With a fascination for making something new from the old, Mzaza’s writers and musicians skilfully create their own set of traditions from a tapestry of richly woven influences from France, the Balkans, the Middle East and Sephardic Spain.
Driven by her French and Spanish Sephardic roots, front woman Pauline Maudy sings in French, Spanish, Ladino, English and Turkish. She is an enchanting stage leader who delivers powerful and inspired performances.
The impressive musicianship of Mzaza – deftly realised with accordion, violin, percussion, double bass and Flamenco guitar – embraces diversity, the old and the new, the familiar and the foreign, through timeless melodies. It is the timelessness of the music and story that fuels an intense live show, an unforgettable musical journey, that has enraptured audiences at MONA FOMA, Queensland Music Festival, Cygnet, National and Woodford Folk Festivals, and visited airwaves internationally. Jaw-dropping technique, unique compositions and captivating shows have earned Mzaza supports for the likes of Yasmin Levy (Israel) and DJ Click (France).
The group’s 2011 album Journey Over Skin celebrated Mzaza’s collaboration with acclaimed flamenco guitarist Andrew Veivers. The tracks Le Temps qui Passe and Les Fleurs Qui Fanent were highly commended in the Queensland Music Awards 2011.
In 2015 Mzaza return with a third release, an award-nominated album titled Ghosts. A mix of originals and reworked traditional pieces heavily influenced by vocalist Pauline Maudy’s French/ Sephardic background and percussionist Jordan Stamos’ Greek/Turkish heritage, Skilfully creating their own voice, with much of the original material in French or English and inspired by Balkan music, Ghosts delves into stories of Mzaza’s ancestors, and their migratory pasts.
The band’s accomplished multi-instrumentalists play violin, kamanche tarhu (a spikefiddle of Persian ancestry), guitar, double bass, accordion, darabuka (Turkish hand percussion), cajon, tapan and bendir (frame drum).
Members of Mzaza have studied with Spanish, Middle-Eastern and Balkan music masters in Australia, Greece, Turkey and Iran.
MZAZA have been a real revelation … They are just amazing!- SBS Radio
MZAZA take the listener on a colourful international tour… it is easy to see why the band has achieved airplay on ABC Classic, Radio National, Triple J, SBS and Qantas. – Trad and Now
These are serious musicians, and the blend of elements in their songs generate intricacies to which each of them must rigorously commit. Yet there are no pretensions in their manner, no studied pseudo-mystical facades. MZAZA is a band comprised not only of skilled instrumentalists but of consummate and generous performers, who truly relish a direct and celebratory connection with their audience. – Weekend Notes
Held together by their coherent arrangements and energetic playing, MZAZA have crafted a joyous and diverse listening experience. – 4ZZZ