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Maija Sofia channels a patron saint of “impossible causes” on ‘Telling The Bees’

Maija Sofia channels a patron saint of “impossible causes” on ‘Telling The Bees’

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The Galway singer-songwriter and musician Maija Sofia recently announced her second album True Love, would be released on Tulle and shared the single ‘Four Winters’.

Today, Sofia has released a new song ‘Telling The Bees’, a song loosely based on the story of fourteenth-century Italian nun Rita of Cascia told with organ, piano, harp, and multi-layered harmonies.

“This song is loosely about Rita of Cascia, a 14th Century Italian nun who became the patron saint of “impossible causes” as well as the patron saint of abused wives and heartbroken women. Her life story is bizarre and full of strange symbolism and mystical events. She is often pictured holding a skull, a leather whip, roses and surrounded by a swarm of honeybees. When she was an infant it was said, her parents watched a swarm of bees circling her crib, flying in and out of her mouth without causing her injury or harm which is why she has an association with bees. “Telling the Bees” is an old Irish folk custom – it was said that when grief or tragedy befalls a beekeeper’s house, someone would have to go and gently tell the bees about the tragedy, otherwise the bees might sense the sadness and die! I wrote this song when I was living alone over winter in a large 300 year old house on the edge of the sea, during storms, the waves lapped against the walls.’

Maija Sofia

The video once again, directed by Anna Heisterkamp and choreographed by Siobhan O’Connor, pays homage to European art cinema…

True Love will be released on Tulle on September 1st (the label home to Fears and M(h)aol) in digital and vinyl formats including a limited edition red vinyl exclusively in independent record shops and Bandcamp.

Maija Sofia is playing Whelan’s, Dublin on 28th September.

UK dates have been announced:

Tour Dates

23 July | Gullivers, Manchester (supporting Anna Mieke)

24 July |Slaughtered Lamb, London (supporting Anna Mieke)

26 July | The Bodega, Nottingham (supporting Anna Mieke)

11 August | The Dock, Leitrim

13 August | Hug and Pint, Glasgow (supporting Mega Bog)

14 August | YES Basement, Manchester (supporting Mega Bog)

15 August | Prince Albert, Brighton (supporting Mega Bog)

16 August | The Lexington, London (supporting Mega Bog)

18 August | Future Yard, Birkenhead (supporting Laura Groves)

19 August | GLAD Cafe, Glasgow (supporting Laura Groves)

28 September | Whelan’s, Dublin

30 September | McHugh’s, Belfast

17 November | Druid Theatre, Galway

18 November | Record Room, Limerick

See Also

22 November | Servant Jazz Quarters, London

About True Love

True Love was written during a period of deep transformation in Maija’s life, when she left the city for the south-west coastline, living in solitude in a 300 year old former-yacht club for several months over the lockdown winter. It was here that Sofia found herself alone and still for the first time in years, in a place where she could finally reflect on the instability and overwhelming love and loss that had shaped her early twenties.

Artwork photography by Anna Heisterkamp and design by Mel Keane.

Evolving through states of reflection, metamorphosis and mysticism, the songs began to take shape as a kind of séance-act, a form of esoteric communication with absent friends, former loves and the various memories and ghosts that hung in the empty space around her.

The resulting album is a work of exorcism and enchantment, presenting a rare blend of eloquent lyrical craft and explorative musicianship with a deep devotion to mystery. The songs on True Love ask what happens when you devote yourself entirely to something or someone else, what happens when we risk love, and when that love goes all the way wrong, how can we make sense of the chaos left in its wake?

Diverging from the introspective folk world of Bath Time, Sofia says “it was the first time I was free to make music without any fear of being overheard, the songs became louder, I was experimenting with my voice in different ways and the lyrics became more direct, more unselfconsciously emotional.”

Recorded between SIRIUS arts centre in Cobh and a studio in Dublin, Maija wanted to preserve the atmosphere of the moment and many of the songs were tracked live, with first takes ending up on the final record. Recorded by Chris Barry who also adds bass, Maija is also joined by Solamh Kelly on drums, harp by Méabh McKenna, saxophone and clarinet by Ryan Hargadon, Theremin by Ruth Clinton and Pedal Steel by David Tapley. 

Maija Sofia

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