‘Music for...’ is one of two Opera House Spotify playlist series where we ask friends of the House to curate playlists based on a theme of their choice: music for a particular moment, place or feeling.
Blazing a trail into the sonic future, Sydney singer-songwriter Maina Doe has fast become a singular talent on the local music scene, fusing her love of old-school R&B and hip-hop with cutting-edge neo-soul and her distinctive Somali-Indonesian heritage. Alongside her Opera House gig for Liminal, the local rising star has curated a playlist of tunes that echo the fluctuations of lockdown – tracks to help push through the direst of circumstances, comprised of the genres she knows best: R&B and hip-hop. In the words of Maina Doe:
“The playlist is an exploration of vibrations I feel are most relevant to the experience of this last lockdown. These melodies really got me through the highs and lows.”
“This song was a regular obsession during lockdown. It is a part of a larger EP called ‘Zero’. This body of work put me into a blissed out, present state and I appreciate it endlessly forthat. It sounds like late night ubers from a chaotic night and sharing a sweet whisky at 3am.”
“The ‘Summer Madness’ sample used in this song can honestly be found in so many songs I love. This song is special to me because it encapsulates the effortlessness I admire so much in Aaliyah. It also just brings me back to this simple spirit prevalent in 90’s R&B. So breezy.”
“Meditation is truly my biggest crutch and saviour in life. Everyday I wake up and practice meditation to start the day off with a quiet mind and an open, relaxed heart. Greentea Peng really is hypnotic and doesn’t do too much with this one which is perfect because at my best, most meditative state, I feel like everything is breezy and lucid and….effortless.”
“Wow the way i love this song! Melanie has the same energy as one of the greats - Nina Simone - if you listen to her discography you’ll hear a woman with enough anguish that has been overcome to be a real light in the world, enough embodied peace to be a real teacher and enough courage to sing with her whole chest. The lyrics to this particular song touch me because it serves as a reminder that 'life is a playground, not a laboratory/an adventure, not a test'.”
“This song has stuck with me since high school. It has such a hold on me because I can romanticise my life listening to this, I can imagine touring in Paris to this, I can kiss a lover. The repetitive loop and her poignant words and simple melody and delivery gets me floating.”
“I love the mesh of these two artists I adore. Kwxledge is a master at sampling tastefully and always prioritises the mood of a composition over everything. I listened to this a lot while reading and drawing in lockdown.”
“I had to include this song because when I heard such a beautiful tune done by local Australian R&B artists I just have to rinse it everyday. When this came out, I quite literally fell in love with the melody, the vocal performance and the production. This song represents a thriving, bubbling underground scene of incredible artists in our community that are already adding so much richness to the musical and creative landscape of our community here in Australia.”
“This man’s melancholic melodies are exactly what I felt most days in lockdown. There is this real haunting but sweet energy over a lot of his projects which he somehow intertwines with this…gentlemanly sex appeal. I got really excited when I discovered this artist earlier this year because I really missed the era of downtempo, blue-tinged indie/soul and this is that but with many contemporary intricacies in the choice of production mixed with live-band recordings. When I listen to him I hear someone laid out bare in the most gentle way.”
“My room is actually a red/orange tinted cave of everything I love. I spent so much time in this red tinted reality during lockdown so this song was one of my anthems in that time. I have always been a fan of Hiatus Kaiyote and this song testifies to me that this band’s chemistry is seamless - there are so many Hiatus Kaiyote songs that are musically and technically dense but the simplicity of this tune is what hit me…a single note from her is magical and the band holds her vocals so warmly and with so much attentive syncopation.”
Hiatus Kaiyote performing as part of Nooks & Crannies, a unique live music series celebrating iconic architecture and artistic expression in unexpected and spectacular unseen spaces inside Sydney Opera House.
“Rosalía is honestly one of my favourite artists in the world. I have a deep admiration for old Flamenco music and tapes and Rosalía, being one of the biggest artists in the world, excites me because she is able to mesh contemporary musical sensibilities with this old, dextrous, powerful voice from the world of flamenco. This song in particular gives me a sense of hope and of bittersweet admiration.”
‘Music for... Painting a dragon on a cloudy day in lockdown’ by Ninajirachi
Ahead of her set for our new digital music series Liminal, Ninajirachi has curated a playlist of perseverance and imagination: “new and old(er) music that made me feel nice while i was stuck inside and soundtracked the creation of a dragon painting on a cloudy day.”