Mariee Sioux Sobonya was born on the Humboldt coast in Arcata, California. When she was two her family moved to the Sierra Nevada foothills in the Yuba River watershed in Northern California, to pursue their dream of farming and living off the land. Mariee grew up surrounded and deeply touched by music – going to bluegrass festivals and listening to her father’s bluegrass band – but held no particular personal musical ambitions. Well, lucky for all of us, she did eventually teach herself to finger pick and started writing songs. Because her voice is as magic as her songs are. And it’s no wonder she picked Leonard Cohen to cover on this session we recorded before her show supporting Alela Diane in Amsterdam.
“Almost no music touches me as deeply as Leonard Cohen’s.”
“Leonard Cohen is probably one of my deepest influences and such a master of word and song. Almost no music touches me as deeply as his, and it literally just gets better with age. It seems to hold so many keys and riddles at the same time that feel like they reveal themselves more and more the more life you traverse. The more you experience the multifaceted, perplexing jewel of life, cut with its haunts, deepest loves and sorrows, the more these songs hold you and you thank god someone could carve these journeys out of sound to accompany your own. What a gift. Leonard stared death in the face and invited him to sit at the table of song and sang to us his final farewell in his very last album. A voice paper thin and folding his hand of cards as he tips his hat and accepts the game. I don’t know what greater grace or legacy a musician or poet could offer us insight into.”
“When songs feel as if they are truly a best friend, it honestly feels like magic to me.”
“I first heard Leonard’s music when I was in high school and listened to his early albums obsessively. Stranger Song was always one of my favorites, so sparse and yet pulls forth immense feeling. It’s so honest it often makes me weep. I was deeply inspired at how riveting a song could be with such a simple sound of nylon guitar and voice, maybe a couple flourishes here and there. The lyrical component of the music on my young mind and as a young writer and photographer at the time was profound and I think I felt like I knew these songs could be used almost as some sort of map in my years to come, and they have felt like just that, and have been used as such since. When songs feel as if they are truly a best friend, or a revealer in your life it honestly feels like magic to me. When they stand as their own beings, beyond the formless sonic tapestry of song and they live in your life as closely as a human does, you’ve experienced something otherworldly. That’s one of the most beautiful and haunting parts about music. Song has always guided, comforted and supported us as human beings, and we are so lucky to have the recordings of Leonard to continue to cast light and shadows along the path.”
A deep reassurance
About her latest single, Mariee Sioux writes: “Snake Hoop was written during the George Floyd protests, and after an Ayahuasca ceremony in which I faced my death. I felt and saw the energy of creation as endless and eternal cycles and was overcome with a deep reassurance in that knowing.”
Circle of Signs EP out on April 28th
Mariee Siou has a new EP coming up on August 28th, called Circle Of Signs. If Snake Hoop is any indication, I’d highly recommend you check out the pre-order on her Bandcamp.
The Stranger Song (Leonard Cohen)
Tidal | Apple Music
Filmed & edited by Matthijs van der Ven.
Audio recorded & mixed by Matthijs van der Ven.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Thank you for watching and enjoying this session. You’ll probably like some other sessions from The Influences’ archive too, like this one by Alela Diane.