Anna Mieke is the musical project of Wicklow-born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Anna-Mieke Bishop, in which musical landscapes are weaved into song on Greek bouzouki, guitar and piano (and cello, in recordings). As a solo performer and collaborative artist, she has joined forces with a diverse mélange of other artists, most notably Brían Mac Gloinn (of folk duo Ye Vagabonds), who, as well as playing on all of the above, adds drones on Indian harmonium and fiddle accompaniment. Anna has supported the likes of Lisa Hannigan, Lankum or Ye Vagabonds to name a few, shared the stage with David Kitt, Landless and Rosie Carney. Idle Mind is her debut album.
Themes and inspiration for Anna Mieke’s songs stem from a colourful background of experience: learning Maori songs at school in New Zealand and sean-nós songs off the coast of Ireland; hitch-hiking through Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, picking up traditional songs along the way; cycling from her home in Wicklow to the southern tip of Spain; living in Granada for a while, and then, in Cork, performing cello in the experimental improv group, HEX.
Anna's angelic voice shines through right from the start. The opening track Parallel is a beautifully composed atmospheric song where the piano evokes the raindrops or snowflakes, everything follows Mieke who sounds like a fairy fallen from the sky.
Keep It Whole seems to pick up where the opening track left off. Even more atmospheric, a little bit darker, setting the image of a misty day before our eyes. Another fine example of an instrumentation which guides us through, nothing is overdone, everything fits nicely together.
Mountain Song summs this album entirely. The guitar picking brings the clear, fresh yet cold mountain stream into your mind. It starts slowly and quietly before picking up pace and changing the overall mood to more upbeat and possibly even more optimistic one.
If carries that dark aura about it that you imagine the track being a perfect backround to some kind of ritual.
Mieke's vocal is unique, easily recognizable and she presents herself as an accomplished musician too. She can easily change the mood or the tempo of the song if necessary.
The overall impression you get from the album is that it comes from outer space. Full of experiments, always open to new perspectives.
An impressive debut that's looking ahead with open mind and heart, ready for the big things.