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Sydney, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Sydney, Australia | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Alternative R&B




"ELSZ Releases New Single/Video on International Women’s Day"

Standing strong for abuse survivors and raising awareness for the cause, Australian/ Sri Lankan artist ELSZ delivers a powerful song and video on International Women’s Day.

Noticing the global crisis present with the violence committed onto women, the musician uses her platform to remind the public the pain and the effect it has on survivors. Creating a beautiful song that captures the soul of many women out there who may be too afraid to speak out, ELSZ hopes to bring strength to the women and enlightenment to others. Partnering up with French filmmaker Joseph Paris, the two artists released the documentary style music video for her new song “Poison”. The two activists put together their art and passion in a collaboration that may reach more people about a topic that’s sometimes shut out.

Paris is a butterfly activist who works through a collective of artists and other activists in a group called “RADICAL CINEMA”. Through his documentary work he began to follow women’s rights group FEMEN, and their revolt in Ukraine. The filmmaker won an award for his documentary, titled “Naked War” and brings his artistic vision to “Poison” in the form of contrasting lights and darks and striking backgrounds. Providing the visual art and representation of the female artist, Paris secures the impact of the song with the help of his direction and camera.

ELSZ hopes to bring together communities across Sri Lanka, Australia, and the rest of the world to form grass root initiatives in order to provide and protect female survivors of violent hate acts. Coming off of her forthcoming debut feature length album Blue Scar. Steeped in her background as a poet, harpist, and experimental artist, she combines traditional and modern aspects of music together to create a unique sound. Throw in a passionate understanding of the pain of the rise of violence against women, the fellow survivor and musician not only speaks her mind but sings it as well.

With haunting vocals and a light array of musical instruments, “Poison” depicts the tale of an abuse survivor. ELSZ’s voice that shifts between airy notes and rooted rhythm captures listeners and pulls them into the song. The strong lyrics tie together with the music to present a unique song that brings the impactful quality of spoken poetry, and this is all just within the song. ELSZ presents on International Women’s Day her ode to the strength of female survivors in the form of her music video for her new single. The music video artistically starts off with a dark backdrop and a vulnerable ELSZ, immediately incorporating the internal feelings that most women feel in abusive situations. Then the vivid scenery and symbolic clothes and props show the true meaning of the song. Reaching out to fellow survivors and to the general public in hopes to raise awareness for the injustice regularly done to women, ELSZ presents her artistry and strength with “Poison”. - The Knockturnal

"ELSZ: Songs of Empowerment"

