Maria Marocka
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Maria Marocka

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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"Family Album"

Journey of death and discovery inspire Maria Marocka's new album

It's the witching hour at Tobacco Road's Monday jam night, and singer-songwriter Maria Marocka is visibly agitated at the broken amplifier pickup on her guitar.

After trying everything short of a piece of chewing gum to keep the pickup in place, Marocka, 38, borrows a guitar that is woefully out of tune, frantically whips it into shape and finally takes the stage, strumming a lovely folk riff Bob Dylan would be proud to call his own.

Marocka closes her eyes as if to dive deep into her soul, and the tension in the crowded downstairs space begins to dissipate. As she belts out ``It's tiiime / to stop crying'' over and over again, the audience of 100 falls under her spell. The refrain is more like a mantra than a lyric, lifting listeners to a higher plane.

The mood shifts again as the stunning 5-foot-10-inch blonde cracks a grin as contagious as the Cheshire Cat's and breaks into a four-song set of twangy, folk-tinged Americana from her new CD, Life is Sweet, which will be released Saturday night at Tobacco Road.

The collection of seven Marocka originals plus a haunting cover of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire retraces the emotional roller-coaster ride Marocka began in 2005: After losing both her parents, she learned while going through their papers that she had been adopted.

The discovery, coming after a string of deaths, turned Marocka's world upside down.

``I planned four funerals within eight months,'' she says. ``My grandmother died in February 2005. My mom was also diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 2005, and she passed away in April. And my dad wanted to be with her, so he died from complications of diabetes in August.

``And then my aunt and uncle both died within a couple days of each other in January 2006. It was a chain, they were all connected.''

While going through boxes of her late father's papers, Marocka found adoption documents.

``I'm looking for tax forms and never found them. Instead it was a letter from the adoption agency about my sister [Michelle], and then a medical history of my birth mother.

``First I found the paper about Michelle, and I thought, `Oh my God, she's adopted -- I should throw this away.' And then a minute later I realized I was adopted too.''

Marocka was stunned.

``When you find out what your family was -- is -- not, it shakes you to your core. I have no ill will towards the parents who raised me. They were wonderful. If anything I wish I had to opportunity to thank them.

``But there was a side of me that felt, `Oh yeah.' I kind of felt that I was different than my parents. It is a conflicted thing. But I love my parents and I miss them.''

Hammered by enough life-changing events to propel a soap opera, Marocka returned to work as an elementary school music teacher at Ojus in Aventura and Treasure Island in North Bay Village, where her mother, Joyce Murawka had taught for 20 years. (Marocka is the spelling Maria uses professionally.)

``I work with kids, so I can't hide anything. My co-workers helped get me through it. . . . I would spend days in the office just sobbing. The principal would say, `OK, come on, get yourself together.' But on the days I worked at Treasure Island it was like torture because my mother, myself and my sister all worked together.''


Composing a song for the dedication of a peace garden planted in her mother's memory at Treasure Island Elementary helped Marocka get off the misery train she'd been riding.

``I wrote the melody, the kids wrote the lyrics and we put it all together.''

Eighteen months after learning she was adopted, Marocka contacted the adoption agency in hopes of finding her birth parents.

``It was really weird. . . . They make you send a letter of introduction, which was awkward to say the least. `Hi, this is who I am, this is what I am doing.' ''

The process may have been uncomfortable, but Marocka was amazed by the results. She learned that both of her birth parents were music teachers and that her father, Patrick Matthews, had taught at New World School of the Arts, where she had been a member of the founding class.

Matthews never married, but Marocka's birth mother, Irene Kecskemethy, had -- and is the mother of three other daughters, Zoli, Delina and Eva.

``I'm very fortunate,'' Marocka says. ``Many people who lose their parents are left with nothing but debt from the funeral costs and I got a new family out of it.''

Marocka went to Maine to meet her birth mother and half sisters -- a joyous time, she says.

``There was the awkwardness of talking about [why she was given up for adoption]. But it wasn't bad, because I had great parents and I was nurtured.''


``I literally know who I am now. And it's been a journey,'' Marocka says. ``I was taking care of everyone else, and they passed. So I was, `What do I do now?' and I thought, `Maybe I better be getting going on Maria.' ''

Like the old R&B chestnut says, love is a two-way street, and Marocka's youngest half-sister, Eva, was so enamored of her that she followed her straight back to Miami and into the audience of the aforementioned Tobacco Road show. The resemblance between the two tall women with smiles that could heat up Alaska in January is striking.

As Marocka kicks into the opening chords of the title track, Life is Sweet, Eva pivots in her front-row seat and shares the love with the surrounding tables. ``Isn't she great! Wouldn't you be excited if you found out she was your sister?''
- The Miami Herald


Solo Releases

Life Is Sweet upcoming release

Special Delivery 2004

Ranch Songs 2002

SoLo-Fi 2000

The Height
Evol Egg Nart Recordings
“Single of the Month” May 1999

Big Couch Ride CD single 1998

Band Releases

The Curious Hair
Say Hello to Happiness 2000
Bluebird EP 2001

The Elysian
In the Cards


HomeMade Music
Spring 2001 CD Digest

18 Great
Songs from

Live at Tobacco Road
Slipstream Records 1999
and others...



Maria Marocka is a singer/songwriter from Miami, Florida. Her original rock songs are filled with sweet melodies, fancy phrasing and catchy hooks. Maria’s music has been described as “modern, heartfelt rock performed with true passion.”

Maria is currently preparing for the release of her upcoming CD. Her fourth solo effort, Life Is Sweet, will feature seven new, original songs, and a cover of June Carter’s, Ring of Fire. These new recordings chronicle the struggle and loss Maria has faced during the past several years following the loss of both parents in 2005; as well as the renewed strength and passion that have carried her through.

Maria has performed in collaborative bands and fronted her own. Currently, she is most often found playing solo with her guitar. During her personal trials over the past several years Maria has become more introspective and focused on her songwriting. She is looking forward to re-introducing herself to the South Florida music scene and beyond.

“Life is sweet, it’s overflowing.
It’s all over me, that’s why I’m glowing.”