“The time I felt an explosion of musical love, was when through the hands and sounds of my favourite Brazilian pianist, Luis Eca. I saw, heard and felt a coloured flash of beauty – harmonious, sensual, loving, sweet, bitter, irritating.
We discovered that music was a woman: assertive, urgent, possessive, dominant, explosive, but always bringing an explosive, powerful discovery, that by mixing bodies and souls without hesitation, you reach that desired target. Even today I’m fascinated by the strength and power of the musicians sounds in relation to our sensibility.” – Tania Maria
Tania Maria’s potent mastery of percussive piano, combined with her voice’s rich-smoky resonance and unique, rhythmic scat style has earned her international recognition. This success extends well beyond the Latin Jazz genre, within which she has also carved a comfortable niche.
Her force additionally lies in the embrace of her ‘woman-ness’ – a role fraught with responsibility and obstacles, but which she recognizes as a gift and ultimately a power. Women have the ability to juggle their activities – to make a home, nurture children while following their careers; and to provide emotional support. For her, they are multi-dimensional beings as opposed to what she refers to as the ‘male culture’. This empowerment has aided Tania’s triumph in what she regards as a largely male-dominated industry and world.
Tania Maria is certainly a dynamic force, vibrant with an emphatic belief in both ‘spontaneity’ and ‘destiny’- two subjects to which she regularly refers. She chooses action over often-restrictive analysis, and nowhere is this more apparent than in her spirited piano technique and vocal improvisational approach. Her compositions are less about lyrics, for her message is fundamentally expressed through the music.
“In our day, the less you talk, the more you do. I’m a little tired to listen to politicians say, oh, ‘Read my lips’. It’s better for me to boop-be-doo-be-ooh-boo – then it’s difficult to read my lips!”
Tania Maria was born in Brazil to a poor family. Her father, a metal-worker was also a gifted guitarist and singer. He encouraged her to play the piano, and she soon accompanied him at his weekend sessions, where she was first introduced to a diversity of rhythms and melodies, ranging from the Brazilian ‘chorinho’ traditions through to contemporary pop.
At the age of 13, her father assisted her in forming a band, which entered a talent competition and won first prize. Since then she has continued to lead her own group, having never worked with anyone else’s band. She admits to enjoying this creative leadership, and perhaps control, but it is largely because ‘this is just the way it has always been.’