Maia Von Lekow represents yet another amazing side to Kenya’s dynamic musical scene. Her voice and style has an affinity with female jazz vocalists of the 1930s and soul and folk music of the 1960s. In all her compositions, Maia is blazing new trails in Kenya; experimenting with different styles, and creating a hybrid sound that is her very own.
Music is not something she merely enjoys; it defines who she is. Whether busking on street corners while backpacking around the world, jamming with friends in a Melbourne club or experimenting with an immense range of musicians in Africa, Maia threads all this together with soulful licks in a selection of songs ranging from folky ballads to Swahili jazz.
Maia wrote and recorded with several collectives whilst living in Melbourne, Australia before relocating to Berlin. It was in these two cities that Maia honed her gift for weaving delicate stories and vivid imagery through stripped down acoustic guitar.
Maia’s upcoming debut album, Drift, is a culmination of her travels, her meetings, her collaborations and her experiences; a global cross-pollinated vibe now centred in home-town Nairobi. Teaming up with guitarist Kato Change, jazz guitarist Nathan Okite, bassist Danz Nirina and drummer Lance Osiro, the band has been moulding a vast collection of songs and moods that will culminate in the soon-to-be-released album, as well as for their first live performance in Zanzibar at Sauti za Busara 2010.
In Kenya, Maia has performed for awareness campaigns including the Korogocho Slum Campaign and a UN youth campaign in Mathare and Kibera slums, raising money for various schools in those areas. Maia has also composed advertising jingles in Kenya and Berlin and worked on a music composition for a South African + Canadian theatre production, Crossroads, that raises awareness in Africa on issues of rape, gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS.
Maia’s latest release Uko Wapi was featured in the much-acclaimed Kenyan production, From a Whisper, depicting events of the 1998 bombing in Kenya, and was awarded “Best Soundtrack” at the 2009 African Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria. Text from Sauti za Busara