Maza Meze

Maza Meze



If only the music people listened to was as diverse as the food they ate; what a world it would be! Maza Mezé is devoted to making that concept a reality. The word Maza is Arabic and the word Mezé is Greek. They both are terms that describe the assortment of appetizers served at the beginning of a meal in those cultures- think babaganoush, a plate of olives, a kebab or two…in the eastern Mediterranean these dishes tease the palate and either prepare the diner for more substantial fare to come or make up a meal on their own.

Maza Mezé are an assortment of Toronto musicians who love the music of Greece and the Middle East. Some have been born into the culture; others have adopted it. In 1995 they came together to explore traditional music from the region and to create their own original compositions based on that music. They are an eclectic gathering of some of Toronto’s finest improvisers and innovators. Vocalists Jayne Brown, Jennifer Moore, Maryem Tollar and Sophia Grigoriadis are accompanied by instrumentalists Ernie Tollar, John Gzowski, Debashis Sinha and Jeff Wilson as well as selected special guests ranging from a belly dancer to a traditional Greek clarinet player. These artists lead double if not triple or quadruple musical lives- bringing their experience in a variety of other bands to Maza Mezé . Their varied musical tastes and abilities allow Maza Mezé to add many exotic flavourings from a dozen genres and traditions to the basic Greek and Middle Eastern repertoire; a dollop of R&B or a hint of Latin perhaps.

The result of this mixing and matching has been an ensemble and a repertoire that has captured the ears of listeners across the country. Maza Mezé has performed at festivals across Canada from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island. In Toronto they have organized an ambitious year round series of concerts that feature special guests - master musicians from as far away as Egypt and as close as Toronto’s Greek community. Their unique sound led them to be the first world music ensemble to ever be recorded by CBC Records, and their music is a regular feature on CBC Radio broadcasts across Canada as well as local community radio stations.

With an almost inexhaustible palette of sounds and styles of music, Maza Mezé is a Canadian institution that can move your mind and your feet, wherever you are.