Christmas time, a time for the celebration of family and community and good will and cheer. Every artist worth their salt knows that there is a certain magic to Christmas that can be harnessed in the right kind of song, a magic that is self perpetuating and all powerful. Musical greats like Boney M and Mariah Carey know all too well the power of a well crafted Christmas song and how it can remain in the hearts of listeners long after it was initially released. We suspect that this was part of the motivation that moved Afro-soul singer Maka to step into the fray and try out on a Christmas themed song for size.
Partnering with one of my personal favourite producers BigFoot, Maka wrote and co-produced “Before Christmas”, her own take on the myriad of romantic comedies set around a series of hi-jinks that lead a hapless single to her perfect soul mate. “Before Christmas” is heavily influenced by the best of 90’s reggae subculture Lover’s rock, with the distinctive reggae progressions slowed down and stretched out to mimic balladry and interspersed with strategic drum loops. Maka and Bigfoot throw in some heavy synths and garnish the heavy bass with some jazz horns, the result a reggae-jazz fusion that gets your shoulders shimmying after the first few notes.
But the real magic of “Before Christmas” is Maka herself. She is effervescent, her voice filled with the flush of new love and underpinned with strains of self doubt. She weaves traditional christmas tropes and imagery so effortlessly into a universal story about falling in love with a stranger and wondering if that first rush of emotion will ebb away or build into something more. Maka conjures darkly lit hallways, stolen kisses under the mistletoe while the family watches a Christmas movie.
If your Christmas playlist needs a boost. This is definitely the song to do it.
Listen to “Before Christmas” here.