Between Sets with Marcomé
Across the Seven Seas into her Soul….!
Artist Interview by: Karl Stober February 2008 In the depths of the creative
atmosphere that comforts us musically, a fresh resonance with a spirit so
animated and enchanting (that cataloging is an exercise in futility) has emerged.
The sound is that of Canadian, Marcome’, (Mar-ko-may), a multi-artistic
phenomenon that will, I assure, change the way you perceive composition and
performance along your journey through musical exploration.
Marcomé first emerged on the scene in 1995 and within a few months, engaged
the World Music populace with an array of different attitudes and forms never
experienced. Seven Seas was the catalyst that introduced these sculpted works of
Marcomé is in the non-traditionalist form as an artist. Her musical creations
license emotions to run wild, with moods to embrace the most simplistic of
moments, and feeling beyond what the heart allows. Her production is both
philosophical and educational, for it takes the student of the art out of the
text book and into the core of the craft. From start to finish, Marcomé's work
is an opus of intimacy!
The tones are angelic, pioneering production values and a performance quality
is spiritually sensitive as if she embraces vocal intimacy. As you spin such
magic as “Yeku,” you become part of her world. She draws you in with a sense of
comfort with her voice, lyrics and arrangements, which mold you into a euphoric
As we talked, we explored her philosophies, passions and techniques, not only
with her two projects, but with her life, as well. We will touch upon those who
are privileged to be associated with her both artistically and personally, and
get to know her likes and wishes--for they all will soon appear somewhere for us
to listen through her music. Marcomé, as you will soon find out, is a
kaleidoscope of colors that portray her moods and patterns, which mirror her
In this article, you not only go between sets, but enter her world, one that
an exit is not desired. For once you spin her magic, the journey in never
JazzReview: Illustrate for us the vocal phenomena known as Marcomé,
her personality, her music, her philosophies.
Marcomé: I am a life-lover, passionate and creative. I am a person of
integrity and [am] empathetic. I like to help others. I am a nature lover and
enjoy being active. I like to hike mountains, run, cycling, play tennis, and
cross-country ski. Physical activities bring me a sense of freedom and they
allow me to meditate. When I walk amongst nature, be it in a botanical garden, a
forest or even a park, I feel a connection to the divine. All this beautiful
life surrounding us rejuvenates me and makes me feel so good. My music reflects
my love for life, my optimism and positivism. My spirituality also comes out
through my voice and it sometimes touches me deeply when I listen to myself as
I’m under the impression that it’s not me singing, but a voice from somewhere in
the cosmos! My philosophy is take care of yourself, you deserve the best. I
believe in self-autonomy, emotional autonomy. I think one has to be responsible
for his own life and persevere on the path of unconditional love. Life is
challenging because not everyone is running at the same pace, but hey, that is
the variety of life. I believe we are somewhat all divinely connected so I treat
others the way I like to be treated!
JazzReview: Help us explore where the origins come from for your
music. From what experiences, feelings, and hopes do your creations evolve from?
Marcomé: There are many ways in which I compose new songs, yet one of
my most inspirational moments is when I’m in motion, like when I’m traveling or
running or riding my bike. I watch the horizon moving like a film in my head,
the clouds in the sky with the sun shining through, the trees, the birds... I
also start new songs in my studio by playing with sounds and voices. I love to
improvise. When I invent a wordless song, I do it on the fly; I write it down
once it has been sung to be able to harmonize it. At other times, I will start
singing from my heart and follow gently the feeling, get into it and explore new
horizons. I seldom start with a definite emotion, but that is more of an
exception. Some of my songs seem to have come to me from elsewhere. It is as if
I had not composed them myself. It is my impression that I have tapped into some
kind of universal and invisible current, flowing through time and space. It is
hard to explain. It is as if the songs were channeled through my body, my mind,
my soul rather than created by me. “Memoria” is one of those songs. As I was
singing Memoria, I was attracted to a world of Gregorian chant and Latin
languages. Maybe it has to do with my childhood influences and experiences in
churches I used to go to. The smell of incense, the sacred, the divine, the
eternal, the remembrance and the reminiscences of the past!
JazzReview: Your vocals have numerous levels; this is just not
straight ahead vocalizing. Describe how you produce and mold your tones,
melodies and tempos that express your music.
Marcomé: I always start a song with onomatopoeias, sounds, vowels or
consonants that create a certain vocal color. Sometimes, some words come out
like a kind of unconscious subject emerging through me. I start with one voice
and I add another one right away without thinking too much. By doing so, I end
up with funny and unpredictable results that surprise me and make me feel I am
singing with somebody else! By the end of the process, I get a clearer picture
of what the song is trying to tell me and I finish the lyrics with my writing
partner Ron Montanaro.
