Wednesday, 01 February - 8 PM (postponed from 2022)
St. Thomas’ Parish, 1517 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20036
Solas Nua is delighted to present Imbolc, a new work written and performed by Irish folk singer-songwriter from County Galway, Maija Sofia. Commissioned by Solas Nua especially for St. Brigid’s Day (Imbolc), for this unique event, Maija Sofia will perform this new piece live for the first time in the intimate, modernist setting of St. Thomas’s Parish, an Episcopal church in Washington, D.C.
While working on this commission, Maija Sofia considered St. Brigid as a mystic, pagan feminist icon; a figure through which old Irish traditions, wisdoms and practices persisted in spite of the patriarchy of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Taking the ‘Cailleach’ (divine hag or witch) as a starting point, Maija looks at how St Brigid symbolizes a kind of secret resistant undercurrent of feminine, mystic and ecological forms of knowledge. The new piece will be performed alongside Maija’s other songs that deal with themes of feminist historical narratives and alternate forms of knowledge as well as older folk songs that contain similar themes of nature and witchcraft.
Solas Nua looks forward to welcoming Maija Sofia to a Washington DC stage for the first time, to premiere this ambitious new commission on February 1st, the ancient festival of Imbolc, to celebrate rebirth, renewal, the coming of Spring and the symbol of feminine energy.
Kindly supported by Culture Ireland.
Maija Sofia is a songwriter and artist from rural Galway. Her debut album 'Bath Time' was released in November 2019 through Trapped Animal Records. By turns arresting, intimate and strange, her songs are built around striking electric guitar, intricate lyrics, harp, analogue synth and more experimental instrumentation. The album was critically lauded as the arrival of a poignant, original new talent, receiving full-mark reviews and a nomination for the RTE Choice Award Irish Album of the Year. It was described in the Sunday Times as "quietly breathtaking [...] the arrival of a unique new voice."
In the last twelve months she has been commissioned to make new music for various festivals and venues, and has performed online in various settings including the National Concert Hall and Other Voices' Courage series. She is currently finishing her second album which will be due for release in 2022.
"A real timeless quality is rare in so much of modern music, but the delicate timbre of Maija Sofia's music is impossible to ascribe to a particular moment. She doesn't occupy an easily identifiable space - there are few genres which could accurately pinpoint her sound - and the ease with which she weaves grand tales of mythos into short and delicate folk tunes suggests a true finesse. Her subject matter is seldom trivial - abuse, mythological stories, feminism and loss are considered with a confident serenity.."
— Andrea Cleary, The Irish Times