Irish art-folk virtuoso Maija Sofia (Trapped Animal Records) has today premiered 'The Glitter', the first single from debut full-length, Bath Time (November 22) - a powerful observation on the complexity and pain of female life written in the run-up to her native country's decision to repeal the eighth amendment on abortion.
This reflective period partly influenced by arguments for abortion on mainstream news in 2019 gave rise to a collection of mystical vignettes that examine the silencing and misrepresentation of women through the ages. A strong delivery on the promise that saw the Irish Times name her among their '50 People to Watch in 2019'.
'The Glitter' tells the story of Jean Rhys, a troubled novelist from the Caribbean who came to England aged 16 and struggled with feelings of displacement and a lack of belonging. Fragmented guitars and yearning violin fuse with her biting vocal to make something truly unique.
Speaking on the track, Maija said: “‘The Glitter’ was inspired by my experience of reading the book 'Good Morning, Midnight' by Jean Rhys, a heavily depressing but brilliant novel about a lonely, self- destructive and impulsive woman living in 1930s Paris. The song came about with Jean Rhys in mind, and the influence her novels had on my past self.
“It's about having a tendency to romanticise and the desperate feeling of realising you've fallen out of love but are still trying to cling to something. It was recorded in a little studio in Dublin, with Christophe Capewell (who plays with cult Irish folk singer Lisa O'Neill) on violin and Niall Murphy on lap steel. Christophe ended up playing on the track after I was stranded at a festival in Leitrim and Lisa's band kindly offered me a midnight lift back to Dublin in their tour van.”
As well as drawing on women from the history books who were silenced and misrepresented - Bridget Cleary, Edie Sedgwick and Mary of Nazareth - Sofia also takes aim at the catholic church, an institution that normalises outdated views of women in Irish society.
Written between London, Galway and Dublin, ‘Bath Time’ features appearances from alternative folk singer Junior Brother and lap steel player Niall Murphy (Oh Boland). The former, Junior Brother, appears on ‘The Wife of Michael Clearly’, a bristling tribute to Bridget Cleary, who died at the hands of her husband Michael. The latter, Niall Murphy, starring on ‘Edie Sedgwick’, a track named after the muse of Andy Warhol.