About the Album
13 inspiring tracks from the Healing Concert featuring Wah!’s beautiful voice, combined with spoken word, loops, delays and keyboards to help you melt away your stress.
Take the Light features music and vocals by Wah! with production, editing and mixing talent from Jermaine Hamilton, Paul Hollman and Zack Miley. A must-have for Wah! fans and a great introduction to Wah!’s Healing Concert. Take an hour to relax ~ listen from start to finish!
“Wah! emanates a beautiful expression of wholeness.”
WBLQ AM TALK RADIO/ THE DR. JULIE SHOW
The Story Behind Take The Light
his CD was all about dissolving mental activity, inspiring people to relax and dream. I had some experience guiding people into relaxation from my work on Healing Visualisations, writing guided visualization scripts and delivering the words in a way that would lead people to an expanded place within themselves. Doing this with music was what I explored in my Healing Concerts, combining music, loops, delays, and spoken word to ease people into meditative frequency.
If you’re in a relaxed mood, it’s great. You settle in and enjoy. But when you’re coming from a stressful day, adjusting to a relaxing pace can be tricky. If the music is too fast, your mind will continue churning and you’ll never melt into relaxation. But if it’s too slow, it can be irritating; you’ll miss the experience because you can’t catch the ride. It only works if there’s trust established between us. It takes trust to get any relationship started. Talking you down from your fast moving thoughts is the part of healing I am intrigued by, that very first part – the sigh, the yawn, the breath that shows you are willing to move into relaxation.
In this CD I use loops and delays and effects without bpm synchronization. Everything moves at its own pace, changing and harmonizing by chance. Nature sounds, breath, birds, gongs, bass, foghorns and vocals all spin together and form a web of relaxation. Every Healing Concert is improvised, many people don’t realize it’s all improvised. No two concerts are the same. It’s part of why I get nervous beforehand – I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to play or sing. It is a necessary part of the process. If I sing from a prepared script or song list, it comes across like a concert, or at worst a recital. It’s not a show. It is a journey into relaxation, and we have to do it together. The audience is part of my process.
Perhaps the best example is World Peace, track 10. The night of the show there had been a number of problems – the projectors were malfunctioning, the sound engineer was stuck in traffic and couldn’t arrive until 5 minutes before the concert started – I was therefore setting up audio for myself, and trying to fix the projector that wouldn’t interface properly with the computer. My brother was coming to the performance and he had never seen me perform, so I really wanted to give him a good experience. I had prepared some songs and riffs and poetry just for him. I had also created new films to be projected which now weren’t working. The sound engineer came 5 minutes before the show and replaced all the audio I set up with his own audio. None of the mics were at the right level, we hadn’t done a sound check. As the concert started, I was distracted, preoccupied. I sang a song I had prepared, it fell flat. I tried another song, too busy. At some point I realized that everything I had prepared was not appropriate for this moment. The audience needed a different journey into relaxation, and it wasn’t the one I had prepared. I took a breath, a nice long breath, and went into silence. I surrendered. From the silence arose the words, “Love is everything…” and then a Sanskrit chant “Om Namah Shivaya” which had been chanted on the flower petals an hour earlier. The love in the flower petals and the ones who chanted with me came forward as an energy I could start the concert with. It evolved into a beautiful evening, but the track “World Peace” was that moment I surrendered and prayed for real. That’s why I named it world peace. World Peace can only arrive when you let go of all your opinions of how it should go and open to what’s happening now.
All music but especially this music is like water, it moves in spirals and waves. I think water is like joy – lots of different energies moving at different speeds, spiraling through space. On this CD, and in the Healing Concerts, when all the different sounds, songs, words and effects are in motion, it creates a molecular consistency to water – many things moving at different speeds, all in harmony. When it works, it feels like a huge flower blossoming. If the silence is empty, my audience fidgets and coughs. When the silence holds energy, I know my work is done. We all can rest in the silence.
The songs Take the Light and Take the Love were recorded in 2014. The beginning of a healing concert in San Francisco, Paul Hollman added a pulsating bass loop to give it more substance. Walk to the River and Love is the River were recorded at a Healing Concert in 2016 by Zach Miley. They were unchanged from their original performance. By chance, it matched the key of the last 4 songs on the album, so even though they were all recorded in different years, they sound like one fluid performance. Ave Maria was my interpretation of the classic prayer honoring the divine feminine.
I originally sang Ave Maria in a traditional melody but changed course after about 6 months and composed something that more deeply reflected on my inner feelings about this lineage of feminine sanctity. I wanted to know the prayer from its source so I researched, immersed myself in the words and history, found photos, statues, stained glass artwork, paintings and books about the Marias, the women of Jesus’ time. I sang the Ave Maria, practiced it, did rosaries of it. However immersed I was, my first recording was to a click track, and it sounded like a senior recital. I had to take the song off the grid, re-record the vocals, and then spend 4 months putting the song back onto an irregular time grid, adding a cajon track I had recorded for another song. Measures were 4 beats, 7 beats, 6 beats, 10 beats, it was insane. The chord chart looked like a pulse map. Orchestra was added, spoken word was added, and the song started to come together. I sang it at the Sanctuary for Humanity in Los Angeles, a multi-faith concert for world peace in 2016. It was splendidly received. Grace!
Start the Day was something I wrote for a friend, a love note – “Only you can sing your way to here, sing the music of the love that’s near” letting her know she could sing her way to happiness. And its true, we all can. I recorded a demo track and it became the favorite song at the end of the Healing Concerts as flower petals were being distributed. So I had to make a recording of it for real. The song represents the innocence in nature and our participation in life. Innocence is one of those things that could really be revived, with beneficial results to people’s health and happiness.
Ocean of Grace was an experiment using panning to help people disengage from rigid, logical thinking. I thought if I could get people’s eyes to move right to left, kind of like the way you look at a pencil while feeling a feeling during EMT (Eye Movement Technique, used for PTSD and other trauma relief), I could get people to relax. I love the track, and I put it as the first track on the album because I think the panning is effective. Follow the bouncing ball… left… and right…
Because these 13 tracks were recorded in different years, different performance halls, by different engineers, with different microphones, there was a huge variance in sound quality between the tracks. Seva, my mastering engineer, has a set of ears that can hear frequencies and sounds you probably have never heard of. He picks up every click, lip smack and pop and smooths it out, adjusting EQs and levels to make the 13 tracks feel like one listening experience. The fact that you don’t notice a change between tracks, even though there are years and decibels of difference between them, is a testimony to his expertise.
Thank you to Jermaine Hamilton who contributed engineer and production expertise on Start the Day, The Love That’s Near, Only You Mix and Ave Maria. Paul Hollman worked his magic on Take the Light, Take the Love, Ocean of Grace, and Beautiful World. And Zach Miley recorded and beautifully mixed Walk to the River, Love is the River, World Peace and I Love the Way You Love Me.
And thank you, my dear reader, for supporting my music. It is the joy of my life. I look forward to every performance, to every moment I get to be with you, to create and expand the beautiful energy of love through music.