“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?”.
Embracing 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 a Japanese rhythmic flow when rapping in French.
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.