“AIDA” is the new album by Maïa Barouh. Aida means “between” in Japanese: between France and Japan, between the mainland and the islands, between the ancient and the modern. The character for 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 soundworld around her two main instruments, flute and voice. The resulting album is raw, spacious, and thought-provoking whilst also being playful, quirky, and sometimes disconcerting, for example when she explores anti-Asian racism and feminism.
Tracks like ‘TOKYO ONDO’ and ‘HAFU’ are fierce, bass loaded, explorations of unconventional beats and tasty Asian motifs that twist and turn embedding more and more in the psyche on each listen. Elsewhere on the album, Maia moves into more ambient cinematic territory with the intriguing & surreal ‘RINGO’ and the experimental flute-bounce of anti-Brexit anthem ‘EXIT’, with its loaded Theresa May sample and hook line “Do you wanna Brexit with me?”.
Daughter of French film composer Pierre Barouh, Maia comes from a rich creative lineage. Her lyrics and production take inspiration from the eccentric Tokyo underground scene, traditional folk singing, tribal grooves, French rap and electronic elements: a sonically and culturally blended album which fluctuates between roots and reinvention.
On the video for ‘RINGO’, Maia said: “The Ringo video is a first collaboration with my sister, the director Amie Barouh. She was the perfect person to film this dive into my childhood and the memories of our father. In the clip, the characters play their own role. A strange, dreamlike group of circus performers to which I belong.”
“As a teenager, I began my musical career in the vaults of Tokyo, surrounded by creatures from a Fellini film, Japanese version! Drag-queens singing bossa nova with a plastic snake around their necks, strippers dancing to Buddhist monks’ mantras, a traditional street band, an old magician with pigtails, a gypsy guitarist, a singer of French songs in Japanese… All this because my father, Pierre Barouh, the eternal wanderer, found himself one day by chance in a cabaret of songwriters in one of the hidden alleys of Shibuya. This is how these creatures meet today, reunited in this clip.”, she further explains.