ELSZ is one of those musicians who once you hear, you don’t forget. After interviewing her last year, I found her to be fascinating as both a person and as an artist, she has a vision that is truly unique and inspiring. Last year her album was in the works, and now, with the first single coming out in March and the EP soon to follow, the doors are opening for ELSZ as she walks into a new season as a musician. Armed with a powerful message, she is sure to break boundaries and energise everyone who listens to her music.
ELSZ’s debut album Blue Scar has been brewing for the last few years, and last year she went to New York to work on her first and second single. The first single ‘Poison’, which she wrote and produced, is going to be launched for International Women’s Day, (March 8), a significant date chosen by ELSZ as she aims to mobilize people to speak out about violence against women.
The definition for violence against women, according to The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993 is, “Any act of gender based violence that result in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
Violence against women is a global issue and it has been normalised in many societies around the world. According to ‘Understanding Gendered Violence against Women in Sri Lanka A Background Paper for Women Defining Peace,2009’, “Violence against women is normalised due to patriarchal socialisation processes that give more power to men over women and demarcate lines of conduct where women and men have differential and often unequal access to and control over resources.” In Sri Lanka this issue is far too familiar. According to Women For Rights, a woman is raped every 90 minutes in Sri Lanka, 80 per cent of women experience domestic violence (2013) and 95 per cent of women who use public transport experience sexual harassment. And 97 per cent of rapists in Sri Lanka face no consequence.
For ELSZ this issue is close to her heart, having experienced these issues first hand, and let’s be honest, almost all of us women have experienced some form of abuse one way or the other. We just don’t talk about it as much as we should. ELSZ knows that this is an issue that we need to be able to talk about more freely, and she hopes that this single and her debut EP will be a catalyst for in this regard. She is also choosing to donate the profits of the song to a women’s organisation in Sri Lanka that she feels is under resourced.
The video for the single was shot in Paris where she partnered with renowned French filmmaker Joseph Paris. ELSZ said she was at first hesitant to work with a man on the video, as she was afraid she wouldn’t get her vision, but she soon found out that he couldn’t be more ideal for the job. Paris is an award winning filmmaker who gathered critical acclaim or his film Naked War, which was about the revolt of FEMEN, a Ukrainian feminist movement. “My initial concern with Jospeh being a man was quickly dismissed as he had a firm insight into the feminist movement.” She says, “It’s also great that this is a project that is worked on by both a man and a woman, as it shows that both sexes can be activated for the cause.”
Paris himself said, “It must be understood that violent men are not real men. Too often shame falls upon the victims of violence, however, this must change. It is the perpetrators who deserve to be ashamed. For this reason, I believe it is fundamental to share stories and break the silence as ELSZ has done with this music video.”
The video that ELSZ and Paris shot together depicts a confronting dialogue between ELSZ, as a female survivor of psychological, physical and sexual violence, and her abusive partner.”In this video I am addressing the abuser as the victim.” She explains, “It highlights the importance of speaking out and explores the dynamics of an abusive relationship. There’s also so much of shame when it comes to a victim speaking out, and I wanted to get rid of that stigma.”
Not only does her first single explore these issues, the rest of her album does too. “The album is going to be released in two parts, Blue and Scar.” She explains. “They are both equal and opposite, like ying and yang, exploring the dynamics of how violence persists in relationships and how it evolves, addressing patriarchy and also the dynamics of love. It’s not all dark and heavy though! It touches on both the light and the shade.” The title of the album is also significant as it reference a story in Hindu mythology of sacrifice and carrying the scars in its aftermath.
ELSZ hopes that by sharing her story she will empower other women to speak out, “It’s about breaking cycles.” She says, “It’s about time we stop feeling shame about these issues or feel like it’s just the way things are so there’s nothing we can do about it.”
It’s not easy to talk about these issues let along write songs about them, and ELSZ says that she found writing it almost therapeutic, “The album involved a lot of catharsis in order to deal with your inner workings and stories, and it’s something you have to go through.”
Talking more about the recording process, ELSZ says that the single, ‘Poison’, which she wrote and produced, was recorded at one of New York City’s oldest recording studios Sear Sound which has previously hosted artists such as John Lennon, Patti Smith, and Bjork, who is one of her favourite musicians. “My time in New York was a dream come true, because ever since I went there on a dance tour when I was sixteen, I always wanted to go back. I also got to meet a lot of creative and extremely talented people while I was there and worked with some amazing musicians, like sound engineer Jeremy Loucas, and producer Grant Jefferson.”
As a home grown artist, ELSZ has a sound that stands out, and you haven’t heard any of her music, it’s about time you do! She chooses to talk about subjects that many local artists dare to touch, but seriously need to be discussed. So make sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled and grab a copy of the single and the EP when they come out!
For more on ELSZ, check out her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/iamelsz
Instagram: @iamelz - The Sunday Leader


Putting yourself out there can be a polarizing experience.

I used to sporadically research the work of Joanna Newsom, and this was the fundamental observation. When the unfortunate subjects of this research (i.e. my more unsuspecting friends), were made to sit through “Peach, Plum, Pear”, half of them unfurled in a gag reflex so immediate and overwhelming. The other half however, professed that it was the most disarming musical experience of their lives.

Maarion Elsz is a Sri Lankan singer-songwriter with folk music roots and a certain worldly zest. But there is no direct link to the backstory above: her voice is not as restlessly peculiar as Newsom’s, nor are her lyrics as densely narrative. Instead, Maarion’s word sound exist somewhere calmer, closer to a precious paddling of an indie favourite like Mirah. What warrants the original comparison however, is a certain freewheeling spirit—and a foreboding sense of drama—that underscore her work on her debut EP. Then there’s the harp.

