Buffalo-born Maria Aurigema grew up surrounded by three brothers, living at the 30- room Degraff Mansion in North Tonawanda, which her dad owned. She was playing guitar and flute before finishing elementary school, but it was in her teens that she got a toehold on the blues, a byproduct of listening to WBFO’s late night programming. Still, she went on to study jazz guitar with revered local guitarist Stu Weissman and worked hard to emulate the complexity of artists like Pat Matheny and Al Dimeola while developing a taste for the emerging prog/fusion scene (articulated locally by a band called Gamalon that caught a big break opening for Genesis in 1973). Aurigema eventually began steering her sound away from the theory-based world of jazz and into the more intuitive territory of blues improv. The end result is a formidable blend of technical know-how and that sixth-sense that guides the best players through solo passages that never come out the same way twice—and she shares her expertise with her students as an instrumental music teacher in the Ken-Ton school district.
Maria is an energetic, gutsy, hard-driving original blues guitarist and singer/songwriter. Maria enjoys an enthusiastic following in Western New York and Canada and has performed at a variety of clubs and festivals throughout the region. She has performed with national blue’s artists Tommy Castro, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Tab Benoit, Elvin Bishop, Popa Chubby, Kelley Hunt, Jeff Healey, Debbie Davies and Jimmy Thackery to name a few. Additionally, she has opened for Foreigner, Blue Oyster Cult, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Little Feat, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Foghat, Steppenwolf, Sammy Hagar and Styx.