On a winter evening she sent me a song from Berlin, asking me to have a listen. I had learned music in the past, and something of those days made of piano keys, scales, arpeggios, metronomes and music sheets actually remained. “Have a listen”, she asked. But she was an artist, whereas I was just someone who loved music. The song was in French. She had translated it from Italian and made the arrangement. Of that winter evening I remember snow and that music. “You should sing in Paris”, I told her.
Long after I saw Maria on a stage in Rome. There was Amedeo Minghi who was celebrating 40 years of his career at Auditorium della Conciliazione. Maria was at the piano amidst the orchestra singing La Vita Mia with Amedeo. Rodrigo Prado, a Brazilian journalist of the daily A Tribuna, wrote that a new Édith Piaf was born: “When the age of great Divas seemed to have come to an end, buried under the absurdity of other people’s farce, Amedeo Minghi offers the extraordinary: Maria Dangell. Within his wonderful DVD to celebrate 40 years of his career - Amedeo Minghi all’Auditorium l’ascolteranno gli Americani - the Italian singer presents to Europe someone who can be considered, in this epoch of decline, one of the most fascinating female pianists and singers. With her nasal timbre and the stunningly powerful voice, Maria Dangell shines on stage sitting at the piano. She dominates the stage, mesmerizes the audience, she acts. No fear to err, Maria Dangell is a modern Édith Piaf, a prodigious talent, a reason for the most demanding listeners to reconsider their apathy in front of what reaches their ears. Apart from the vocal similarity made of a perfect intonation full of nuances, the passion, the fire which glows in the soul of a genuine artist, and the posture on stage, simple but sublime and illuminated, seem to make of one the portrait of the other’s majesty”.
Édith Piaf, Paris. Maria Dangell is, however, Estonian, from Tallinn, on the Baltic Sea. She knows eight languages, Estonian, Russian, German, Armenian, Italian, French, English and Spanish. She also sings in Yiddish, her grandparents’ language, and in Hebrew that she learned at the age of seventeen. The last of the family to speak Hebrew was her great-grandfather on her mother’s side, cantor of a synagogue next to Moscow. Maria was born in a Jewish family where she learned to love music at a very young age. At the age of seven she was playing piano, then studying and studying at the National School of Music and the Conservatoire. Study and much passion.
Now she lives in Berlin, where she goes on singing, playing, composing. She came to Italy several times. Over time she sang with Amedeo Minghi, Bobby Kimball of Toto, Hakeem Abu Jaleela, Keith Tynes, ex member of the Platters. In 2008, in Düsseldorf, Maria depicted the project “Hearts of Peace in the Middle East”, a project desired by Amedeo Minghi, Maria and Hakeem Abu Jaleela, to Hans-Gert Poettering, at the time the President of the European Parliament. Music, she explained, can do a lot, bring peace where there’s hate, where there’s war. Right there, to the Middle East, the hub city of Christians, Jews and Muslims, in Jerusalem, the contended Holy City. On April 1st 2009, in Bethlehem, Maria, Amedeo Minghi and Hakeem Abu Jaleela sang Gerusalemme by Amedeo Minghi next to the Church of the Nativity before 1500 pilgrims, and again on May 18th 2011 in Rome, in Auditorium della Conciliazione, during the concert for the beatification of John Paul II. And Gerusalemme sung in German and Russian with the cellist Irina Michnev in 2011 in Berlin, within that beautiful musical project which is Passage To Love, an authentic message of love and peace, as to Maria Dangell the music which makes you feel joy and pain, power and hope, is that miracle which makes you touch the sky.
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