But “solitary vocals, wind chimes, synths, big bass and ecstatic clapping” (from her bandcamp) could begin to describe so many of the aspiring singer-songwriters out there. So what elevates a budding songstress from an also-ran to that Lhasa de Sela sphere? That’s a hefty question, and it’s unjust to expect Chasing Rainbows to answer it fully. But in the spirit of candour, let’s see how far it does, anyway.

The arrangements here are twee and spare, but full-formed; “Oceanglow” sounds as lucid and liquid as its title. Her voice, which has that trained but almost-breaking quality to it, ebbs and flows to cast the lyrics in tenser and nuanced light—in contrast to how they lay on the page. The album artwork is meticulous and considered, the vivid colours of its ink still damp on paper. The strings on “Seafarers” grind and twerk like two tender beasts making love, or an intoxicated outtake from John Roberts’ vintage Glass Eights. It’s a track that again highlights Isaac Smith’s weighty and alive double bass work here and Isuru Kumarasinghe’s work on an assortment of instruments.

And just maybe, ‘budding’ and ‘aspiring’ are the wrong words to use, as Maarion seems to operate in a distinctly self-assured plain—a world of her own. Written and produced by herself, recorded by Isuru Kumarasinghe and mastered by seasoned hands, the music here offers rich, passaged hallways for trained ears to explore: “Stone and the Tree” feels fleeting and earthly at the same time. “These Days” (her debut single) stands out, its stabs of double bass digging deep, setting anchor. And her restive voice, caught in a cascading tapestry of strings and soft claps, sounds wiser than her years, evoking a young Nina Nastasia along the way.

It may be early days yet. But colour us polarized, positively. - Border Movement


Still working on that hot first release.



ELSZ is a Sri Lankan/Australian producer, harpist, dancer and vocalist. She was born in Sydney but spent most of her early childhood in Sri Lanka. At the age of nine she returned to Australia after a bombing close to her primary school in Colombo during the civil war. Her music and work have been informed by these early experiences and is dedicated to using music as a means of activism & advocacy.

 Last year, ELSZ recorded the first two singles for her forthcoming debut album 'Blue Scar' at New York City’s oldest recording studio, Sear Sound with Grammy Award winning engineer Jeremy Loucas. She independently released her debut single/video 'Poison', on the 8th of March 2016 (International Women's day). 'Poison' is dedicated to victims and survivors of gender based violence.  'Poison' received global media coverage (namely in Australia, Sri Lanka and the United States). 

ELSZ is a survivor of domestic violence and her personal experiences of love & violence has informed her recent work, ELSZ’ forthcoming album ‘Blue Scar’ explores these dualities in their entirety. The raw, dulcet tones of ELSZ' voice, the haunting ethereal harp, her distinctive productions, lyrical elegance and evocative live shows have reached audiences worldwide from her hometowns to New York, London, Melbourne, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and more. 

In 2013, ELSZ produced and released her debut EP 'Chasing Rainbows' under the name Maarion Elsz (freak folk project), ELSZ was nominated for best female artist for the Yes FM Home Grown Awards 2013. 

 ELSZ works as a song writer and feature vocalist for Sydney based producer Ribongia, she co-wrote and featured on 'Holler', from his Escapisms EP, released in April 2016 on October Records. ELSZ recently featured as a harpist on Kucka' forthcoming EP, Kucka is a Perth based producer/singer who has won various awards and has collaborated extensively with artists such as Flume & A$AP Rocky.  ELSZ produced the song 'RIP' (Rise in Peace) for California Native/ NY based Rapper BEAM (Independent), released in March 2016. She is also currently collaborating and writing for Perth based producer Tina Says (Pilerats Records), Paris based producer Ambient Polarity (Independent) and New York based producer/drummer Ignabu (Independent).

Band Members