Mima Merrow came to our attention back in September, with an inventive debut single. ‘Freckles’ was an exciting first release, the Glasgow based artist letting her Belfast accent through on a mix of soft vocals and spoken word. A first EP named Good Grief followed in December, fleshing out that first impression with five tracks that ranged from traditional acoustic guitars to a more alternative folk that echoed lyrics that could be down to earth or supernatural. Since release, she’s received BBC Radio play and a performance on the Duncairn’s Take 2 series.
With music that is uniquely Mima Merrow’s, we asked her to give us further insight into the five songs that make up her first release.
‘Yellow Teeth’ is the EP’s opening track – a wistful piano and intimate vocal invites the listener to ‘come closer’ and relax into a romantic otherworld before being pulled sideways into something much darker.
I wrote ‘Yellow Teeth’ as an attempt to reflect how it can feel inside my head at times. There seems to exist at the same time serene stillness and complete chaos which are equally potent and overwhelming. When I write, the songs come from an inner world full of different characters and stories. This one looks at the tricksters that exist inside us all… seducing us into thinking one thing before pulling us into something completely different – leaving us disorientated and wondering what just happened. I wanted the listener to feel that they had been taken into a different world where the rest of the EP takes place.
A lament for what is lost in the act of survival, ‘Freckles’ is also a quiet rebellion. A gentle look at what is left, it invites us to notice the small, yet unmistakable traces of our ancestors – on our skin, in tree roots or in the eye of another. This track is a search for strength in the midst of grief. It’s that moment when we realise we are made of ancient stardust and all we need can be found in our bodies.
It is the second character the listener meets in this imagined world; a story teller that speaks in riddles and hints at things that might have happened here.
‘Fire Song’ takes place at night, it is an invitation to relax a little, stare into the fire and make up stories from the flames. I am really interested in fire and the history we have of worshiping it. We look to it for meaning, comfort, entertainment and peace. I love sitting by a campfire and imagine that the cracks and sparks are telling me something; that if I pay close enough attention I might experience something really exciting and learn something.
I wanted the listener to feel a little bit of this fascination and wonder. To feel part of an ancient ritual which is a bit otherworldly and uncomfortable but familiar enough for them to stay and see what might happen; the chanting and swirling harmonies surrounding them and carrying them along the pulse of the vocal.
John Loves the Dump
This track was written in response to a friend’s podcast about finding a Bible in a dump and trying to trace the owner and return it to them. It tries to capture the romance and wonder John feels when visiting the dump. He really does love going there and listening to him describe his relationship to it is fascinating!
In terms of the narrative of the EP, it is early morning, sang by a wise old woman in orange light. I wanted it to feel still, nourishing and reflective after the chaos and discomfort of the previous 3 songs.
Biddy Early: (Witch or Woman?)
I am getting really into reading about Irish folklore, mythology and history and Biddy Early is a pretty interesting person. The title is taken from the first article I read about her. I wanted it to be a light hearted, fun transition back to the real world. We criticize women so heavily for everything and I wanted to celebrate someone who seems to have lived her own way despite really difficult circumstances and lots of criticism. I would loved to have met her.