Track Of The Day: Maja Lena – ‘The Keeper’

Maja Lena is the latest moniker of Marianne Parish, formerly of Low Chimes. Following bewitching singles ‘Sacred Practice’ and ‘Birch’, she has now shared new offering ‘The Keeper’ – the title track from her debut solo album, set for release this summer. 

Maja Lena’s music is ethereal and beautiful, led by a haunting and unpredictable vocal melody. The song is meditative and introspective, as Parish explains: “…the song name ‘The Keeper’ to me resembles the keeper of the self…” She adds that it “… is about our relationship to ourselves and how we view ourselves. Whether we hold trust in ourselves and if the way in which we strive can ultimately lead to us feeling less satisfied in life.”

The instrumentation is folk-inspired, with nylon and acoustic guitars in conversation with an eerie double bass. Rachael Dadd’s backing vocals weave together with Parish’s lead, culminating in a psychedelic mantra-like chant. Rob Pemberton’s synth, warm and warbling, complements the classic folk sound alongside the haunting dissonance from the cymbals. Together, it creates a serene and natural ambiance oozing a spellbinding magic.

The video, with a witchy charm, was made together with Parish’s husband Luke Oakley-Smith and filmed on a ’90s VHS camcorder to reflect an eerie nostalgia. Abundant with pastoral imagery, beautiful animals and Kate Bush-like dancing, it captivates and reflects the introspection and curiosity inherent of the song.

The Keeper is out 23rd July via Chiverin Records. Save / pre-order the album here to find out what other magical realms it will take us to.

Jazmine Kelly

Photo Credit: Aloha Bonser-Shaw

WATCH: Maja Lena – ‘Sacred Practice’

Maja Lena (AKA Marianne Parrish) reveals her new single ‘Sacred Practice’, from forthcoming debut album The Keeper. Formerly of alt-folk band Low Chimes, her solo moniker is an affectionate nickname given to her by the Swedish half of her family. The single is accompanied by an exquisite rustic video created by frequent visual collaborator Aloha Bonser-Shaw. 

‘Sacred Practice’ begins on a gentle, ethereal note, with sweeping, soft vocals. We are then transported to a hazy dream world, where the “sun is high and mighty” and our tasks require “patient practice”. The harmonious vocal layering becomes a psychedelic mantra sung over majestically discordant instrumentation, delivering an alternate reality. It almost feels like Lena is singing in a different language, alongside the calming, meditative shimmering soundscape. “More hurry, less speed” seems to be the message one gets when listening to the song and watching the beautifully compelling video.

Maja Lena’s debut solo album is definitely something to look forward to. She collaborates with former Low Chimes bandmate Rob Pemberton, and their familiarity in recording and producing together holds the project together beautifully. Judging from the singles I’ve heard so far, the album will be a magical and otherworldly collection. An intriguing vocal and sonic exploration. 

Watch the video for ‘Sacred Practice’ now:

The Keeper, the debut album from Maja Lena, is set for release on 23rd July via Chiverin.

Fi Ni Aicead

Track Of The Day: Maja Lena – ‘Birch’

Formally of the band Low Chimes, Marianne Parrish – aka Maja Lena – has now announced her debut solo album, set for release this summer.

Taken from the album, new single ‘Birch’ offers a truly captivating alt-folk soundscape. Reflecting on new beginnings and oozing a pastoral elegance, it’s propelled by resplendent vocals and a luscious shimmering musicality, with shades of the likes of Rozi Plain. With a majestic, ethereal grace, sweeping soothing melodies are interwoven with exquisitely put-together layers of twinkling instrumentation, creating a bewitching sonic gem. Of the track, Maja Lena explains:

“‘Birch’ is a song about feeling vulnerable yet elated. About starting a new phase of life and love, yet also knowing that this elation could be snatched away at any given moment. The Birch tree here is a symbol for this feeling, and its branches moving in the wind resemble a feeling of freedom and excitement.”

‘Birch’ is accompanied by a beautifully made video, filmed entirely on Super 8 in the Lake District, with Martha Webb. Watch here:

Birch‘ is out now, and The Keeper – the upcoming album from Maja Lena – is set for release 23rd July via Chiverin Records.

Mari Lane