Following three albums as part of The Mamaku Project, Tui Mamaki disappeared in 2014 to spend three years in Bulgaria, a place that inspired her from childhood and in general, learning techniques and repertoire of that eastern European country’s folk traditions.
This is the stunning result, a truly special release, albeit only six tracks long. The deliberate immersion is both unique and obvious, as is the relationship break up behind it all.
First track Follow establishes a deep sense of intimacy from the outset. “This heart is following itself home.” Lift Off has a delicate bird song motif, with just voice and acoustic guitar with gentle percussion. “Friend to a lover and you change your skins so easily.” Reflective but not bitter. Snowfall is Joni Mitchell all over, with just voice, acoustic guitar and hand claps. “I ate, I drank, I stole good ideas from gardens, from minds freed of fear.”
Same Sun sounds innocent but is appositely dark. Over seven intriguing minutes, it’s a mini version of Homer’s Odyssey that is hugely haunting.
Closing track Gyuro, sung by Dobwr Yunak, is a Bulgarian traditional and a powerful closing prayer.
There are interesting inflexions throughout this intense mini album! Sparse instrumentation, powerful lyrics, alternative deliveries… we really need this kind of magic.