EARLY MUSIC, PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY...
I started to study music privately with some voice teachers specialized in early music and historical interprepation such as Evelyn Tubb and Jessica Cash, deepening into it through courses with Anthony Rooley, Michael Fields, Ivor Bolton, Emma Kirkby in places like Dartington Summer School and Schumacher Collegue, where I was offered a grant for the course Musica Speculativa: Music in Focus. This also put me in touch at an early stage of my studies with the principles of Innovation for Social change that the School promoted under the direction of Satish Kumar. I completed my music studies in Spain and my interest in historic interpretation took me to take the degree in History of Art at Madrid's Universidad Complutense. My life was very much between Spain and the UK, with learning experiences in both countries and a year residence in London where I was part of London Philarmonic Choir. A most stimulating experience and many eye and mind opening learning opportunitites that fructified in myself becoming a young early music singer. I think I was very lucky to have found the people I found at that time so I learnt that performing was or could be more than performing, that there could be a holistic bodily approach to singing, that art should be for everybody and that creativity heals. I got started into Yoga and Meditation with Jorge Pineda.
During this period that starts around 1991 I sang music from Tomas Luis de Victoria in small ensemble, touring Spain and performing Spanish Medieval Music with Cantigas de Santa Maria and Cantigas de Martin Codax. I performed the Medieval Drama Ordo Virtutum under the direction of Michael Fields (Dartington, 1995) that we later recorded for Serendipity Records with Vox Animae. Between 1994-1997 I performed several concerts with harpsichord player Alberto Martínez, in several festivals in Spain as well as International Music Festival in Rethimno (Crete) and Mirror Hall at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Hamburg) with Blanmerle Ensemble. I trained in music teaching and choir conducting with memorable teachers such as Doug Goodkin, Polo Vallejo and José Antonio Sainz Alfaro. I also travelled to Esztergom (Hungary) to learn the Kodaly method in its University.
Performances with harpsichordist Alberto Martinez-Molina and the Ensemble A Piacere continued, with performances in Germany, Grece, Italy and many Spanish festivals, like the International Festival of Spanish Music (Leon) or the Festival for the Commemoration of the 5th centenary of Philip the Second. I was at the same time teacher in State Music Schools that promote that everybody can learn music, and conducting choirs. Around 2000 I got in touch with Spanish 18th Century Music as I performed for the company Madrid Goyesco, touring various spanish cities with works of Blas de la Serna and "Tonadilla Escénica". I performed 18th Century Carols with the Millenium Chamber Orchestra as well as performances with pianist Sharona Joshua.
I continued teaching voice and choirs, and took a postgraduate diploma in teaching Music for Secondary Education at Madrid's Complutense University, and the Professional Singer's Diploma at Teresa Berganza's Conservatory (Madrid).
My love for historic music also took me to learn about Jewish Sephardic repertoire with Luna Nueva in several specialists festivals and projected to perform it in a mix of arrangements with jazz musicians.
PRIMAL & IMPROVISATION
Sound curiosity and exploration take me to contemporary music and I colaborate with my friend the composer Joao Godinho in his piece O Marionetista, creating the dramaturgy for this composition for string quartet and clarinet performed at Festival do Estorial 2008. I also worked alongside the Orchestrutopica to put the dramaturgy in place. It's the only time I've been dedicated a piece of music and I am super chuffed about it.
By then I was also teaching at Escuela de Musica Creativa, one of the biggest modern music schools in Madrid, and TAI, a most interestig professional school of acting and cinema I taught young people in two editions of the Lisbon Jazz Summer Music School at Centro Cultural de Belem (Portugal). Primal Singing started to be a tool that I could use with students, and I explored this with jazz singers and theatre students.
It was shortly after when through my gestaltic therapist, Carlos Velasco, I got in touch with Primal Singing and I got fascinated by its possibilities both musical and therapeutic. This created a big change. For some months I was not attempting more concerts, but just practicing Primal Singing, and the result was performances in Primal Singing a year later. I sang on my own, I sang together with a poet, and I found Francis Garcia, an electroacoustic composer who offered me to sing with him and his computer as well as medieval instruments. As a result, the duo Punto Cero was created and we performed in several parts of Spain, combining it with movement, dance or really anything that crossed our minds that we felt we wanted to do. It was a very fertile and productive time! I also started to think more and do more on singing and wellbeing, and together with story teller Teresa Grau participated in sessions for children with cancer and leukaemia in La Paz's Hospital (Madrid). I also found that Primal Singing was something I had to break down into activities to support people to be able to do, I had to think and practice, I became a Primal Singing Integrative facilitator.
