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Yaima – Antidote Review

Yaima provides the Antidote to your heart and the Earth around you

A spiritual conversation with your heart and the Earth

One of my favourite musical genres to explore is the cross over of world and ancient music and this is where the duo Yaima come into play. Releasing their 3rd album right at the end of December, it may have been missed by some, but ‘Antidote’ is an absolute tour-de-force of mindful ancient folk music.

Yaima’s brand of ancient folk is very chilled out and the Irish tinged opening chant on ‘En’ sets this up before the guitars, drums and vocals slide in for ‘Rise’. It’s a gentle nod towards a trip-hop with some electronic beats but its subtle and the complex twisting of multiple guitar loops and the calm vocals that are always at the forefront of the music. In some ways, Yaima reminds me of the Sarah McLachlan album ‘Torch’, where she was a little more folksy. This is because Pepper’s voice sounds similar to hers often.


Where they differ from McLachlan’s original sound and play more towards an Ayla Schafer or Ayla Nereo style is the grooves and instrument selection Masaru brings to the table. Title track ‘Antidote’ shows this off perfectly with lush dulcimer strings, Japanese tinges and a warm sway to the entire track. ‘Morpho’ takes Yaima to the depths of blissful trip-hop similar to Mandalay. It’s chilled out, relaxed, unhurried and pillowy. ‘Ke Ahi’ then moves towards a warmer Baltic tone with lots of hand percussion and the lyrics sing of the Hawaiian story of Pele. The track feels like a caravan of followers traversing a beach too. The cajon is used excellently here, and the feel continues with the largely instrumental ‘Odonata’.

‘Encender’ feels largely Brazilian to me, with its mixture of languages but focus on ukulele styled guitars, lush flute arrangements and bouncy beat. ‘Miryo’ instead pulls in spacious synths for an atmospheric piece that steers away from a standard chord or melody and plays with a feeling whilst overlaying various vocal harmonies on each other. Whilst the album has a very underplayed sadness that runs through its veins, it’s at this point it starts to flow more openly. ‘Shoku’ is a superb piece with a slowly rotating guitar and vocal melodies over faster hand percussion loops. The track feels tense and claustrophobic without ever being it. It’s quite difficult to explain. The closest musicians I can think of with the same emotional trick would be Elsiane – another ethereal duo who are more synth driven and aggressive but carry a dark angelicness with them too. Yaima then paves the way for a return to a brighter side with closing tracks ‘Cinus’ and ‘Iskra’ – the latter of which has some utterly beautiful udu pot playing. It feels so cathartic and whilst it still has an innate sound of darker feelings and struggle, there feels like a piece of knowledge has been handed over.

Yaima have created a relaxed, meditative masterpiece with ‘Antidote’. They perfectly balance mystery, intrigue and beauty. The instrument selection is vast enough that it doesn’t feel regional – it truly feels like a worldly piece of music and clever synth work aside, it feels like its coming from the Earth. A truly luscious album to be picked by all those that need to feel connected to something warmer again, without forgetting the coolness of lifes lessons.

Recommended track: Antidote

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If you have this release, you can comment with your own score below.

Yaima - Antidote


Higher Plain Music Rating


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