Ashley Maher

Ashley Maher

 Los Angeles, California, USA
BandWorldSinger/Songwriter

“Imagine Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon have a daughter who grows up in West Africa, then settles in Senegal ...” Ashley Maher’s highly individual and infectious brand of world/mbalax/folk/jazz has gained her an international following, five acclaimed albums, and performances with many African icons.

Biography

ASHLEY MAHER** is an original — a singer-composer-bandleader who lives in the industrial West yet is truly at home with African and other world music traditions. Her highly individual and infectious brand of world/mbalax/folk/jazz has gained her an international following, five acclaimed albums, and performances with many major African icons. She has performed internationally for over two decades.
(**"Maher" rhymes with "star.")

Since 2008, when Youssou N’Dour flew Ashley to Senegal to rehearse and perform as a sabar dancer for his shows in Dakar and Paris, Ashley has single-mindedly focused on building a musical bridge with Senegalese mbalax. Her fifth 2010 release, AMINA, produced by Cameroon’s Andre Manga, features five key members of N’Dour’s “Les Super Etoiles,” alongside LA’s finest world musicians. Since 2008, Ashley has traveled to Senegal over ten times, developing a world-class live show with Dakar’s top mbalax musicians and dancers, releasing two singles from AMINA, recording two new singles, filming four videos, and cementing her standing as a unique “Ambassadrice” for Senegalese mbalax in the global marketplace.

BIOGRAPHY: Born to British parents in Canada and raised in California, Ashley grew up singing and even studied opera in Italy, before falling in love with West African music at UC Berkeley. After studying with Ghanaian master drummer C.K. Ladzekpo for two years, Ashley graduated and moved to London. Ashley performed with an Afro-jazz band for two years before recording demos weaving her intricate vocals with traditional Ghanaian drumming. The demos led to a recording contract and Virgin UK’s first two Ashley Maher releases, Hi and Pomegranate, established Ashley in the music press as “One to Watch.”

Since then, Ashley has recorded CD 3 (The Blessed Rain) in London / Paris, CD 4 (Flying Over Bridges) in L.A., CD 5 in Dakar / Los Angeles, performed internationally, opened for world music artists BAABA MAAL, SALIF KEITA, ORCHESTRA BAOBAB, ZAP MAMA, VUSI MAHLASELA, DOBET GNAHORE, CARLOU D, and YORO NDIAYE, and sang as a backing vocalist on records by YOUSSOU N'DOUR, THE AFRO-CELT SOUNDSYSTEM, YORO NDIAYE, CHEIKH NDOYE, ANDRE MANGA, and ZALE SECK.

--For full BIOGRAPHY, see Ashley's website (link below).
--For VIDEOS, search "Ashley Maher" at www.YouTube.com
--Ashley's FACEBOOK page: http://www.facebook.com/AshleyMaherFanPage?ref=ts
--Ashley's MYSPACE page: www.myspace.com/ashleymaher

Lyrics

Lucky

Written By: Ashley Maher

young man
sipping a small glass
of sweet gunpowder tea
young man
thinking "If I'd stayed ...
maybe this is where I'd be..."

young man
two beautiful wives
and a house on this very street
amid the beauty
and the struggle of home

young men
younger ones waiting
for him to tell them more
young men
of the gold and the glory
they believe waits past that door

young men
they've sensed it in the music
tasted it on MYV
you've been so lucky
so lucky
what about me?

lucky
what can that mean?
lucky lucky
you go and you gain
lucky lucky lucky
then come home to see
that whether you go or stay
no matter how much you hope and pray
you will lose as you will win

young men
wondering why his wrists
aren't glittering as they should?
young men
where is the swing
he could be bringing to this neighborhood?

young men
and why did he choose
that old basin over Parisian blue?
and why do his eyes
start dancing to the music of his youth?

