“AIDA” is Maïa Barouh’s new album. Aida means “between” in Japanese: between France and Japan, between the continent and the islands, between the ancient and the modern. The character of the word is 間, a sun caught between two doors and it also means “silence”.
Written, arranged and produced by Maïa over the past few years, she has built a distinctive sound universe around her two main instruments, the flute and the voice. The resulting album is raw, spacious and thought-provoking while being playful, quirky and at times disconcerting, for example when exploring anti-Asian racism and feminism.
Tracks like “TOKYO ONDO” and “HAFU” are fierce, bass-laden explorations of unconventional rhythms and tasty Asian motifs that twist and turn more and more in the psyche with each listen. Elsewhere on the album, Maia moves into more ambient cinematic territory with the intriguing and surreal ‘RINGO’ and the experimental flute bounce of the anti-Brexit anthem ‘EXIT’, with its loaded sample of Theresa May and her teaser line “Do you want Brexit with me?”.
Taking on the challenge of combining her two native languages, Maia collaborated with rapper Elea Braaz to find the perfect French lyrics for traditional Japanese melodies and to find Japanese rhythmic flow when rapping in French.
Daughter of French film composer Pierre Barouh, Maia comes from a rich creative lineage. Its lyrics and production are inspired by Tokyo’s eccentric underground scene, traditional folk singing, tribal grooves, French rap and electronic elements: a sonically and culturally mixed album that oscillates between roots and reinvention.
‘AIDA’ is released on October 21.
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