Folky, funky and a few things in between
“I hope you love Marianne's music as much as I do. She's great.” - Keb' Mo' Grammy Award winning recording artist
Marianne Grittani exudes musicality. To see her live is to become a fan. Her live performances range from lively to intimate and are always engaging. She is a seasoned singer, songwriter, and performer whose musical personality is deep and wide. Her well-crafted songs are filled with intelligence and soul, embracing common themes like love, loss, home, road adventures, and hopes for humanity—all in a way uniquely her own.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Marianne grew up with the emerging folk music of the late 60s and the 70s. Her love of a good song began then. At seventeen, she began writing her own songs and she's never stopped. Early favourites were James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and John Prine. “I’m drawn to a great melody and an eloquent, heartfelt lyric. But I love a good groove, too. When I wasn’t listening to and playing along with Joni, Jackson, or John, I was dancing to Otis, Smokey, or Aretha. My music is informed by so many influences that seeped in over the years, even the swing era music my parents played.”
Back in the 70s, when she working as a waitress in renowned coffee houses Smale's Pace in London and The Riverboat in Toronto, Marianne came into contact with the great folk/roots musicians who played there. She wasn't shy about asking artists like Taj Mahal, Bruce Cockburn, Ry Cooder, and others to show her things on the guitar. They graciously obliged the eager-to-learn musician.
Marianne’s varied musical influences have resulted in a stylistically diverse and sophisticated body of work that would make those early mentors proud.
Throughout the years, Marianne has performed with countless combinations of players throughout Canada and in Europe. Since moving back to Salt Spring Island in 2013, she has assembled a group of fine players who artfully complement her music. Lately, they’ve been playing mostly local gigs due to the pandemic, but one stand-out was opening for The Good Brothers at a show in southern Ontario in the fall of 2021 with Canadian guitar luminary Steve Briggs.
This past year there have been many losses of musical influences in her life, including John Prine, Nanci Griffith, and beloved friends Woody Mann and Harpdog Brown. In early 2020, her friend Laura Smith, from way back in the Smale's Pace days, also passed away. “Losing these colleagues and icons, all of them way too young, is a stark reminder of how tenuous our time here is, and how important it is to make the most of it,” Marianne says. “I feel like a fire has been lit in me to get out there and do what I love to do, give what I have to give, and appreciate this life I am so blessed to have.”
Now that things are opening up again, Marianne is working towards getting out into more communities, collaborating with more musicians, and connecting with wider audiences. Her pleasure in live performance—concert halls, clubs, festivals, or house concerts—is evident and completely contagious. Her swaying hips, spontaneous humour, soul-stirring voice and uplifting songs are trademarks of her shows. As one reviewer put it “When Marianne Grittani gets on stage, good things happen.”