along those coasts
the sun doesn't set slow
like a stone
it drops down, all alone
when their sons and daughters go
they pack the dreams they hold
then they get on the plane and go
they get on the plane and go

young man
mosquitos getting busy
as the day has turned to dark
young man
despite the lights,
the city still looks up to see the stars

young man
his glass is finally empty
as the conversation flows
about the beauty
and the struggle of home

lucky
what can that mean?
lucky lucky
you go and you gain
lucky lucky lucky
then come home to see
that whether you go or stay
no matter how much you hope and pray
you will lose as you will win

you will learn
and you will win
and you will lose
and win again
and all along
you'll sing a song
the legend of your soul
while those of you
who stay behind
must cultivate an open mind
great journeys can be made within
for those who do not go

lucky lucky lucky ...

Babalu

Written By: Ashley Maher and Henri Gao-bi

ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu

babalu
found us both at home
in front of our TV

babalu
caught our tired eyes
from a documentary

"I am the offspring of two orishas
I am dancing down here in Bahia
I have traveled sky-highways to teach ya
what each day,
my orishas teach to me."

oh, ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu

babalu
spoke a poet's tongue
he had a painter's eye
he always left his lock undone
in case some friend dropped by

"I am a worshipper of women
I'm a harbour for ships in the night
I have traveled sky-highways to tell ya
keep your heart alight."

oh, ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu

bahia's drums commanded us
by super satellite
to rise and dress like royalty
to cross the London night
the baby slept in a back room
beside a pile of shawls
rock-a-bied by midnight rhythms
rumbling through the walls

hip to hip
and cheek to cheek
his dad and I let loose
all packed into the living room
saved by the drum
from the noose

the fires leapt to meet us
as we, in the ring, went wild
and babalu rose to greet us
with his orisha-offspring smile

oh, ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu

don't lie awake
when it's time to sleep
but don't sleep
when the drums are calling
when you break
we're the company you keep
from midnight 'till morning

ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu
ba ... ba ... ba ... babalu

Spin Wild

Written By: Ashley Maher

to you who choose
an unconventional road
throw caution to the wind
lose no more

undelivered packages
sit waiting on the step
under-plundered seams of silver
sit waiting
the undecided side of you
is waiting, don’t forget

the golden ring you’re grabbing at
is already in reach
the answer in a bottle’s
already washed up on the beach
if you’re ready to fly
life will teach you
don’t forget

to spin wild
spin free
pull in the nets
of your secret sea

spin wild
spin free
pull in the nets
of your secret sea

to you who choose
an unconventional road
throw caution to the wind
lose no more

like a dancing bee
you paint a map to distant lands
in the frantic hope of understanding
but on arrival home
you’re still alone on the sands
don’t forget

the golden ring you’re grabbing at
is already in reach
the answer in a bottle’s
already washed up on the beach
if you’re ready to fly
life will teach you
don’t forget

to spin wild
spin free
pull in the nets
of your secret sea

spin wild
spin free
pull in the nets
of your secret sea

if you’re not
where you want to be
give what you got
your best shot
then watch
what happens naturally
don’t forget

if you’re not
where you want to be
give what you got
your best shot
then watch
what happens naturally
don’t forget

that half of what is happening
is sitting in your hands
waiting for the day you say,
“stop waiting”
if truth is your vocabulary
they will understand
don’t forget

the golden ring you’re grabbing at
is already in reach
the answer in a bottle’s
already washed up on the beach
if you’re ready to fly
life will teach you
don’t forget

to spin wild
spin free
pull in the nets
of your secret sea

spin wild
pull in the nets
lose no more

Amina

Written By: Jean-Philippe Rykiel and Ashley Maher

Amina wants to go
Amina wants to go
she has seen enough to know
keepers of the keys
can leave us out cold

Amina wants to fly
Amina wants to fly
for reflections of the sky
catch her eyes
from under her terrible load

