a
classic case of someone who gets discovered after being respected here for so long. No
matter what context she performs in, her voice is unmistakable, with a thick, cello- like
timbre reminiscent of Nina Simone's. On "Princesa", Márquez assembled a collection of
Spanish- language boleros, folkloric songs, cha chas and Sephardic laments perfectly
suited for her sound, a program that consists mostly of pieces written by women
The lush, meticulously produced album took two years to make and sustains a hypnotic,
dreamy mood that keys on Santos' intricate percussion work. "I wanted to really work on
a concept where each piece is like a landscape or a painting, "she said. "Each theme has
its own inner life. Whatever it inspired me to do, I just went for it, whether it was a string
quartet or a huge percussion bateria, woodwinds or organ trio. Whatever it called for I
wanted to let it happen." The album's striking sound made it an irresistible project for
Adventure Music, a New York- based label founded by lawyer Richard Zirinsky with
close creative consultation by East Bay string master Mike Marshall. Though "Princesa"
doesn't exactly fit into the label's predominantly Brazilian catalog, Zirinsky felt that the
music needs to be heard.
"It's a sensational album, extremely elegant and refined, as is she," Zirinsky says.
"Venezuela's spirit is abundant in this project, but it goes much deeper and draws on
many styles. It's incredibly well played and well conceived. She's a perfectionist, and it's
a reflection of her soul and her heart. It's very lush and tropical and a real tribute to her
culture and family and history."
-- Andrew Gilbert- Special to the Mercury News
LA PRINCESA DE LA NATURALEZA (NATURE'S PRINCESS)
SF Bay Area vocalist Maria Márquez creates a stunning Venezuelan jazz vocal album on
her latest CD. "On her latest album - Princesa de la Naturaleza (Nature's Princess)-
vocalist Maria Márquez showcases a brilliant musical bouquet as she explores the
melodies of Latin America and her Venezuelan homeland. From romantic boleros
embroidered in string quartets to moody tangos dripping with nostalgic accordions,
Márquez delivers original and classic compositions with a well-honed jazz sensibility and
organic love and respect for her cultural heritage.
There is no doubt that - Nature's Princess - is Márquez's best artistic effort to date. It is a
modern- day imprint of a golden age. The intimate garden Maria creates is full of
delightful fragrances. Orchestrated frameworks transcend tradition with jazz
improvisations. The way in which Márquez reinvents Venezuelan folk melodies, such as
Tonada de Ordeño (Milking Song) or La Lagrima, demonstrates her unique creativity. A
diva, if you will, is an artist with immeasurable talents who embodies the art of
interpreting or creating a tune by phrasing its melody like a horn and articulating its
lyrical content with jazz feeling in her own distinct vocal timbre. Maria Fernanda
Márquez is a diva blessed with all the technical facilities to express herself freely:
breathing, intonation, swing and a heart that evokes emotion, making you laugh, cry and
holler with happiness!."
-- Jesse - Chuy - Varela - Latin Beat, 2003
"I love your "Princesa de la Naturaleza" CD.
..With an appropriate title, translating as "Nature's Princess", this full- bodied, robust
album of Venezuelan traditional music intertwined with soft Jazz influence, occasionally
reminiscent of Sting, is absolutely magical. With ghostly, dark and haunting vocals that
weave and dance through the lines like a mistress cloaked in black silk, crying out and
disappearing, passionately creeping through the musical textures, these songs evoke rich
imagery and intricate stories. This album plots a new path for the appreciation of Latin
music within modern mediums. Absolutely gorgeous."
-- Derek Sivers- CD Baby
"Venezuelan singer Maria Márquez has the bittersweet growl of Nina Simone, but she's
much more enamored of the ways of romance."
-- TIME OUT- New York- 2003
What people are saying....
