KRAAK FEST 2024 HIGHLIGHTS: Maria Valentina Chirico

Turin-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Maria Valentina Chirico and her harmonium seem to be inseparable. Trained in baroque, classical and contemporary music, Chirico uses her angelic voice, harmonium, tapes, and electronics to create haunting and magical ambient-folk songs. You may find yourself longing for a past that was never yours, reminiscing about falling in love with an instrument you’ve never even played ~ music for building a snowman and watching it slowly melt.

Your collection of “forgotten” harmoniums is very intriguing! How many do you own? Do you have any favorites?

Because of the small size of my house I only own three now. My favorite is the one I use live, both for the ease of transport and for the magical sound. It arrived on the night of Saint Nicholas from Leipzig from the genius of Maestro Klaus Langer. The first time I heard the sound of the harmonium I decided I wanted to stay at home forever playing.

Can you tell us a bit more about your musical background and how it shaped you as an artist?

My background is certainly classically trained. I studied chamber music and sang from ancient to contemporary music. Certainly knowing and doing a Masters with Meredith Monk's Vocal Ensemble and having lessons with Lucy Shelton,and knowing Andrea Penso (Invisibilia) opened up immense windows of musical freedom for me. The first time I listened to Herzgewächse, op.20 by Arnold Schönberg, I discovered a magical timbre: harmonium, harp, celesta, very high soprano. Harmonium and harp create a sense of childhood and that magical shadowy timbre and tone color.

Composing music for theater and cinema is something you’ve been focusing on. Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

I really love writing for the theater but above all for short films. With Vanja Contu I’ve just finished setting The Little Match Girl from 1902.

Find Maria Valentina on Instagram & Invisibilia Edition's Bandcamp!

Maria Valentina Chirico plays KRAAK Festival 2024 March 2 at Het Bos, Antwerp. Tickets still available here ~