Amina wants to know the way
to replace every mirror of heaven
with heaven and summer, too
diving beautiful into blue
like an arrow anew

decisions gather before she goes
come to the mouth of the river
what will they say?
what will the key keepers do?
stand and be claimed at the mouth of the river

her vision spiraling into blue
come to the mouth of the river
collect every power for flying into …
stand and be claimed at the mouth of the river

every road has blessed and burned her
pressed and turned her to face this day
with a past so full of pain and fury
she knows surely she can’t stay this way

so one by one, she starts to run,
watch as she pushes off the runway …

Amina’s time to fly
it’s Amina’s time to go
all it took was her to try
moving out from under her terrible load

Amina finally knows the way
to replace every mirror of heaven
with heaven and summer too
diving beautiful into blue
like an arrow anew

Amina goes
Amina knows
a woman grows
out from under falling

a woman cries
while growing wise
then she will fly
hear her heaven calling

you cannot own
a woman’s soul
not young nor old
rich or with no penny

the wings she keeps
are rooted deep
they rise from sleep
when mirrors are too many

Joy

Written By: Ashley Maher and Andre Manga

in my inbox, was a message from my favorite artist in the whole wide world
that alone was a wish upon a star
he said “come dance, yes
I will fly you to Dakar”

so soon I was sitting on a plane
on the tarmac of LAX
between two big guys
for an 11 hour first flight
still I cried and I cried with joy

I was singing
where is the window to
where the wind blows us
to find our joy

watch for the wonder when she
pulls on your sleeve
follow her, even when you
cannot believe

sitting in the backseat
of what’s left of a taxi in Dakar
mbalax mbalax pushing us
down this dusty road

soon my silhouette is flying
cross the wide wide
ballroom wall at Thiossane
generator generating light for one light
it’s our own

and we sing
where is the window to
where the wind blows us
to find our joy

watch for the wonder when she
pulls on your sleeve
follow her, even when you
cannot believe

so high
I cried
so high
I cried with Joy

Nanga def! Ca va?
Oui, ca va! Comment tu t’appelle?
Je m’appelle Ashley
Ah l’Americaine
Bienvenue, eh?!

Now…

I have visited many fine rehearsals
in my time
but this one, I was flying with, yeah

fallou ndiaye
djily mbaye
aziz faye
bamba gueye
penda keita
ndeye gueye
and aida dada

Wouyoul lilay woo, sa kholela
Boul ko wedii
Topouko donte sakh ni mom
nekhoula geum"

so high
I cried
so high
I cried with joy

watch for the wonder when she
pulls on your sleeve
follow her, even when you
cannot believe

Small Boats

Written By: Ashley Maher

small boats
big water
no coast
no matter
we’ll push push on ahead
ignoring the songs of the dead

small stars
no anchor
low wind
no chatter
we’ll push push on ahead
ignoring the songs of the dead

a string of beads in his pocket pocket
lamine has a locket round his waist
singing songs to touba

gold’s ahead, we can taste it taste it
these kind of dreams you can never take away

so we’re singing

small boats
big water
no coast
no matter
we’ll push push on ahead
ignoring the songs of the dead

small stars
no anchor
low wind
no chatter

we’ll push push on ahead
ignoring the songs of the dead

too proud to cry by the waterside
another midnight goodbye
singing songs to touba
a mother’s love in his pocket pocket
watching their sons wash away with the tide

light shining from the faces of the baye fall
as the sun goes down
their love so strong
connected to the roots of touba
singing….

la ila la la ila Baye Fall
Mame Cheikh Ibra Fall
do sen morom
wanenga ko
wanenga ko Fall

la ila la
small boats, big water
la ila Baye Fall
we’ll push push on ahead

Mame Cheikh Ibra Fall
do sen morom
wanenga ko
wanenga ko Fall

la ila la
small stars, no anchor
la ila Baye Fall
we’ll push push on ahead
wanenga ko
wanenga ko Fall

la ila la
Mame Cheikh Ibra Fall
do sen morom
la ila la
small stars, no anchor
we’ll push push on ahead

wanenga ko
wanenga ko Fall

Try To Hide

Written By: Ashley Maher

when every light eventually shines
on your powers and your flaws
when every skeleton is laid bare bare
for contemplation on the floor

what will you own?
what will you deny?
what will you show
or try to hide?