"Tu Princesa es un triunfo total. Su dignidad y su belleza son las tuyas, pues hablan en
voz alta, volando hasta el universo en alas de genuina gentileza de tu pluma, tu vision
abierta, y tu voz melancolica, para seres contemplar y para recordarnos que la vida
todavia tiene su magia. No hay palabras suficientes, pero no imaginas el orgullo que
siento mirando y escuchando y mas importante sintiendo el toque sagrado de artista que
brilla en tu trabajo…"
-- John Santos- percussionist/producer/composer- Oakland
"Your songwriting is exquisite; your selection of covers is totally unpredictable and
wonderful. The band(s) arrangements and settings are huge and utterly delicious. And
your singing is dazzling."
-- Russ Jennings- promoter-Oakland
"Maria is a luscious voice of a woman. She's a Venezuelan treat. Love, love, love this
lady's voice. I don't say that too often, but it's like a really rich dessert that you know you
should stop eating, but you keep on because it's so good."
-- Kellye Gray- singer- Austin Texas
"Que bueno que hayas cogido al toro por los cachos; es decir, desde la interpretacion, al
sonido final del disco, pasando por los arreglos y un par de composiciones cheveres.
Siempre he creido que eres de esas artistas que se sirven del canto para un concepto, en
este CD esta mas que evidenciado. Entiendo aqui una onda de belleza, de tranquilidad.
Esa onda es constante tambien en la presentacion del CD, por demas impecable. Mucho
vale poner tu sensibilidad en buscar belleza en Latinoamerica, dar claridad a nuestras
cosas mediante tu propia concepcion. Es un trabajo de indudable limpieza conceptual, de
sonidos inconfundibles, muy tuyos; valido como bellisima musica nuestra. ….Angel de la
guarda, dulce compania, No me la abandones ni de noche ni de dia (y dale siempre
aliento para que nunca deje de buscar. Nunca jamas..)"
-- Federico Pacanins- producer- writer- Caracas, Venezuela
"This album is full of compassion, light, reverence and enduring musical grace
committed to preserve the soul of this nation (Venezuela). The success of this album will
come from her musical path that connects deeply to her cultural history."
-- Herman Bosset -Latin and Jazz specialist- Hear Music
ONCE CUENTOS DE AMOR- ELEVEN LOVE STORIES (2001)
"Maria Fernanda Márquez, pionera de la fusion de la musica Venezolana y el jazz, nos
presenta su nuevo CD "Once Cuentos de Amor" (Eleven Love Stories) de una manera
especial. Esta nueva produccion de MFM, es una antologia de boleros y canciones de
amor de los grandes compositores Venezolanos donde combina los elementos del
folklore con el sonido intimo y diverso de la musica popular contemporanea, con un
manejo sutil y ludico en sus improvisaciones vocales. La voz de MFM rompe con los
moldes tradicionales de cantar el bolero, nacido en Santiago de Cuba durante la segunda
mitad del siglo XIX. Ella, por una parte le otorga un nuevo contenido a los marcos del
genero, con su voz misteriosa cargada de sensualidad, sus arreglos que nunca pierden de
vista a Venezuela y al mundo Caribeño, el cual tiene como caracteristica, la complicidad,
los ritos de iniciacion social, el placer de la evocacion y la liberacion del espiritu."
--Alvaro Perez- El Mundo- 2001
"With Once Cuentos de Amor (Eleven Love Stories, Palm Pictures CD) the singer attains
a holy grail, seamlessly weaving many influences as well as her own extensive musical
adventuring. My only initial criticism of Once Cuentos was its lack of more challenging
backing. I later realized that Márquez knows how to realize a concept, choosing
musicians as any artist uses media to create mood. Most singers would not attempt to
project 11 songs with backdrops as quiet and sparse as most of this CD. With Once
Cuentos, Márquez has created something extremely beautiful and what came in the
sixties to be known as a concept album, one which envelopes the listener in a parallel
universe- a fresh way of feeling and seeing.
When I first downloaded "Mi Alma y Yo" from Márquez's website, the ethereal notes of
the intro's seven string guitar and vibraphone transported me as have Laura Nyro
(Blackpatch, Upstairs by a Chinese lamp) and Edith Piaf. There is a little Nina Simone
(the warmth, the depth, the maturity) without the champagne- cocktail distance."
