Malaika Mfalme is a trans/non-binary artist who creates profound yet intimate folk music highlighted by their bona fide storytelling. Malaika describes, “My music journey started when I was five as a young person in Kenya, and I took to traditional choral singing. When I moved to Australia, I continued my work in choirs, finding solace in group singing and harmonies. I started performing my music at 14 and have kept going ever since. Tracy Chapman heavily influenced and inspired me, and I even got locks for her when I was 15, a hairstyle I still have to this day, a constant reminder of my dedication to music and culture. I have strong political beliefs around denouncing white supremacy, the liberation of queer folk, freeing the Palestinian people, fat liberation, and disability support. I believe that nobody is free until we are all free.”
London-born and raised across continents, the Tanzanian/Australian songwriter brings a cross-cultural perspective to their music and heartfelt debut album Yasmin. Inspired by the likes of Tracy Chapman, Malaika’s work is one of self-discovery and empowerment. ‘Yasmin’ was recorded at Offbeat Collective, engineered by Zheng Lin and mixed by Drew Bisset (Jannah Beth, ANESU).
Compromising nine heartfelt compositions, Yasmin is a timeless and tender folk record. Malaika uses immersive sonic soundscapes to capture the tapestry of emotions and introspections that pay homage to the artist’s experiences and vulnerabilities.
Malaika talks about the inspiration behind ‘Yasmin’:
“I wrote ‘Yasmin‘ during a time of immense pain. While the world shut its doors and experienced the 2020 lockdowns, I was grieving my late partner. When I began writing it, I didn’t know it would turn into an album. It was my means of coping through writing about grief, loss, and then joy, healing and finally self-acceptance. Now I feel this album can help others move through that kind of pain, removing the taboo and shame western society places on grief.”
The closer and titular track ‘Yasmin‘ is a sprawling, poignant finale to Malaika’s lost partner. Malaika explains, “Once I realised this was an album, I knew I had to write a song just for her. Yasmin was an opera singer, and I was able to incorporate all of her friends in the song. All of us singing together was such an important healing process for all of us. The first verse is about the pain of her passing, the second is about letting her go, and the last is about remembering her.”
Release: December 1, 2023, Independent