Born in 1976, Maria Tejada is an Ecuadorian singer, main representative of the “Nuevo Folklore” of her country. She has recorded 10 albums as a soloist, accompanied by various formations ranging from voice-guitar duo to jazz big-band, and from string quartet to a capella vocal ensemble.
Maria began her artistic apprenticeship at the age of 4 at the National Dance Conservatory. She started studying classical singing around the age of 10, under the guidance of Chilean soprano Blanca Hauser. Ten years later, and after discovering jazz with Ella Fitzgerald as well as Brazilian music, she reached third place at the OTI International Festival. (Latin American Vocal Contest). Her marketing diploma in hand, she flew to Europe in 1998, where she studied at the Conservatory of the city of Metz, and obtained her C.F.E.M. in jazz perfomance with honors. She integrates into the Latin local scene where she multiplies collaborations: Dalia Negra, Huarango, Son del Sol etc …
In 2000, she cofounded the duo Iguazú with the French guitarist Donald Régnier, who will become her partner in life and musical producer. Together, they have recorded ten albums, including three duet productions. They moved to Quito in 2008, for a 13-year stay, during which Maria received numerous awards for her discographic productions as well as her entire career: Ministry of Culture, City of Quito, National Assembly etc …
Specializing in the study of South American folklore, Maria’s singing draws on many influences. Ranging from Brazilian music to the Andean styles, through the Caribbean genders, Portuguese fado and French song, she offers a personal and contemporary vision of a repertoire made up of revisited standards and original compositions. She is considered in Ecuador as an avant-garde artist, having been able to dust off and reinvent the interpretation of traditional music, by integrating improvisation, vocalese (writing lyrics on instrumental music or jazz solos) and the use of unorthodox vocal techniques such as the ornaments of Portuguese fado.
During her stay in her native country, she multiplied collaborations with a multitude of musicians from very diverse backgrounds: traditional folklore (Segundo Cóndor, Julio Andrade, Orquesta de los Instrumentos Andinos), jazz (Marvin “Doc” Holladay, Walt Szymansky, Raimon Rovira, Cayo Iturralde, Pies en la Tierra), classical music (Jorge Oviedo, Ensemble Quito 6, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Ecuador), fado (Rita Maria) and songwriters from Ecuador (Alex Alvear, Fabián Meneses, Diego Luzuriaga) and Cuba (Fernando Aramís, Liuba María Hevia). She has performed in the most important venues of the country: Teatro Sucre, Casa de la Música etc … and has shared festivals alongside artists like Musica Nuda, Ana Moura, Tomatito, Giovanni Hidalgo or Luciana Souza.
In Ecuador, Maria has also dedicated to teaching, notably at the University of San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), a member of the B.I.N. (Berklee International Network). She also has worked at the Mozarte Conservatory in Quito. Currently, since the start of the pandemic, Maria offers online singing lessons, by individual or group sessions, in 4 languages: French, Spanish, English and Portuguese.
Maria is also a student of singer Rhiannon (from the Voicestra ensemble directed by Bobby McFerrin), with whom she continues to explore the multiple possibilities of the voice, in a holistic approach based on free improvisation and circle-singing. She regularly offers “Canto Sanador” workshops (online and face-to-face), accessible to singers of all levels wishing to expand their vocal possibilities and self-knowledge thru their singing.
Among his many scenic projects, the most active of recent years (pre-covid !!!) have been the Iguazú duo with Donald Régnier, the Puentes trio with accordionist Stéphane Escoms and the Canciones de Bruma trio with guitarist Horacio Valdivieso.
Maria is currently working on a solo album using her voice as the only instrument, and on a more academic project with a string quartet. She is also preparing the release of a singing method book, presenting a series of vocal technique exercises based on different South American styles.