Maria live
January 8, 2024

Interview-newspaper ND Nederlandse Dagblad

Maria Markesini makes no distinction between musical genres. In Greece she was trained as a classical pianist, in Rotterdam she became acquainted with jazz and world music. She enjoys singing as much as she enjoys playing the piano. She also does not rank the topics she sings: ‘Honouring God in a song is just as Christian as singing about earthly love for a man.’ After twenty years of performing and making CDs in the Netherlands and abroad, Markesini wanted to creating an album in which she explains her passion for faith in Christ. On the eve of Nearer’s presentation, the singer, who lives in Rotterdam with her Dutch husband, speaks to this newspaper.

What kind of family do you come from?

My father preached the good news of Christ as a missionary. My mother was director of the Tax office. They both have died. I grew up in the western part of Greece, which was part of North Italy for centuries. Our folk music was not the bouzouki, but the opera. We had no television at home, we read books and listened to classical music. The sounds of Johan Sebastian Bach marked our household. I took piano lessons at the music school and I loved Chopin and Debussy. Eventually I ended up at the Athens Conservatory.

How did you come into contact with other musical styles?

A friend from high school introduced me to Ella Fitzgerald. I was immediately sold and thought: ‘What is this?’ As a classical pianist at the conservatory in Rotterdam, I met students from the jazz department. I saw how they improvised and how much freedom they had. When I expressed my fascination about this to one of my teachers, he responded: ‘You have enough talent to perform in a concert hall in a long dress. Would you rather stand in a short skirt in a jazz café where the visitors are too drunk to really listen to you?’ That comment resonated in my head for a long time, but the urge for more music freedom never left me.

What music is on your new album?

Traditional church songs that I sung as a child, a few of my own pieces, a beautiful composition that saxophonist Paul van der Feen made for me, a Greek song arranged for six a cappella voices, gospel standards and Brazilian music. Two bands collaborated on this album, it has become a rich and varied whole. Pianist Jan-Willem van Delft arranged much of the music. Afterwards he said: ‘You pushed me beyond my limits, I played like I have never done before.’

Will you continue to perform your old repertoire?

Other music is just as Christian. Everything that is good, beautiful and valuable comes from Christ. Earthly love, desire and lust are also part of life. Just as art is part of my existence, worshiping God is also part of it. I also want to show that side. I know there are also artists who only want to make worship music. That does not apply to me. Being in love and making music come from God, singing about that is not wrong. I have a passion for faith, but I also love life. I am not ashamed of a sensual love song and when I sing it, I automatically start dancing. That is also part of the life that God has created.

come from God, singing about that is not wrong. I have a passion for faith, but I also love life. I am not ashamed of a sensual love song and when I sing it, I automatically start dancing. That is also part of the life that God has created.

Does a Christian album also mean a different audience?

I have been performing in churches for as long as I have lived in the Netherlands. People sometimes have to get used to me dancing and jumping on stage. A lady approached me once after a performance: “I was in shock for the first fifteen minutes. Afterwards I had tears in my eyes, because I have never experienced the freedom that you showed.” I made this album to leave something behind me. As a human being, as an artist, you want to share what is important to you. I hope people like it and if they don’t, I’m okay with that. I’ve stopped wondering what the public will think.

CD Nearer

Maria Markesini – Evocata

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