Invited to support folk trio The Magpies, I performed at the Downend Folk Club in September. A wonderful night of live music in a beautiful church!
The folk club’s team captured two of my songs on video, and also wrote a review: “Maaike Siegerst is a Dutch singer songwriter (via Bristol, of course) with a capital S and capital W. Literate, clever songs packed with imagery made up her five song set. She has a glorious voice, perfectly suited to a bit of quality indie folk.”
My new single is a portrait of the UK’s most endangered mammal, the Scottish Wildcat.
Wildcats have been in Britain since the Iron Age, but now only few are left in Scotland. So few, that they’ll disappear without help.
I wrote this song when I visited the Cairngorms two years ago. A drawing of a wildcat in the snow sparked the song.
To help the wildcats, I’m donating all money from sales and streams to Saving Wildcats, a wildcat conservation charity. I think the work they’re doing is fantastic: breeding wildcats for release into the wild! It’s the help they need to survive. I’ve raised and donated £125 plus gift aid so far. Get the track on Bandcamp if you’d like to help!
The sound I was going for is inspired by Mike Oldfield – a melodic folk vibe with spotlights on the voice and electric guitar – combined with the fairy tale atmosphere of early Nightwish and Within Temptation (who, in turn, were inspired by Kate Bush).
For the arrangement, I had particular musicians in mind, and luckily, they all said yes when I asked them! On drums, you hear Ivar de Graaf, known for his work with Kingfisher Sky and Within Temptation. On lead guitar is my friend and former bandmate Bas Willemsen of Alarion. Susanna Downes performs her magic on the piano, and Jonni Slater mixed the track and played the synth. The track was mastered by Nick Cooke (who also works with Kate Rusby).
A true lockdown production, a lot of this came together remotely, working over the internet!
“Call Of The Last Wildcat is the latest genre-defying beauty from Bristol-based Maaike Siegerist. (…) Emotive, evocative, and skilful storytelling from a master of the craft.” – Fenris Music
“Very much in the modern folk idiom, it paints a musical picture of the wildcat – all you have to do is let your imagination run free. (…) an exceptional song” – Jelli Records
“The soothing guitar and piano melodies intertwine along with the artist’s spine-tingling vocal. This is like a poem set to music and it is sure to hit your soul hard. The track erupts into a glorious distorted guitar solo before the tranquil folk sounds return full circle.” – Curious for Music
Call of the Last Wildcat got played by Amazing Radio’s Jim Gellatly and BBC Radio Bristol, where Adam Crowther called it “a beautiful tribute to the Scottish Wildcat.” Dozens of other DJs and radio stations also played the song – thanks all!