Jazz music mixed with folk, that’s not a genre you come across every day. On the other hand, if it’s done as well as the 2017 album, Born Before the Wind, from Maaike Siegerist, you wonder why. Distinct upbeat, jazz tones allied with sweet folk guitars is something new for me and I love it. Prior to jazz and folk, Maaike fronted heavy metal bands in her native Netherlands; who knows, we might one day see a jazz/folk/metal genre emerge.
Based in Bristol, singer-songwriter Maaike came to the UK in 2014, studying song writing at Bath Spa University, which is where this album was written and recorded. Following that, she won the Glastonbury FM Songwriting Competition in 2018.
Maaike’s clear voice reminiscent of Joan Baez and Spanish guitar blend together to create a sound I can only describe as harmonious, one that feels both new and fresh as well as timeless. The album is a collection of songs, some of them unusual, some more conventional but all demand the listener stop and pay attention. This is not an album for the background, at least not at first listen.
‘Disconnected’ is the first song on Born Before the Wind and it sets the listener up for a joyous time, despite being about a break up. The upbeat melody has a catchy hook and juxtaposes the lyrics and music perfectly before leading into the title song, which is as different as a song could be – a piano led ballad. Throughout the album, the lyrics tell stories, all the while painting vivid, powerful descriptions, notably with ‘The Old Soviet Hotel’.
Before you read on, Maaike is giving a FREE download of “Where Do Sparrows Go?”, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
Beginning with jazz rhythms and sounds, the album gradually moves towards the folk end of Maaike’s style, with ‘The Professor’ and ‘Wheels of Time’ being just two examples. Before the last three songs take us into folk territory to end, ‘Yangtze River Blues’ brings us a last spot of jazz, this time interspersed with blues. The result is becoming simply lost in the music. The lyrics don’t matter (although they do tell a story), rather, the music takes you away. This is undoubtedly my highlight.
Maaike may be an artist who is in the early stages of her career but her advice to young musicians shows us she is in it for the long haul:
Be good to the people you work with; think long-term and build relationships. Not everyone will like your music so find the people who do and connect with them. Believe in your work and keep working at it – opportunities don’t create themselves.
Born Before the Wind was released on March 31 2017. Get your copy here.
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