The first time I saw Maxida Märak live, she awoke my curiosity singing a duet at a huge charity gala. The second time I saw her, she blew my mind.
It was another charity event with plenty of big artists performing, at a very small church, sometime before Christmas 2015. Maxida was the host of the event and spoke with such great conviction and eloquence about important issues like the climate and the refugees and indigenous rights. That alone would have made a lasting impression. But when it was time for her to perform her song, Backa bak, she delivered the fierce message with such intensity and anger, that you had to believe her when she was telling her opponents to back off. Sitting there in the church bench and having her spew out one line after another, close enough to touch her at times and those eyes piercing into me, it became very clear she was an explosive force to be reckoned with. She really got to me there and then.
Last summer I went to see her play at a town square of a small Stockholm suburb, just her and her backing tracks, and all those stories. She had not yet released her debut EP, but played several of the amazing songs off it. And in between, she would tell stories about her personal experiences and those of her Sami people. She is a natural story-teller and I enjoyed listening to her poignant words about all those important issues just as much as her music.
Earlier this week I had the chance to see Maxida live once again, this time at Gröna Lund. She brought along her backing DJ/musician Loljud, but she totally took over the stage and delivered from start to finish. She has released two EPs of material since last summer, and now has a full-blown concert set, where she can let the music do most of the talking on the important issues. And she does it really well, having put those stories from her life into rap lyric format and delivering the lines with power, conviction and feeling.
She pulled a good crowd to the small stage at Gröna Lund, and many in the audience seemed really taken by her. Backa bak was a clear highlight of the show, as most people in the crowd knew the song and the rhythm got everybody feeling the message. Dansa som jag vill also got the audience moving, but the line with “F*ck you Stockholm and your jargon…” clearly lost some of its power when delivered to all the Stockholmers, who were not so eager to join in on that statement… (Maxida basically not wanting to be told by Stockholmers how to be). Another crowd pleaser (and a personal favorite) came at the end as an encore: Eller hur got the crowd very excited and the rhythms had everybody nodding in unison: Maxida really is something else, eller hur?
All the pictures from the Gröna Lund show by Nina Uddin.