Maika Makovski

Maika Makovski


Spanish singer, songwriter, musician and actress (yes, all that!) Maika Makovski connects with the audience as soon as she enters the cosy stage at Manchester’s Instituto Cervantes, accompanied by the so young and talented band from the prestigious Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). They are Kristine Humerfelt (backing vocals), Vanessa Murray (bass), Silvan Rupp (keys), Elliott Holland (sax), Greg Joy (drums) and Jiwon Chung (guitar).

The title of the opening song ‘Vulnerable’ is totally misleading, judging by the confidence and outgoing energy she shows on the stage. She twists and turns like a nervous snake, now on the keyboard, now on the guitar… There’s a sense of an about-to-explode volcano in the air. But no one’s panicking, everybody seems relaxed in this improvised jazz-club-like venue.

Makovski uses the lapses between the songs to teach some Spanish to the mostly English audience. When she asks if anybody hasn’t understood her Spanish speech, some of the members of her band rise their hands, jokingly. She tells them “It’s about time to start learning Spanish”, as they’ll be touring in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Tarragona this summer due to LIPA’s Spain Tours’ project with Spanish Agency AIE. As Makovski proudly announces, they’ve been rehearsing just for four days, and to be honest, they sound frankly well, full of knowing looks, smiles and good music.

She abruptly interrupts ‘Friends’ just to introduce properly saxophonist Elliot Holland, who greets the audience with hidden shyness. “So I was saying…”, she continues with this indie-pop tune. ‘No News’ take her to the keyboard again, she jumps as she plays and there’s no doubt she’s having so much fun that infects the audience with her enthusiasm.

The good atmosphere blurs for a while with the soothing ‘When The Dust Clears’, singing along with the outstanding singer Kristine Humerfelt. They get a big “wow!” from the audience.

The electronic sounds of ‘Number’ give a disturbing touch to the evening but she swiftly starts dancing on the stage with ‘Body’, which vaguely reminds me of ‘Roxette’s catchy riff by Dr. Feelgood. The energy (or the poison of rock n’ roll, if you want) goes beyond her body (in honour to the song, perhaps), as she goes into electrifying spasms.

In the touching ‘Avoiding You’ Makovski sheds her skin again, drawing with her voice a rainy, gloomy evening; but even this melancholy sounds nice. The sax’s call adds a jazzy vibe. Thus, close and gently, the storm within her soul finally unleashes. Next she sets a big fire in ‘The Gate’, so, the volcano has already erupted. With ‘Iron Bells’ she simply goes mad.

Makovski keeps a surprise for the end of the show. ‘Men of Talent’, it’s called the song. “And we have never played it before”, she reveals, after introducing the band (including the sound technician) and asking for a warm applause to all of them.

They leave for the encore ‘Song of Distance’ (this time just Makovski and her acoustic guitar), ‘Lava Love’, ‘No Blood’ and ‘Language’.

Maika and the LIPA band sound flawless, maybe one could have thanked some kind of improvisation at the height of these songs… Anyway, did I mention they have been rehearsing for four days?

Maika Makovski is full of influences and listening to her is like a galvanizing journey through decades of (good) music. Take PJ Harvey. Take The Kills’ Alison Mosshart. Take The Last Internationale’s Delila Paz. Now forget all of them. She’s unique.

Maika Makovski  Facebook | Twitter

Amaia Santana

Good karma brought me here to Manchester, my second home, where you can stay healthy (despite the weather) and young forever, as you can breathe live music in every corner of the city. I do believe in the healing power of music (rock is my life vest) and I'd be so glad to share my passion with you rockers of the world!