think of this early
before that day arrives
what will you hold up as holy
or hi hi hide
think of this early
before that day arrives
what will you hold up as holy
or try to hide?

captured on his mountaintop
a king descends in chains
soon stripped straight down to nothing
what won’t wash clean in the rain

what will he own?
what will he deny?
what will he show
or try to hide?

think of this early
before that day arrives
what will you hold up as holy
or hi hi hide
think of this early
before that day arrives
what will you hold up as holy
or try to hide?

the wise ones
the wise ones can stand tall
they embrace their everything everything
they know that weakness,
just as strength, connect us
for every mistake and mess we’ve made
bore fruit, a truth for tasting
our scars, they, too, protect us

the saints and their biographies
change shape beyond the grave
all their flawed humanity
getting lost lost lost
lost along the way

oh,
what will you own?
what will you deny?
what will you show
or try to hide?

think of this early
before that day arrives
what will you hold up as holy
or hi hi hide
think of this early
before that day arrives
what will you hold up as holy
or try to hide?

Soon

Written By: Ashley Maher / Fallou Ndiaye

SOON

I heard a song on the radio
not long ago, it made me cry so
but I know that as the days roll by
soon that song won’t make me cry

sara’s singing makes me weep
though I know no Portuguese
all I see is a 1000 candles
lit like a row of prayers

soundtrack to my wailing wall
oh, that song’s been my water fall
it has carried me like a golden cradle
‘cross a sea of tears
for a very very difficult year

but now I wake
but now I wake
but but
but now I wake
with a new energy

I hear the lock
I hear the lock
click click
I hear the lock
surrender to the key
soon I will be free

I heard a song on the radio
not long ago, it made me cry so
but I know that as the days roll by
soon that song won’t make me cry

wolof lyrics to come !!

On Dit Merci

Written By: Ashley Maher

ON DIT MERCI

ashley
wakhal de SIDA…..

l’amour,
l’amour toujours dafa neex
vos nuits ensemble bu bax
bu bax bax
oh yeah

en meme temps,
il y a un moment qu’on connais
quand on fait une pause

regler rek

et une voix nous dit de nous proteger
de nous proteger because

pour l’amour
pour la vie
pour la bonne santé
on dit merci every day

mbeggeul, xel bu dal
mbeukte ak weergui yaram
on dit merci every day

aye waye
waaw waaw

une pause,
ce moment peut sauver ta vie
lo nyu diigal diigal
lo nyu digal nyu def

I love you I love you I love you
and you love me

lo def lu bax say doom
nga ka defal

lo nyu diigal diigal
lo nyu digal nyu def

quand le plaisir est passé
encore les consequences peuvent duré

pour l’amour
pour la vie
pour la bonne santé
on dit merci every day

mbeggeul, xel bu dal
mbeukte ak weergui yaram
on dit merci every day

da da da dad a dad a dad a
moy tul
dad a dad a dad a da dad a d
xalebi moy tul waay
dad a dad a d a dad dad a ad
moy tul
dada adadadadadadadadad
xalebi moy tul waye

(tassou)

Senegal ci kanam
ci kanam
Senegal dieum kanam deh

eh Senegal dieum kanam
boul khadi
bou baayi
boul taayi
yeah yeah yeah

thank you for the
santé santé santé
mbekte mbetke bmete
xel bu dal xel bu dal xel bu dal
weer gui weer gui yaram

diarama

Discography

Amina - Spin Wild Records
Flying Over Bridges - Spin Wild Records
The Blessed Rain - Spin Wild Records
Pomegranate - Virgin UK
Hi - Virgin UK

