Five Favourites: Maija Sofia

Following the success of last single ‘Flowers’, Irish artist Maija Sofia has now announced the release of her debut album, Bath Time – a collection of songs that were written in the run up to the Repeal The 8th Movement, and all addressing the issue of the silencing and misrepresentation of women.

Creating poignant, stirring slices of alt-folk, filled with beautiful melodies, rich luscious vocals and a raw emotion, Maija Sofia is fast becoming a firm favourite and we can’t wait for the album release.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with Maija, who has shared her “Five Favourites” – five tracks that particularly resonate with her. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to latest single ‘The Glitter’ at the end of this post.

Katie Kim – ‘Day is Coming’ 
Katie Kim is one of my absolute favourite songwriters and this song is from her incredible album Salt. I love how dark, foreboding and ominous her work is while managing to be tender and emotive at the same time. She marries heavy, droning, gauzy harmonies with strange, unexpected vocal melodies and it creates an atmosphere in her work that’s like a sliver of sunlight trying to push through heavy black storm clouds. I love how the chanted refrain “day is coming” towards the end of this song sounds like a wild, horrific pagan ritual, but also sounds redemptive and oddly reassuring.

Radie Peat – ‘Katie Cruel’
I first heard Radie perform this song with the above mentioned Katie Kim when they did a really special collaborative performance in the Pepper Canister church in Dublin, and she’s since recorded an amazing version with her band Lankum who I would include in this list as they are probably my favourite band at the moment, but they surely need no introduction. I knew this song first from Karen Dalton’s gorgeous version but I love how Radie’s drawling almost terrifying voice merges with the harmonium and fiddle drones and makes it a totally new song.

Rachael Lavelle – ‘Perpetual Party’
Rachael Lavelle is an up and coming artist also based in Dublin that I’m really excited about. She has one of the hugest most eerily expansive voices I have ever heard and her songs are dark, gothic, evocative but also euphoric and have a strange, off-kilter sense of humour. This song is a perfect example of what makes her work so singular; she blends aspects of influence from Laurie Anderson, Jenny Hval and Julia Holter, but just makes it completely her own. Every time I see her live I’m more blown away.

Lisa O’Neill – ‘Along The North Strand’
For one reason or another I have a deep love of murder ballads in which the roles are reversed and it’s the women doing the murdering; same goes with folklore, the bible – Judith and Holofernes, Salome and John the Baptist, you name it, I love them all. This is a song Lisa O’Neill learned from a little-known traveller singer Kitty Cassidy and it appeared on her last album, the brilliant Heard A Long Gone Song. Lisa is also an one of my favourite songwriters, and that last album is a perfect mix of original songs and traditional songs, blending her wild, jagged mountainside stormy sea of a voice, her plaintive, poetic lyrics with accompaniment from some of the best trad musicians in the country like Cormac Begley and Christophe Capewell.

Rising Damp – ‘Rising Damp’
Rising Damp is the solo performance project of Michelle Doyle who also plays in the great punk band Sissy. I’ve been lucky to share the same bill with Michelle a few times now and every time I’m blown away. I can’t really describe it properly, but a Rising Damp show consists of synths, drum machines, vocal effects and fervently anti-fascist spoken word/shouting, all delivered with Michelle’s wild, hypnotic feral energy. If you ever get the opportunity to go to a Rising Damp show – go!

Huge thanks to Maija for sharing her Five Favourites! Listen to latest single ‘The Glitter’ below:

Bath Time, the upcoming album from Maija Sofia, is out 22nd November via Trapped Animal Records and Cargo Records.

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