JazzReview: You have stated that the time between your two recordings
Seven Seas and now River of Soul gave you time to reflect and mature. Can you
open us to that time and what you discovered?
Marcomé: The last decade was life transforming for me as a spiritual
being. I raised my child and devoted myself to self-growth. I read tons of
books, trying to understand the world’s suffering. Having a kid grounded me
solidly to life and made me realize how important is the life we are given. I
became a more loving person, more grateful and accepting. My respect and
understanding for all humans evolved, I learned to forgive, to let go and to
become responsible of my happiness. For me, self-acceptance can only lead to
self–growth. We must learn to take better care of ourselves because after all I
really believe that we deserve the best. It is up to us!
JazzReview: You seem to have a wonderful partnership in guitarist
Michael Robidoux, as well as all those who join in the creation of your music.
Tell us about that relationship and of the others who have shared your journey
Marcomé: For the productions of Seven Seas and River of Soul, I did
most of my work alone in my studio for hours. I compose and arrange all my
music. When I got near the end of production, I got to work with fabulous and
passionate musicians. Among them is Michel Robidoux (Leonard Cohen). He not only
plays guitar, but also helps me to stay grounded to my objectives as a
co-producer. Michel Dupire comes in with his delightful percussions from all
over the world and complements the beats I’ve created. I also had the privilege
to work with Marc Langis on bass and counter bass (Celine Dion) and Michel
Donato on counter bass (Toots Thielemans, Oscar Peterson). In River of Soul, I
was honored to have Martin Lord-Ferguson (Cirque du Soleil) who added his magic
touch and wisdom in the production process.
JazzReview: Talk about the writing team of Montanaro & Marcome. Where
and when does the feeling turn into words..? How do you approach an idea?
Marcomé: Ron Montanaro is a very dear and special friend of mine. He
is a very intuitive and sensitive creator. He’s used to my way of working which
is to do the melody and the singing all framed up and than to put the lyrics in.
In other words, he has to find words and expressions to fit in the already
existing chant. Most composers will create their music according to the lyrics;
I work the other way around most of the time. When I send him a song, there are
some words already sung in it. I give him the subject, the direction, the
feeling and he does his magic by reading my emotions and rendering them in the
most poetic way. He not only has a talent for words, but he also makes my voice
sound so much better by the use of proper syllables and consonants.
JazzReview: Describe the difference between music composition and
sound creation. How do you approach both and then bond the two crafts?
Marcomé: Sound creation and music composition are all entangled in the
same process for me. One leads me to the other. I always have a part of sound
creation right after I drafted a new musical idea. Being a trained sound
engineer makes me kind of autonomous. Going from technical stuff to more
artistic matters gives me a break from one another and allows me to stay more
objective. I’m really greatful that I can achieve what I hear in my imagination
JazzReview: Your innovative sound and knowledge allows for much more
to occur in your world of music and writing, new and inventive creations. Talk
about your thoughts as you go from level to level in your career.
Marcomé: Seven Seas and River of Soul are albums I’m really proud of
and they both meet my professional standards. The next albums to come will
surely be partly an evolution of some themes I covered in the previous ones. I
have a passion for dance music and jazz. Who knows where my intuition will lead
me. The music of my next album will unfold in the same way it did for Seven Seas
and River of Soul. I’m in the present moment; I improvise and let it all flow
out from my soul.
JazzReview: In your 2007 release of River of Soul, the common link
from the first recording is nature and the relationship within oneself. Was this
a deliberate attempt to intertwine the two entities in your work?
Marcomé: My family has drawn me to nature early in my childhood. We
lived in a big city and when we’d go to our little camp by the river, time would
stop. Silence was the main word! Without knowing why, it would later become a
necessity for me to go camping every summertime and to go outdoors every day of
my life. I realize now that I use my relation to nature to connect with the
infinite, the universal flow and to meditate and feel better.
JazzReview: One fact is easily discovered as one listens to your
music: the art of experiencing serenity. One can easily become lost in their own
adventure and dreams as they listen. Was this the effect you expected as you
wrote and produced your pieces?
Marcomé: Honestly, I did not expect anything to happen when I created
my first record Seven Seas. It was a pure delivery of my feelings and imaginary
worlds. It’s only after the testimonies I got from fans that I realized that my
world was somehow connected to other people’s reality. I must say that I have
one rule though when I compose lyrics, they must be somehow positive and
constructive. When I meet problems or obstacles in my own life, even though it
might be hard or sad, I try to be self-loving and always look for solutions.
