Nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award and two Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2008, Mariam Matossian is an example of the musical treasures that exist in the world next door. Born and raised in Vancouver, Mariam has been collecting traditional Armenian folk songs and creating her own melodies since she was a child. 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 traveled 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.
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