-- Mary Leary- The Publication- San Diego, CA., 2001
"Every year, I come across a female singer from the non - English speaking world who
puts all the so- called "divas" to shame. This year, Venezuela's Maria Márquez joins an
esteemed group that includes Peru's Susana Baca, India's Shweta Jhaveri, Brazil's
Virginia Rodrigues, and Mali's Rokia Traore. Comprised of love songs and boleros that
date back to the 30's, Eleven Love Stories, Márquez's debut CD on Palm Pictures, is one
of the most exquisite things I've heard in ages. This gem, out Feb 20th., has already found
a spot on my best- of- 2001 list."
-- Errol Nazareth - World Beats - The Toronto Sun - 2001
"Como bostezos, como si nada. Solo basta una voz y, escasamente, unos cuantos
instrumentos. Los temas son de autores Venezolanos. Son boleros que hacen
metamorfosis, para transformarse en sutiles baladas de jazz, con senas de Peter Grabriel y
el condimento venezolano."
-- Xariell Sarabia - Revista Primicia- Caracas/ Venezuela- 2000
"Maria Márquez posee una voz extraordinaria y con personalidad. Sin exagerar, su voz se
cala en lo mas profundo de quien la escucha. Y no es de extranar la fuerza de su
instrumento. Esta joven caraquena ha bebido de la musica venezolana, brasilena, de los
sones cubanos, del bolero y del jazz para enriquecer su estilo de cantar."
-- Zayira Arenas- El Nacional- Caracas/ Venezuela- 2000
"Venezuelan born Maria Márquez paints a beautiful and captivating picture, in this her
second solo album. She interprets some of the most tender love songs by which she was
nurtured throughout her childhood years. With a style which is sometimes reminiscent of
Nina Simone, Márquez delivers these alluring love songs and boleros in a jazzy/ bluesy
format that one would envision coming from a lounge in a totally relaxed and
All the songs are sung in Spanish. Rest assured, translation is not of absolute necessity as
the language of love is universal and Maria's emotional delivery is all you really need."
-- Lynden Vassell - WORD (The Soul of Urban Culture)
Ontario/ Canada- 2001
"Unless the booming interest in so-called world music divas suddenly goes bust, Caracas
born singer Maria Márquez should soon join the global roster that includes Cesaria
Evora, Susana Baca, Virginia Rodrigues and Omara Portuondo. From the first
reverberant swoon of "Cuando Yo Te Queria" (When I Loved You)" through the final
stark voice - and - bongo reading of "Bolero/ Poema", Márquez wastes no time getting to
the raw emotion of these unabashedly romantic pieces."
-- Derk Richardson - YOGA Journal- 2001
"Her burnished alto could defrost your freezer at 30 paces, and she has a deceptively
smooth command of dynamics and phrasing."
- Derk Richardson- The San Francisco Bay Guardian- 2001
"Here is a voice to fall in love with. She is, moreover, a brilliant, interpreter. Her
arrangements may be simple, but they are full of intriguing mixes- vibraphone and steel
drums, for example, are used to fine effect- and a clean, almost austere tone. This is torch
singing of the highest order, for Márquez isn't trying to win our hearts. Instead, she is
making straight for the emotional canters of these songs, and then assuming- correctly-
we will follow her there."
-- Charles Foran- The National Post- Ontario/Canada- 2001
"Those who have swooned over the classic boleros of such Buena Vista Social Club
linchpins as Omara Portuondo and Ibrahim Ferrer will probably lose it when they hear
this debut entry by Venezuelan singer Márquez. A truly amazing curtain raiser."
-- Chris Morris - BILLBOARD Magazine- 2001
"Sweet flowing guitar chords, playful vibraphones, and other gentle acoustics accompany
Márquez's smooth, wrap around vocals, creating a perfect blend of dreamy, late- night
jazz and rootsy, ethereal folk via South America."