Meditation, Gestalt and a holistic approach where opening deeper spaces in my understanding of the arts, and as Francis and I continued performing together, we joined the Spanish Association of Improvisers, Musica Libre, and its Orquesta, Orquesta Foco, with whom I had the pleasure to perform several times under the direction of Terry Day, Keith Tippet, Ilan Volkov, Chefa Alonso, Ricardo Tejero and Maggie Nichols, and also with no conductors, and also conducting myself! What an ammount of liberation one experiences when improvising with musicians like Javier Carmona (drums) or Terry Day (Japanese Flutes) at Caffe Otto in London, and I had the immense pleasure to be invited to sing as a soloist with the LIO (London Improvisers Orchestra) shortly after starting living permanently in the UK.
Shortly after arriving to live in London, I wanted to perform, to learn and to teach. So I performed some Victorian and Edwardian repertoire with Radio Days in places of heritage and it was a fabulous experience that put me again in touch with my love for learning history.
In 2013 I created Singing4Health CIC, delivering singing workshops for Health and Wellbeing and Mindful Singing to a variety of participants, most specially those at risk of isolation or discrimination for any reason. I got to conduct one of the first Choirs for people living with HIV in the UK, Positive Voices, that later became the Bloomsbury Choir. I delivered numerous workshops for organisations such as MENCAP, Refugee Action, Queen Mary's Hospital and St George's Hospital, Heritage2health, Maudsley Learning, Four in Ten (LGBT service users at the Maudsley Hospital) and became an occasional lecturer for Kingston University Faculty of Health and Social Care through Heritage2Health.
So many learning opportunities around took me to learn more about singing and health, as I joined training courses in Dementia and the Arts, Mental Health, Health Improvement, Menopausal and Ageing Voices, Singing for Lung Health, Singing for COPD, Dementia Awareness Training, Facilitation in Mental Health and Prison Settings, Public Health amongst others, and I joined the Winchester University Health and Wellbeing Research Group at the Centre for the Arts and Wellbeing.
In 2016 I started delivering singing workshops for Health and Wellbeing for the Sing to Live programme, for The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. I delivered training sessions for teachers in this programme, became lead advisor and wrote its lead document. The programme consisted of eight singing groups for Health and Wellbeing in different parts of the Borough and a proyect that included the alignment with the Health and Wellbeing Strategy of the Borough, development and evaluation. This programme lasted until March 2020.
I also delivered training sessions for teachers in Singing for Health in Madrid, at Musica Creativa.
By this time, I have a body of short pieces writen by me to use at workshops, and I start to deliver seasonal celebration with song and movement, that later would become Wheel of the Year events. With the addition of the Rev June Boyce-Tillman, who also joined the Wheel of the Year events with her shamanic drums and wealth of knowledge, I felt supported to become a celebrant of ritualised events, as my interest in personal development, ritual and spiritual side of art grew stronger.
I was happy to be a founding member of the Music, Spirituality and Wellbeing International that is led by the Rev June Boyce-Tillman BME and supported by academics from all over the world. My interest and research in Primal Singing and Improvisatory Traditions took me to present a poster in the International Symposium Music, Spirituality, Wellbeing and Theology. Free Vocalisation: Connecting with the Inner Voice, and soon a chapter on Primal Singing Integrative will be in the book Living Voice, edited by Karin Hendrinks and published by Peter Lang. I was happy to have been invited by Snape Maltings to speak about this in their Singing and Mental Health Sandpit Day in 2020. In Spain, a book about Education from various authors called Un Angulo Me Basta (Enough with one side of it) has my contribution with a chapter on music learning, hierarchy and equality.
And there was another passion that was always there. A passion to express what I wanted to express and to support others to do it too, not just as music, but in any other way. In recent years I have broaden my expression interest to the verbal, and trained in supporting people (and myself) to express myself with words, ask for what I want and need, and not allow bullying, abuse or harrasment.
This has culminated with training with numerous specialists and has been a constant source of personal development and resource to blend with my teaching with influences from authors such as Marshall Rosenberg, Chris Voss and various behavioural management and communication experts, including Kasia Urbaiak and Ruben Flores (The Academy, NY) and Luke Archer (Verbal Aikido). I have supported teachers to run their class smoothly with less effort and set clear effective boundaries. I have supported women to express what they want and use their voice and develop embodied practices both verbal and musical to achieve more self confidence and know how to placate attacks or uncomfortable situations.
I currently have a Radio Show at Beware! The Radio that lasts thirty minutes and its called Beware Maria!, where I give my perspective on many topics and I bring other artists and people who work for wellbeing to bring their ideas forward.
I continue developing my Singing for Health and Wellbeing workshops from a perspective of personal growth , lived experience and always ready to learn attitude, currently working on short seasonal hymns to be used and sang for your wellbeing. I develop my Communication workshops, that have become a great passion of mine given that they put together all I have learnt making music, radio, teaching and delivering wellbeing.
For a more academic version of my CV, contact me ;)