Irish folk multi-instrumentalist Anna Mieke is releasing her sophomore album Theatre on November 18 via Nettwerk (pre-order), and we're now premiering third single "Mannequin." The new song beautifully employs the richly layered sonic texture Anna cultivated in Theatre, with scratchy strings, flutes, clarinet, pattering drums, and acoustic guitar all featured in the mix. Lyrically, Anna draws vivid images of her own introspection and her surrounding environment:

Fuschia burns a summer road,
Asphalt melts as we watch
Absence can you feel it on your skin
Porcelain alive eyes still
Leave me to my own imagining
The spectacle, the mannequin

On the choice to highlight the quotidian parts of her life in Theatre, Anna says, “The lyrics are also fairly rooted in the ugly, mundane side of things. I guess that side feels grounded and real to me, because it surrounds me, it is my actual environment.” Despite that banality, the sonic landscape she creates reflects the eclecticism of her upbringing, from New Zealand to Bulgaria to Bangladesh to Spain. That expansiveness is a marked change from her 2020 self-released debut, Idle Mind.

About this new song in particular, she adds:

Lyrically, the song was partially inspired by a Jane Kenyon poem called ‘Otherwise.’ The first line of the song is one that repeats in the poem. There’s a feeling of being an observer, a witness, of being observed in performance, a play, and the rituals of moving through life. An acknowledgement of things coming to an end, and how nothing is meant to stay the same. A kind of imagined underworld exists in this song, too: it lives in a hot climate and I imagine a jungle, desert, tropical birds when I hear it. There’s a sort of darkness present: porcelain eyes, staring; blood; being consumed; a gun. I’d barely finished writing the song and hadn't practiced it a whole lot when we recorded it, and Matt and Ryan, who play on the live core take, had barely heard it before, so there’s a sort of tension there—a hanging on to an edge. One reference I had for the arrangement of this song was the music composed for 'Peter And The Wolf' by Sergei Prokofiev.

The video was directed and edited by Anna Heisterkamp, who says, "It’s an assemblage of how it felt to listen to this song over and over with different lines standing out each time, and how it feels to move to a song someone has described to you before you listen to it properly. I wanted to look at the stark contrast between nothing and something slight, the feeling of falling and watching someone fall, distortion of the natural."

Theatre was written between Ireland and Finland, and recorded in Ireland with a full suite of collaborators: long-time musical partner Brían Mac Gloinn (violin, harmonium), Alannah Thornburgh (harp), Cora Venus Lunny (viola/violin), Lina Andonovska (flute) and This Is The Kit’s Rozi Leyden (bass). The resulting sound is simultaneously lush and restrained, as evidenced on "Mannequin" as well as previous singles "Twin" and "For a Time." Listen to "Mannequin," and check out the cover art for Theatre, below.

Anna Mieke Theatre
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