About the Album
This CD captures Wah!’s English songs in a live setting. Backed by a mostly acoustic band, WAH! sings as only she can – silky smooth and from the heart. The songs are intimate and revealing – some previously released, some new, all of them fresh in this performance of a lifetime. Sparsely sprinkled with light percussion, harmonium, rotating Leslie speakers, occasional back-up vocalists, and electric bass, the CD brings you on a journey of uplifting quietude.
“A warm and thought-provoking album, UNPLUGGED shows that even without ancient
mantras, Wah! definitely knows how to lift the spirit in a multitude of ways.”
The Story Behind Unplugged
In 2003, we were invited to play a live concert on Santa Fe Radio KSFR, based in Santa Fe Community College. They made a recording of the talk and the music and gave us a CD of the show. It sounded really good. But something was strange. It sounded really different than the CD Opium. In fact, it was obvious that the live WAH! band didn’t sound anything like Opium. We were having an impact with our acoustic instruments, and there was no recording our fans could buy that sounded like it.
Live performances are difficult to capture. Over a 14 month period, we captured songs from different towns with varying room and audience sizes. Some rooms sounded great, other rooms had crying babies, or sniffling colds, or people singing along out of tune… endless combinations of “not quite right” left us with nothing. Our last option was setting up a concert in Rich Wenzel’s studio. Seven hours of recording got us through all ten songs. Our recent tour was fresh in our minds and the recordings had a beautiful presence. Most of the songs were known to our audiences; I added Fly Away , a song that was written while touring New York City.
Some overdubbing was done ~ Ken Givens was passing through the studio one day and offered to sing back-up on Open; I overdubbed bass on a few songs. We had audience applause and noise in various places but it was inconsistent. It sounded kind of wierd coming in and out, so we deleted the audience. Great, now what were we going to call it? Almost Live? It was more acoustic than the pop-produced Opium. Only the bass was electric, and the style was consistent with other acoustic concerts. Unplugged seemed like the perfect title.
We wanted to release this as a DVD with live footage of the band and touring, afternoon talks, and more; but as it turned out, we had enough money and good fortune to create an audio CD. Seva mixed it in both stereo and surround sound, so that we could add it to a future DVD or documentary if the opportunity came.
This CD was a natural outcome of many months of touring and interacting with audiences. Something magical happened when anyone shared a life-changing experience: the truth just kind of slipped out during the telling of the story. I was always comfortable onstage, so somehow the stage became my platform for instigating personal growth. I expanded into my Self through touring and teaching, and my life became both a private and public venture.
I am lucky to have been able to work with such great talent ~ Robert Fernandez on cajon has toured with Barry Manilow and other pop greats and currently directs the Masters program in Afro-Cuban Music at Cal-Arts in Los Angeles. Rich Wenzel applied his skill and experience as an engineer and fellow musician. Seva gave his heart and soul to the project and even managed to give part of his left hand, surviving an emergency hand surgery during our final sessions. Bob Olhsson applied his mastery to our project, with love, kindness and genius. And for me, without the love from fans, friends and family, all this would be quite dull and meaningless.
all love, wah!