--Brad Simm- The Calgary Straight- Canada- 2001
DE UNO Y OTRO LADO (1995)
"Fue en 1986, en el programa - Latinoamerica la Raza Cosmica - que conducia Gregorio
Montiel Cupello en la FM 97.7, cuando por primera vez escuche su voz tan particular.
Ese dia coloco Gregorio una rarisima version del "Canto del Pilon". La responsable de
aquella sorpresiva y posmo- version del canto de trabajo era Maria Fernanda Márquez.
Pasaron unos cuantos anñs, para que Maria Fernanda entrara nuevamente en el estudio de
grabacion. Fue en el año 1995, cuando Federico Pacanins y Roberto Obeso decidieron
editarle un nuevo trabajo. De aquella jornada salio "De Uno y Otro Lado", pieza unica de
la discografia nacional. No deseo calificar el disco como bueno o malo, sencillamente
creo que es particular y fuera de lote: raro, diria mas de uno; impenetrable, podrian
pensar otros. Mas alla de cualquier juicio de caracter estetico hay que reconocer que - De
Uno y Otro Lado- no se parece a ningun otro trabajo musical hecho en estas tierras. Tiene
algo de Jazz, algo de Brasil, mucho del Caribe y bastante de Venezuela. Es un disco
hecho sin miedo con una alta dosis de riesgo, que no apuesta ni al mercado ni al publico
facil o complaciente. La voz de Maria Fernanda embriaga, se hace profunda, a veces
indescifrable, se transforma y torna en espeso clarinete, en oboe, en cello."
-- Alejandro Calzadilla- El Nacional- Caracas/ Venezuela- 1999
CANTO DEL PILÓN/ CAMPESINA (1985)
UN PILÓN ELECTRONICO
Maria Fernanda Márquez rehace la musica criolla "Una vez mas comienza el tradicional
Canto del Pilon que las mujeres del campo venezolano han entonado a traves de anos y
anos. La diferencia es que en esta oportunidad el constante golpe de pilon esta substituido
por una bateria electronica a la cual se le van sumando progresivamente, a manera de
crescendo, multiples voces humanas y teclas tecnologicas para generar toda una
envolvente ambientacion tecno a cuya belleza es dificil de escapar. Un 45RPM con el
Canto del Pilon y Campesina de Juan Vicente Torrealba son las primeras muestras de las
enormes posibilidades que se abren para crear un nuevo lenguaje, utilizando con vision
futurista las diferentes formas musicales de Venezuela.
Inteligente, talentosa, sencilla, sincera, dulce y hermosa, desde todo punto de vista, en
comparacion con la Caracas agresiva, sifrina y snob en la que vivimos, Maria Fernanda
Márquez, de paso por Venezuela en estos dias. Desde Gardel al tecno- tango de Fito
Paez, o desde los primitivos blues de los negros en EEUU al actual tecno-jazz de John
McLaughlin, Miles Davis o Steps Ahead, la musica crecio y crecio y no paro de
evolucionar. Otro tanto ocurre desde nuestros cantos coloniales negros de trabajo a la
Maria Fernanda Márquez del presente. En Venezuela hemos tenido La Onda Nueva de
Aldemaro Romero, La Banda Municipal de Gerry Weil, La Revolucion Electronica de
Chelique Sarabia, Vytas Brenner, y otras iniciativas interesantes en la busqueda de
nuevos idiomas para la musica venezolana. Sin embargo, todos estos intentos se los ha
tragado nuestra inercia. Ahora, una vez mas, el paiz esta ante el nacimiento de lo que
puede ser un solido movimiento de musica urbana contemporanea. Y aunque es
estupendo que tengamos buenos grupos y discos nacionales de jazz, rock, salsa, new
wave, pop, reggae o musica electronica, hace falta eso que Maria Fernanda esta
realizando en el Norte y que la coloca como la verdadera vanguardia musical de