Merja Soria, a native of Finland was the first Finlandia Foundation performer of the year in 1996. She received a Masters Degree in Music at Sibelius Academy in Finland and has taught Finnish music at San Diego State University and University of San Diego. In 2003 and 2006 Ms. Soria was featured in the Who’s Who in America and in 2005 she received an award at SDSU for Academic Excellence and Community outreach. Merja has performed at the Los Angeles Music Center, Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., Toronto Centre For the Arts, Peninsula Music Fair and many other music festivals in United States and Europe. Currently Ms. Soria teaches the young children of San Diego at her own music program Miss Merja‘s Music Room.
Ms. Soria’s CD Arctic Silence is a selection of ancient Finnish songs. A song from Arctic Silence was featured in the National Geographic Television’s program “Beyond the Movie: Lord of The Rings”.
Ms. Soria is dedicated to performing the touching music of Finnish heritage. She combines kanteles (Finnish folk harp) and voice to sing the haunting songs of Suomi. Finnish folk poetry tells that when the first kantele was played for the first time, the sound was so beautiful that everybody started to cry. When the tears touched the water of the ocean, they turned to pearls.
“Her vocals are so haunting, her folksongs scholarship impeccable…Soria doesn’t need to clutter songs with much instrumentation, her voice carries the day all on its own.”
Soria plays these traditional songs with wistful pleasure and a freshness, not so much in a strict traditional manner as in a creative style…
– Dirty Linen
Certainly, she has stripped away the rackety style into which many modern players of this kind of music have fallen, and she has produced a shining example of Finnish roots music.
The quieter songs are absolute gems…Merja’s shimmering kantele strings make Simon and Garfunkel seem overproduced.
–New World Finn
“…songs that sound as ancient as the roll of the seasons.” –
New World Finn
Apart from the sauna and mobile phones, Finland has also given us Merja Soria. On her CD Arctic Silence, this 12-year resident of the United …
“…Arctic Silence on kuitenkin Sorian soololevy, jossa vierailijoita on sӓӓsteliӓӓsti. Tunnelma on siten pieni ja intiimi, tunnetuista kansanmusiikkisӓvelmistӓ Soria etsii herkkiӓ puolia. Tulos on onnistunut: Liika yrittӓmӓttömyys on viehӓttӓvӓӓ, kokonaisuudessa on 60-lukulaisen folkin herkkyyttӓ.”
—Hannu Saha, Aksentti (FINLAND)
I first heard the music on the National Geographic special on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It is absolutely beautiful. The music is performed with Merja’s heavenly “elvish” voice accompanied only with the Finnish lute. If you ever wanted to hear Galadriel or Arwen singing, this is the soundtrack to get!
–Yau-ming, review at Amazon.com