After playing WOMAD festivals all over the world, Dutch-New Zealand trio My Baby make their WOMADelaide debut in 2019.
My Baby is a trio made up of Dutch siblings Cato and Joost Sheik van Dijck, and long-time New Zealand friend Daniel 'Da Freez' Johnston who together play an eclectic fusion of '70s funk, desert blues, Moroccan Gnawa and Indian raga, with a touch of EDM all informed by gospel and blues. “We are very happy to be playing WOMADelaide this year,” Cato says.
“It's been on our list for a long time, and especially since we played WOMAD in the UK this summer – it was such a wonderful experience with music lovers, very attentive audiences and a very warm welcome. From WOMAD UK this summer we were thinking it would be great to do the other WOMADs and WOMADelaide as well.”
My Baby released their fourth full-length album 'Mounaiki' in October, a record that further develops the identity of the band's phantom muse 'My Baby' that has featured across their discography. “'Mounaiki' is the spirit name that the character gets and… the funny thing is she gets that name already on the previous album, so it's kind of a pre-echo the name 'Mounaiki',” Cato explains.
“On all of our records before this there's already a little story about a character, and for this record we really decided to work it out a bit more and write a larger story about the character. It's a concept album... on 'Prehistoric Rhythms', our previous album, she gets the spirit name 'Mounaiki' and that's why we decided to call her that from now on.”
The 'Mounaiki' album explores the narratology of 'the hero's journey' or 'monomyth' in which the hero is called to action and embarks on a journey, overcomes adversity and returns a changed person. “We already worked with 'the hero's journey' a bit in our live show at some point,” Cato says.
“There's a journey we always like to take people on and 'the hero's journey' obviously already did a lot for story-writing in the past, so it's something you can hold on to. It goes through a journey as a rite of passage to break out of this normal environment [to] go on a journey and meets the bad characters that guide him or her on the way. It's been always in our heads and we always took inspiration from this character.”
By working with a recurring character within the framework of existing narratology, Cato says she and her bandmates can make music from outside their own spheres of personal experience. “Being a three-piece band, sometimes we don't really want to tell our personal stories, we just want to take something [from] outside the three of us that we can all relate to,” she says.
Cato goes on to describe the character of 'My Baby' or 'Mounaiki' as “a girl in the '70s fantasising about being a flapper girl and dancer in the '20s.
“She's a girl who is going on adventures, looking for equality in life and looking for a higher purpose. It's nice to have a character that wants to find out things and you can write about.”