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Listen to Lili Refrain's otherworldly new album Mana here!

Lili Refrain portrait with warpaint against a blue sky
(Image credit: Tania Alineri)

Experimental multi-instrumentalist Lili Refrain releases her latest album, Mana, on April 21 via Subsound and to celebrate, she'll be performing it in full as part of a very special set at Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands on the same day. You can stream the studio version now below.

Mana is an album totally different from anything I've composed up until now," she says of the album she recorded at Rome's 16th Cellar Studio. "I felt the need to experiment with the use of new instruments and take a totally new path. Compared to my previous album, Mana is the most ritual in some ways." 

Refrain, who was born in Italy, released her self-titled debut in 2007 and experimented with doom and chorale elements on 2013 follow-up Kawax. In 2020, she released the 22-minute, three-part ULU, which saw her taking a new approach and her latest finds her branching out even further with audible elements of Anna von Hausswolff, Swans and Wardruna. She previewed her eclectic new style in March 2022 with lead single, Mami Wata, in which she favours synths and looped vocals over her trademark guitars.

"In Malaysia, [Mana] means life force, power that comes from within, and it's the result of a very careful listening to the outside and hard work on oneself," she explains of the album title. "It is a hope. It is a small gift shared with anyone who needs strength and who, like me, perceives this particular historical moment as something deeply sick to be totally subverted and healed.“

Stream the full album below.

Lili Refrain 2022 European tour

Apr 21: Tilburg Roadburn Festival, NL 
Apr 22: Mannheim Der Kult, DE
Apr 23: Jena Trafo, DE
Apr 29: Torino Ziggy, IT
May 13: Modena Centrale 66, IT
May 14: Busto Arsizio Circolo Gagarin, IT
May 20: Helsinki Sonic Rites, FIN
May 26: Ghent Dunk! Festival, BE
Jun 23: Clisson Hellfest, FR
Jun 26: Rock in Bourlon, FR 
July 09: Kavala MammothFest, GR
Aug 15: Gdansk United Arts Festival, PL
Aug 19: Budapest Fekete Zaj Festival , HU
Sep 16: Bologna Circolo Dev, IT
Sep 17: Vicenza Bocciodromo, IT
Sep 18: Mezzago Bloom, IT
Sep 29: RomeLargo Venue, IT
Oct 07: Barcelona AMFest, ES

Lili Refrain Mana CD packshot

(Image credit: Press)
Natasha Scharf
Natasha Scharf

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.