Love and perseverance now rules my life most of the time, after all, I’m always
JazzReview: Your voice is very much like an artist’s palette for it
vocally throws brushstrokes of sound at the listener. This is true in most every
cut on the disc especially “River Of Life,” a wonderful marriage of water and
the human soul. Describe for us the process you went through to write and
perform this piece. How did you perceive the outcome and reaction of the piece?
Marcomé: I see my voice as an instrument. So be it a bass or a high
note, if I can vocalize it, I do it. I never exactly know what the end result
will be for I love to improvise in many musical styles. After a few harmonies,
it takes shape and the ethnic color or musical influences show up. I play with
my many voices and it becomes a creation of its own in a certain way. I never
start with a fixed idea, for part of my pleasure in creating is exploring new
territories, and to be surprised!
JazzReview: “Meteora” is in relation to the stunning landscape in
Central Greece. Describe the work that went into the production of the piece and
how this concept was birthed.
Marcomé: I love traveling. I have had the chance to go to many
different places around the world. A region of Greece called The Meteora
inspired this song. The Meteora is an area in Thessaly where there are
monasteries on the top of rock towers. It is said that the monks were seeking a
retreat from the expanding Turkish occupation and found the inaccessible rock
pillars to be an ideal refuge. In my studio, I have many postcards of all my
trips on my piano and one day, looking at the Meteora picture, I imagined myself
gliding in a delta plane way up in the sky, flying through the suspended
monasteries, the heaven above, the Meteora… Funnily, the very first thing I
drafted for this song is the bass line. I had been extensively listening to my
many favorite records from my ECM collection and I was fascinated with bass
players. I than started hearing in my head a bass line on which I sang the
melody and the rest followed.
JazzReview: I was very much attracted to the piece “Elated,” an
upbeat free expression of life. The sound of your vocals are very unique.
Describe that sound and how you developed into what it is today.
Marcomé: It’s a very good observation you did here. On my very first
record Seven Seas, I was a perfectionist and I even tired others and myself with
that attitude in all areas of my life! "Elated" is one of the songs on the album
on which I used the very rough original first takes. It’s therefore fresh and
spontaneous. I’m proud because I freed myself from the obligation and the
pressure of perfection and I love it! Moreover, "Elated" really reflects the
internal change that took place in between the two records in my inner world.
I’m more serene and confident than ever and less perfect which is reassuring!
JazzReview: Talk about the interrelation of jazz into your music. How
would you define jazz?
Marcomé: I love your question. When I was a teenager I had a period
where I got to discover two important record collections that were the Decca
Ethnic Series and the ECM collection. I would literally spend weeks with
headphones discovering and exploring news musical sounds and textures. I later
on had the opportunity to work on many Montreal Jazz Festivals and got to meet
with Pastorius, Marsalis, Metheny, Lyle Mays, Scofield, Piazzola, Paco Delucia,
Tony Levin and so many more. It impressed me with a sense of freedom, for jazz
allows the use of free forms. When I listen to jazz music, there are so many
possibilities to explore that it opens up the imaginary world almost infinitely.
Also, the use of different scales and rhythms brings the creative process
exponentials avenues. Jazz is freedom to me, and that’s why I love it!
JazzReview: With your creative ingenuity to manipulate sight and
sound, can we assume a DVD is in the mix soon?
Marcomé: You read my mind! I just finished two music videos--one for
the song "River of Life" in which you’ll get to see images I filmed while
traveling in Alaska and Quebec nature sceneries. We incorporated different forms
of visual arts such as painting (my own) photos. I love to paint and film, and
do photography. The second music video is for the song "Memoria" from Seven
Seas, and I can’t wait for you to see it! They’ll be both out in January 2008 on
Marcome.com and You tube, and all over the Web. I plan to do DVD’s and put all
my music into images. It’s a matter of time and money. I will have such a thrill
to remix in surround; it will be very creative and inspiring for the sound
engineer and artist in me!
JazzReview: What gives you the most satisfaction in the genre of music
you have chosen?
Marcomé: Freedom, freedom and freedom! My music allows me to dream, to
float, to explore wide, huge spaces. I can be or do what I want. My music is
atmospheric; it’s a good companion for my outdoor activities, my day to day
life. It inspires me to pursue my purpose in this life.
