Maitreya Wolfs relationship with music is a life-long love story. “She came out of the womb dancing, singing, and drawing” according to her mother Kate, so she was enrolled in the children’s chorus at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA at a young age. There she learned the classical vocal technique which is the foundation for the range and power of her unique voice. This early training is also the origin of her love for the majesty of the naked voice ringing in space.
“Every Saturday morning mom and I would trek from our home in Somerville to the Conservatory in the Back Bay and I would sing with the other children for hours. We had a few performances a year which took place in the big old auditorium at the Conservatory, a proper wooden hall made to conduct the un-amplified sound of choruses, symphonies, and the like before sound systems. It was amazing. As hellish as it could be to get up on the freezing winter mornings and make that journey, the warmth and magic that awaited me there in the chorus was extraordinary. To sing in a group of gorgeous voices, and then to take that singing into that grand old hall, was truly miraculous. We sang our way into heavenly realms in those moments, touching something ancient, primal, pure, and unutterably gorgeous. It was a tremendous gift, and set the foundation for how I sing now, which is my way to reach deep into the heart of creation and offer her sound back to her with my whole being as prayer.”
Stir the pot of this early education in classical chorales, hymns, and chants with the influence of the old country, classic rock and folk that her mother loved, her uncles classical guitar playing, and her own young love of pop, folk, rock, electronic, world, and classical music, and the brew begins to cook in a unique and wonderful way. As time has progressed she has integrated a love of different music from all around the world, learned to play the guitar, begun to play the frame drum, and apprenticed herself deeply to the singing of the wild earth from whence many of her songs emerge. All of this has contributed to what is now Maitreya’s unparalleled signature sound, a sound she describes as “the meeting of my classical training and my primal sensibilities.”
And it is, indeed, a sound that defies description. “I’m always stumped by the question ‘What kind of music do you do?’ I can name my influences and tell the story of where it comes from to a certain degree, but you have to hear it to know. It’s a medicine and a wild magic, it comes from many places and carries many treasures in its folds. So I say, ‘Come hear it. And then tell me what you would call it’. All that I can say is that it’s the sound of my soul.”
Her songs and soundscapes are mythologies, teachings, invitations, rhapsodies, and prayers. Many songs have lyrics of deep poetry, and many are sung in her “soul language,” which is sound untethered to known word. As a wordsmith, the poetry weaves the threads that we all share as participants in the human endeavor into a cloth that we each know as our own essential garment. As a mystic, the soul language resonates with the deepest reaches of the listener, expressing in pure emotion and calling out to pure emotion, and extending the invitation to deepen, through the music, into pure experience.
“When my authentic voice first emerged, I didn’t get what was happening. I was young, and it was a pivotal moment in my journey: a prolonged drama that culminated in a concise trauma shattered my world, my body, my heart and my being, and through that shattering my true voice emerged. It was unlike anything I had heard before, and though I loved it, I just didn’t get it at the time. The sounds, the style, the energy and essence of it, and the way it all wanted to move and be were incomprehensible to me. It’s taken me years to realize that what it is and how it moves were shaped fundamentally by my early training: my relationship with my voice was developed through the medium of the chorus, singing renaissance era choral music which is a very celestial style with vocal parts that range all over the place and it was all sung in latin or other languages that I don’t speak. I learned to sing in what was to me pure sound. That’s why I don’t strive for lyrics. I’m used to singing in pure sound and I deeply love it, especially as I’ve grown into the medicine of my voice. As for the story of the emergence of my voice after the drama/trauma, it was an oceanic force, and I began to sing in that way constantly even though it seemed strange to me at the time. It was the medicine life poured through me to heal me and to align me with my reason for being here in the world, but at the time I wasn’t cultivated enough to understand that, so it would come through and I would try to mold it into something more familiar, which of course never ‘worked’. When I was finally able to surrender into the journey of singing what was actually singing through me, it began to flourish, and it began to guide me, and it was a miraculous. It still is. It still continues to guide and teach me, this voice. It still continues to take directions I’m not expecting. And truly, I love it with all my heart. I cannot fathom carrying something more beautiful or precious in my life. All I want to do is sing and participate in the healing of the world with this voice and being.”
Maitreya carries this sacred gift of the music that moves through her as an offering to the healing of the world and the soul of the listener, and as her thanks to life and nature for the gift of life. Aspiring to create a sacred space in which to slow down and connect in deeply to self, soul, and earth, her performances are woven of song, story, poetry and teaching. She is one of the many voices of the earth, calling out to the deepest parts of our own hearts and souls to remember our kinship with wild nature and the web of life.
Listen, and be healed.