Five Minutes With: Vancouver-based Singer and Songwriter Meriem Ben Amor

Meriem Ben Amor, a Tunisian-Canadian vocalist and songwriter, has garnered recognition for her captivating, ethereal voice and her remarkable versatility in music. Fluent in an array of languages, including Arabic, French, Spanish, and English, she seamlessly weaves her cultural fluency into her performances, effortlessly venturing into languages such as Romani, Ladino, Azeri, Farsi, and Romanian. Besides her vocal prowess, Meriem is a proficient musician, adept at handling various string instruments and percussion.

Immersed in a rich tapestry of Eastern and Western musical influences from an early age, Meriem’s musical journey commenced with the echoes of her father’s Arabic Sufi chants, paving the way for her exploration of the violin, classical guitar, and piano. Following her engineering studies in Tunisia, she made the move to Canada, where she honed her classical musical talents at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She later delved into the world of electronic music production and sound design, pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Berklee College of Music.

For more than a decade, Meriem lent her musical brilliance to the Roma Jazz Ensemble in Vancouver, led by the esteemed violin virtuoso Lache Cercel. In 2019, a serendipitous collaboration with two-time Grammy-nominated producer Carmen Rizzo birthed her debut album, “Once Upon a Time.” Their creative synergy led to the formation of the band Didon in late 2021. The release of their inaugural album, “Tunisian Tale,” in 2023 skyrocketed to the #1 position on the NACC world music charts, holding its place for several consecutive weeks.

In addition to her instrumental contributions to Roma Jazz Ensemble and Didon, Meriem actively engages in collaborative projects with musicians from diverse backgrounds, ceaselessly seeking new artistic endeavours and musical adventures.

Meriem Ben Amor

Name:

Meriem Ben Amor

Genre:

World Music

Founded:

2018

# of Albums:

Three albums (Once Upon a Time, Tunisian Tale and Tunisian Tale Remixed). I also released as well an EP and multiple singles.

Latest Album:

Tunisian Tale Remixed

Latest Single:

If Only Remix

Latest Video:

A music video for the song “My Heart’s Desire” was released by my band, Didon, as part of the band’s debut album, “Tunisian Tale.”

Favourite musician growing up:

Fairuz, Charles Aznavour and Cezaria Evora

Favourite musician now:

Anouar Brahem. I’ve never listened to his album “Le Pas Du Chat Noir” without getting goosebumps.

Guilty pleasure song:

Gas Gas. Everything by Goran Bregovic has a certain magical quality; his music always puts me in a joyful mood.

Live show ritual:

Before the show, I take a long walk, drink plenty of water, and have a green juice or a big salad. After the performance, I like to wind down with meditation or relaxation yoga, followed by a calming chamomile tea and a banana to soothe my excited mind and body.

Favourite local musician:

The violin player maestro Lache Cercel and his band, The Roma Jazz Ensemble, are particularly dear to me. I deeply appreciate the band’s collaborative approach with artists from diverse musical and cultural backgrounds. Having had the pleasure to perform with them, I’ve discovered their incredible skills and the warmth of their personalities.

EP or LP?

LP, and why not part 2 and 3 LPs? I cherish the process of conveying stories through art, and typically, the narrative itself determines when it concludes. If the story isn’t over yet, I continue to follow my call of writing and recording.

Early bird or night owl?

I’m definitely a night owl. I find that a quiet and mysterious night sparks my inspiration.

Road or studio?

Studio and preferably a small one. The simpler and more intimate the setup, the more it allows me to focus on what really matters and bring out a more genuine and organic performance during recording.

Any shows or albums coming up?

Currently, I am focused on promoting my album “Tunisian Tale” by my band, Didon, which is a collaborative effort with the two-time Grammy-nominated producer, Carmen Rizzo. We have submitted the album to the upcoming Grammy Awards under the Global Music Category and to the Juno Awards. Recently we started working on a new album, set to be released at the beginning of 2025.

Where can we follow you?

InstagramFacebookBandcampYoutubeTiktokSpotify

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Rapid Fire Local Questions:

What is your favourite local restaurant?

East Is East. It’s where I enjoy healthy delicious meals, beautiful Himalayan salt walls and tasteful live performances.

What is your favourite street in your city and why?

My favourite street is Commercial Drive, where I can discover music, cuisine, and shopping curated by creators from diverse cultures.

What is your favourite park in your city and why?

My favourite park is Stanley Park. I love its breathtaking ocean views and vibrant mix of people of all ages enjoying sunny days, whether biking, walking, running, or simply relaxing. It’s a beautiful, refreshing, and grounding place that we are fortunate to have here in Vancouver.

What is your favourite music venue in your city?

For performances, I prefer intimate settings that allow me to connect closely with my audience, such as the charming and character-filled small historic theatre, The Cultch. However, when it comes to enjoying a concert, I adore the iconic Vancouver Orpheum.

What is your favourite music store in your city?

I find Long & McQuade to be consistently reliable, and their staff members are always friendly and helpful. Whether I need technical gear, music books, or just want to experiment with different instruments for inspiration, they never disappoint.

 

About Emilea Semancik 135 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: