When you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you open yourself to a whole new world of empathy, and that’s exactly what Galway singer-songwriter Maija Sofia does on her transcendent debut album that has the bite of punk but finds release in folk balladry.
Lending her honest voice to others, she shares the stories of ostracised women who have long been misrepresented in history and deemed unimportant by society. The Wife of Michael Cleary illustrates the ghastly final hours of Bridget Cleary, who was burnt to death by her husband in 1895 because he believed she was a changeling, and Edie Sedgwick lays out the price that the 1960s icon paid for stepping into Andy Warhol’s world.
Whether she’s trawling through the pain experienced by women wronged by the Catholic Church on Hail Mary or navigating the isolation that Dominican novelist Jean Rhys felt in London on The Glitter, Sofia reshapes well-known stories and reminds us of the universal injustice that women carry in every corner of the world. There is a timeless quality to Sofia’s songwriting style that becomes more crucial with each listen.