On Dit Merci - (single) Spin Wild Records
Soon - (single) Spin Wild Records
Stumbling Block - (single) Virgin UK
Laughter in the Rain - (single) Virgin UK
So Many Times - (single) Virgin UK
Step by Step - (single) Virgin UK
Dreaming Re-Dreaming - (single) Virgin UK

--PRESENTER QUOTES:

"Imagine the soaring melodies of Joni Mitchell and the darkly lyrical twists and turns of Paul Simon, sung over a steaming cauldron of African rhythms. But, as intriguing as that may sound, it still doesn't quite do justice to the music of Ashley Maher, who manages to use those fertile sources as the stimulation for songs and performances that are uniquely her own."
--Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times

"Ashley Maher is one of the most amazing performers in Los Angeles. Her style reminds me of a mix between Joni Mitchell and an African Queen."
--Megan Jacobs, Conga Room

"Ashley Maher should be a HUGE star!"
--Roz Larman, Folkscene syndicated radio

"Your show ... with your entire band and dancers was breathtaking! ... The dancers were so colorful and exciting to watch, the musicianship is first class and your music is so uplifting. Attendance that night was record breaking. The audience here loves to participate, you kept them up and dancing the entire show! Thank you again for your professional and very entertaining performance!"
--Jan Stout, Levitt Pavilion

"I saw Ashley here in NYC, and I have to tell you that I was BLOWN AWAY! If she is not the next Joni Mitchell, then I don't know who is! She has a wonderfully relaxed and personable stage presence that make you feel really at home and invested. Her intro's are funny and warm and quirky - and then she opens her mouth to sing and that VOICE comes out! It's amazing! Her voice is simply beautiful. I walked away from that concert shaking my head wondering, why she isn't HUGE in the States?! This woman should be a STAR!"
--Judith Miller, ZAMO Arts, New York

"Inspiring performance. Captivating vocals. Enthralling melodies. Ashley Maher encompasses all these and much more when she takes the stage and makes it her own. ... we guarantee a stunning performance by Ashley, her talented dancers, and fabulous musicians."
--Louis Capone, Pershing Square Summer Concert Series

"How fantastic was that?!!! Your group's performance yesterday makes me kick myself that we hadn't had you all back sooner. The dancers ... are so skilled and really add so much to the performance. The way you interact with your group ... makes the whole experience feel so personal ... a hard act to follow."
--Illana Gatti, UCLA Fowler Museum

"...you had an impressive array of nationalities onstage. The audience particularly enjoyed your fantastic dancers. Their energy and color and intricate choreography rounded out the show wonderfully, giving a whole extra dimension to the music on its own."
--Michael McKinley, Sunset Junction Festival

"Having performed at venues such as Temple Bar, Backstage Coffee Gallery, The Conga Room, and many others local and abroad, Maher offers ... a very special performance. She's recorded four CDs with the best world musicians and her shows guarantee paralleled talent, plus dancing!! (not to be missed) If you've seen her perform around LA, you already know the mastery in her song writing, and the sweetness of her voice, and if you're looking for a moving musical experience, you'll want to discover Ashley Maher!"
--Molly White, Club Tropical

Set List

2 - 10 performers onstage. Most common lineups:

Acoustic: Ashley, acoustic, with a guitarist
World Jazz: Ashley, guitar, bass, drums
Mini Global Band: Ashley, guitar, bass, drums, sabar drums, two West African dancers
Big Global Band: Ashley, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, sabar drums, backing vocals, tama, two West African dancers

Current Live Reptoire:

Soon
Small Boats
On Dit Merci
Try to Hide
Joy
By Your Side
Let's Dance
Shaken Yet Whole
Deserts
Amazing Grace
Small Boats
Lucky
Better Days
Babalu
And I Believe
Entwining Trees
Ogoniland
Frank and Loretta
Club Dibango and The Rising Son
Why Do You Cry This Way?
Honeycomb Grey
Jumping Mouse
Learning to Fly
You Are the One for Me
Crown for Adorning