Multicultural Musician Creates Beautiful Rainbow World

Multicultural children’s performer, Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou speaks the language of music. Literally. A successful and award-winning folk artiste, she strongly believes that seeing the world through a musical lens allows us to appreciate diversity and celebrate our “beautiful rainbow world”. Her music combines the traditions of world folk music with contemporary songs.

Daria did not set out to be a musician. Being raised in the United States as well as in an indigenous culture in South America, she attributes her music and her art to her many travels. Living in other cultures, “it was natural to pick up the languages, instruments and songs from places and people that I loved”, she says. Thus, to Daria, being a multicultural musician is not so much a choice as much as it is simply a rich description of life lived amidst multiple cultures. Daria’s albums have songs in English, Spanish, Yiddish, Arabic, Zulu, and even the Native language of the Incan empire – Quechua.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Daria about her life as a musician and her experiences on the road. Here are the excerpts.

You are a successful and award-winning artiste. What kind of a reception does your music get in the different places that you visit and perform?

I’ve really found wonderful reception in the United States because in the last few decades even mainstream organizations like schools and institutions like museums and cultural centers are actively looking for ways to celebrate diversity and to connect with world peoples. For that reason, my CDs and my live shows have been increasingly popular and that’s been helpful in supporting me as an artist and allowing me to continue the work I love to do.

Listen to Daria’s For All The World’s Children[size]=small

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In other countries I take a bit of a different approach. There is a Quechua word – “chakaruna” – that means bridge people. It is used for people who walk between cultures and form bridges. When I play in other countries and cultures, I work with the local group so that we create community music-making. I look to honor their traditional music and learn from it as well as to share what I do. I always try to go to a new place having learned at least one popular song from that culture and I hope to leave with many more I can share them with my next audiences.

Learn how #multicultural #music artiste @dariasmusic bridges cultures and people. Click To Tweet
Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou
Picture taken at Jemez (Native American) Pueblo Reservation, the Towa-speaking pueblo north of Albuquerque, USA.
Daria is pictured with two of her musicians (Mike Beck and Tony Mascara) and their host group, the Starfeather drummers and dancers from the Jemez Pueblo.

What have you learned during the process of creating, promoting, and performing your music?

I come with an open heart and the process is less about “Hey, look at me, I’m an artiste” and more of “Let’s make music together and see what we can learn from each other”. One thing I enjoy the most is when kids say things like.. “Wow, you came all the way here to listen to our music” Or “You do this for a living… Could I do this for a living”? “You mean we’re going to actually make instruments” “I can play your instruments?”

[pullquote]Increasingly pop music in the modern world is more about the shock value or charisma of an artist and less about the music itself or about how music is a powerful bonding and community experience.[/pullquote]

I love how I’ve tried to shift the focus back to how music worked in tribal cultures or simpler times – as a way to share and grow and create and express yourself. I love how kids feel free to make music with me during my interactive shows! No matter how many times I do a live show – even with the same set of songs – the audience makes it totally unique with their participation every single time!

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Would you mind sharing any of the challenges you may have faced in this musical journey?

I’d say that I have the same biggest challenge as many of my fellow artists – making a living at what I do.  With a changing music business and a changing economy in general, I’ve always looked for new ways to reach people so I developed a website and an App with not only my music but with fun interactive activities and games.  I hoped that people whom I might not be able to visit in person would still be able to explore world music traditions with me through some of the tools or activities I’ve created.  I just love it when I get an e-mail from a location in the world like Tokyo, Japan, or Dublin, Ireland or Novosibirsk, Siberia saying that they’ve found something that I’ve created fun and useful.

Pop music is now more about the shock value and less about what the music says @dariasmusic Click To Tweet

Wherever possible, I try to make my materials free, but I also have paid resources and an active store on the TeachersPayTeachers site.  That is a great place to find all my freebies, music and E-books and mini-music courses for kids such as my new E-book on Australian Aboriginal Instruments or on Instruments of India. You may also check the entire collection here


Where do you see yourself going from where you are at, currently, career wise? 

I’m excited to get back on the road again and visit new countries. A few years ago, I was asked to play the Children’s Festival in Novosibirsk (Siberia) but I was unable to attend because of travel issues.  I certainly hope they ask me again. My other dream locations would be places like Iceland, Nunavet (indigenous nation north of Canada), China and practically anywhere I am invited.  New places always bring new learning and adventures for me.

Aside from travel and performing, I’d like to create a show of world music for kids and still working on finding the correct format… Youtube, PBS music minutes, Disney TTI? All the pieces have not come together yet, but I am hoping that they do.  Music is so visual, I’d love to begin creating as many video resources as I have for my music.

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Most of all, I’d love kids to see and hear a world of music that genuinely celebrates our diversity and shares the message that they are a valued and valuable part of our planet – our beautiful rainbow world.[size]=small

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Daria’s website, DariaMusic, is a wealth of information and resources for parents, teachers, homeschoolers, and people across abilities. Follow her on Twitter @DariaMusic. Like DariaMusic on Facebook. 

Here are links to purchase Daria’s music:

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