JazzReview: If there was another genre you would care to embrace that
would offer the vehicle to express your moods, moments, and thoughts musically
what would you choose?
Marcomé: I love to dance so I have some projects I’m planning for
2008, for my music, that might be surprising! My publicist says not to say
anymore! You just have to wait.
JazzReview: On a more serious note, the music industry is a complex
beast. How do you deal with it and where do you see it going a decade from now?
Marcomé: I’m an artist who is evolving. The music industry has never
stopped evolving and it was there before me and will still be there when I
pass…so I figure I have to go with the flow and adapt. That’s life!
JazzReview: What are your plans for 2008 as to live and recording
performances? Any new endeavors whispering to you?
Marcomé: There are lots of things I intend to do at this very moment.
River of Soul is being released in Canada in early 2008 with a promotional tour.
The rest of the world will follow for my audience is worldwide. I’m also
composing new songs for different projects and new ventures. I will do more
music videos, paintings, traveling, and basically keep creating!
JazzReview: Now for a bit of fun. Let’s talk on a personal note. What
does Marcome’ spin when she is at home just being herself? If you could write
and produce a song on five major world events, what would they be and the titles?
Marcomé: Ambient music, Jazz, Classic, Electronic, and Pop are
essentially the kinds of music I listen to. Armstrong landing on the moon; I
would call the track "Euphoria." It’s one of my dreams to go out there to get to
see the earth and touch this white rock. The passage of year 2000 and I would
call the song "Everything is Possible." I had a feeling that I was a small part
in the long life of this universe! The Montreal Olympic Games of 1976. I was a
teenager and was overwhelmed and inspired by Nadia Comaneci’s talent, she
represented, for me at the time, a model to follow. I would create something
more symphonic that could be called "Summum." Mother Theresa, Nelson Mendala,
Ghandi, Jesus… All these humans showed us to pursue our goals of unconditional
love and perseverance. They show me everyday to be grateful and that anything is
possible if you’re passionate and have strong beliefs. I would call a song for
all of them, "The Tender Warriors."
JazzReview: To experience more of the magic and sounds of Marcomé,
surf her website at
marcome.com and fall into a world all
its own. Karl Stober is a freelance critic and journalist internationally.
Seven Seas by Marcomé
Soul Review by Carol Wright, All Music Guide
Vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter Marcome has been touted as being Canada's counterpoint to Enya, and she sounds very similar to Higher Octave recording artist Robin Frederick (How High? How Far?). Marcome has a strong, pure voice (about half the cuts are jazz vocalise) which she often echoes and overdubs until the blend is almost a new instrument. Marcome's many styles include the pensive ballads "All Alone" and "Seven Seas," the sassy counterpoint of "From Within" and "Yeku," the alluring siren song of "Breathless" and "Librarsi," and the Brazilian vocalise tradition (in duet with a male voice) of "Parada." Marcome does not push the lyrics forward as one might expect from Streisand. She blends her voice as one of many instruments creating an inviting atmosphere where one can choose to relate to the words or not. The keyboard orchestrations, augmented with percussion are sophisticated and rich, exotic...and surprisingly spiritual. Mark Langis's work on fretless bass is superb.
Dan Liss for AQUARIUS Aug. 97
voice and keyboards gently sail over the Seven Seas, backed by
laid back, jazzy percussion, bass, bells and chimes.
The instruments support her airy, high voice lifting the
spirits and songs to sweetly appealing heights. Seven Seas is
built around her voice in the same way that Enya’s albums are
arranged to support her voice, even though there are a few
The lyrics express euphoric feelings, reflective moods,
stories told in whispers and intimate conversations. Her lifting
voice breezes through these shared spaces like an invocation to
the spirit of communion. Extremely soft, soothing, easy
MARCOMÉ Seven Seas
India has Sheila Chandra, China has Dawada and the British Isles
boast Enya. Now Canada has a super songstress whose mostly
wordless vocals display anew why the human voice is that most
incredible and flexible of all instruments. But unlike Enya's
sometimes strident strains, Marcomé keeps her voice floats like
a gossamer veil upon a warm breeze. Enchanting lyrics are
related in breathy murmurs she weaves magical tales of a shining
boy with silver eyes, a dancer transcending the rhythm of time
and a lover whose memory still holds the power to light a fire
inside. Intoxicating yet subtle percussion accents created by
ankle beads, sandpaper and wind chimes help heighten the
otherworldly feel of Marcomé's music, making this an album which
one wants to hear again and again.
PJ Birosik, Monthly Aspectarian Jan. 97