Maria passed away September 19, 2019
Excerpt from her website bio —
This Venezuelan composer is known as one of the most versatile voices in Latin America and now North America, Maria Rivas skillfully combines American and Latin Jazz rhythms with lively yet sentimental music from around the world. María’s unique sound is an intoxicating combination of classic American jazz and Latin music, with just the right splash of Brazilian accents, together with her signature mixture of indigenous, Caribbean, European, and African strains. She interprets her music in English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.From slow and sensuous, to very lively with a strong beat, her audiences love alternately to dance to her music, or sit and listen while being both moved and energized. A significant number of her audience members have described her performances as “magical”-their word.
During her musical career spanning over 30 years, Maria has released ten albums while headlining concerts in Latin America, North America, Europe, and Asia. including the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
María Rivas has won every prestigious singing award Venezuela and much of Latin America has to offer. Her hit song, MANDUCO, remained in the number one position on the charts in Latin America for many months, and in the top 10 for over 3 years, and turned her into a cultural icon. María now makes her home in South Florida.
María is also an innovative and accomplished painter and visual artist, with a refreshing and distinctive style. She has created works on multiple media, and these now grace the galleries of museums and collectors around the world. Since her childhood she had an incredible talent for painting and plastic arts, in graphic design, fashion design, illustration, oil and acrylic work. Her unique style, which she calls “Curvismo,” is a style of painting that reflects jazz in a visual way. Maria Rivas has exhibited her art, combining her Latin jazz and world music, in Fort Lauderdale (2011) and Miami (2012) during the Jazzonian Festival and the Awards for Miami ArtZine. Maria’s latest paintings are her “American Jazz Greats” Series. In this Series, she has created highly original interpretations on canvas of some of the greatest artists in Jazz history, including (alphabetically) Chet Baker, Miles Davis, and Nina Simone. Art critics have raved that the viewer can actually experience the sensation of listening to these great performers while simply looking at Maria’s paintings. She frequently exhibits her art during her musical performances, creating a tremendously attractive and unusual combination of delights for her audiences.
María Rivas is also a renowned environmentalist and humanitarian in her native Venezuela. Among her many charitable works, she has been instrumental in popularizing the Recycling movement in that nation. An example of her innovative approach was her series of concerts where the admission’s ticket was paid by young patrons in the form of bags of Recycled Garbage brought to the concert!! She also has devoted her leadership skills in Hatha Yoga and meditation to women and teenage inmates in Venezuela prisons, where she led successful programs to reach numerous prisoners through her positive example and teachings. In recognition of her years of positive environmental activism, Ms. Rivas was awarded the coveted William H. Phelps Award in defense of the environment in Venezuela.