Listen: ‘In Bloom’ by Julia Mascetti

It always gives great joy when you find an artist that brings something a bit different to the table so I ask you: When was the last time you heard something played on a harp? Enter the extraordinary Julia Mascetti, the now Japan based Brit, whose experiences in the land of the rising sun have influenced her works. Check out her new track In Bloom.

In a musical landscape of predictable, manufactured sound, it comes as something of a shock when something genuinely arresting is released. Such is the case here, Julia Mascetti, having relocated from the UK to Japan, has brought the traditional folk of her homeland and allowed the influences of her new surroundings seep in. The result is a beguiling, haunting experience, featuring Julia, her harp and traditional Japanese sounds floating in and her siren-like voice.

The EP is centred not just around her own feelings of being far away from a familiar land but of loss, disillusion and memories, which is evoked through delicate, spidery vignettes which evolve like dark fairy tales. There’s a Lynchian/Waitsian atmosphere which hints at sadness and loss but which balances this with a feeling that it is far more of a warning than a threat.

After graduating from studying music at the University of Leeds, Julia re-located in Tokyo to be with her Japanese/British boyfriend in August 2015. After teaching English for 6 months and a period being music teacher, Julia began playing the harp for fun, though interest amongst Japanese audiences quickly grew. Just as a fascination for the Celtic folk roots of her Welsh ancestry in Tokyo grew, so an equally enamoured British public eagerly followed her adventures in Japan through her blog posts. Julia’s harp playing has proved so popular that she now performs professionally at weddings and restaurants, as well as receiving invitations from touring bands of all genres to play live with them.

Julia has an arsenal of impressive musical instruments, from the traditional, towering six-foot harp; a smaller folk harp; to a small purple harp she has used when playing alongside metal bands – a true indicator that Julia is constantly looking to surprise and intrigue her audience. As well as being a freelance harpist, Julia is also a highly regarded blogger, reporting on expat life for women living in Tokyo.

“In Distance, Everything is Poetry” will delight fans of Joanna NewsomMarina and the Diamonds and Kate Bush – a perfect introduction to a unique sound and a magical approach to storytelling through folk music from two very different cultural traditions.