Annie Wenz's music is described as powerful, spiritual, ethereal & bold...
..."a poet on the road, blending in with the people of different lands from South America to Ireland. Annie has stayed a spell, embraced the people, understood their plight, shared songs and enriched herself as much as her new found friends"
BUT it all started long ago...
Originally from Queens New York, from a family of 7 children, Annie's musical career hit the scene full tilt in Northampton, MA in 1992 at the Iron Horse Concert Hall when, after years of studying piano composition with Hartford Conservatory's Ray Cassarino, percussion with conga/cuatro virtuoso Jose Gonzalez of Puerto Rico, guitar with Viva Quetzal's Joe Belmont, and wading through notebooks full of songs, she finally celebrated the release of her long awaited first CD...
She's been on the move ever since...
At first a regular in the New England acoustic scene as a soloist & in the world/multicultural scene with her band "Gypsy Moon", her passion for "dancing with the muse" led her abroad, where she found herself collaborating & sharing her music with audiences as far away as Auckland New Zealand's Millennium celebration, venues in Bali, Thailand, Sweden, Mexico, Australia & Costa Rica, and being invited by noted Swedish Director & Playwright Carl Johan Seth to record for the Swedish TV/theater production "Dream Woman"...
"Each song is a crafted jewel"... Annie's songs are "remarkable both for the lyrical insights she presents as well as for the deliciously eclectic way in which she offers them... haunting & powerful"... like looking through a brilliant kaleidescope. Annie sings about our loves, passions & fears, about travel, spirit, & her own experiences... working as a registered psychiatric nurse, bungee jumping 150 feet off a bridge with her guitar on her back, climbing an erupting volcano in Costa Rica, as a rafting guide, a backhoe operator, delivering babies in Harlan County KY, running in a 100 mile relay with Penobscott Indian women to Mt. Katahdin, backpacking around the world through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Bali, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, & India.
As a multi-instrumentalist with a love for American & world roots music, Annie is known for her unique way of blending textures & funky instrumentation. She accompanies herself (and others) on guitar, percussion instruments from all over the world, Native American & indigenous flutes, & piano. Her music has been compared to Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson & N.Carlos Nakai.
Annie's band & accompanists have included world renowned artists such as Senegalize talking drum wizard Massamba Djop (of Baba Mal's band), percussionist/cuatro master Jose Gonzalez, balafon player Tony Vacca ("Rhythm Culture"), "Viva Quetzal's" multi talented Eugenio Huanca, Guy DeVito ("Steppenwolf"), & most recently & frequently in Costa Rica, London's Robert Dean known for his work with Sinead O'Connor as well as his own band "Japan".
Annie's recordings receive crossover airplay on folk, alternative, roots, world, jazz & new age stations! Her CD's "Gypsy Moon" & "Time is Magic" were recorded by Grammy/Emmy award winning engineer Norman Blain, known for his work with Yusef Lateef & Steven Schoenberg. "Time is Magic", produced by Norman Blain also features artists Glen Velez, Duke Levine, Brooks Williams & Annie Burns (Burns Sisters). Her CD "Poets Dance" co-produced by Tom Prasada Rao, is also a brilliant work of musical art & poetry... with each instrument (over 20) played by either Annie or Tom.
Annie has had numerous appearances at Florida's Suwannee Springfest & Magnoliafest, Earth Day (Dia Mundial de Ambiente)- Montezuma Costa Rica; Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, as well as teaching regularly at the prestigious Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Song School. She was honored to be a participating artist in the international collaboration between German & American roots artists, the DAFT Tour, http://www.daft-tour.com/ ,performing at The Kennedy Center in honor of Veterans Day in November of 2004, and will continue the collaboration in Germany in September/October of 2005!
Annie has been a radio guest & shared stages with award winning Civil War maritime historical novelist Robert N. Macomber for her song "Onward & Upward Bound" written about Robert's character Peter Wake. They plan many more appearances & collaborations in the future!
As an activist and a teacher, Annie has been awarded various grants from the National Endowment For The Arts & numerous Arts Councils for her diversity & educational programs, performance & percussion workshops which focus on bringing people together using multicultural music & rhythms as a medium. Annie's wellness workshops draw on her background as a nurse & alternative medicine practitioner, assisting artists in finding balance on & off the road.
Annie has also been a frequent featured artist in concerts "Remembering Phil Ochs" throughout the US, hosted by the late great activist/artist's DJ sister Sonny Ochs. http://www.sonnyochs.com/
She is sponsored by Elixir Guitar Strings by Gore... and will be a featured artist in the "Naked Folk Calendar 2006" (on her Harley- of course;)
When Annie's not on the road performing, she kayaks, rides her motorcycle, plants bananas... hibiscus... & dreams... on a small island in Southwest Florida.
© 2005 Annie Wenz
WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT ANNIE'S MUSIC...
Time Is Magic...
Annie Wenz is not your usual folk experience.
Combining traditional native instruments of both N.&S.America with modern and age-old themes, she wraps a warm surrealistic blanket around her songs without losing the feel of contemporary folk, the stories of our lives today.
Brooks Williams' slide guitar on "Dance Under the Moon" is excellent and, along with its haunting spanish chant, makes this cut my favorite.
A very close 2nd is "The Dragon"- percussions, pan-pipes & flute place this story about her journey to a Costa Rican volcano firmly in the genre of traditional native music of S.America.
This song will hook you with it's catchy beat and syncopation.
In contrast to these earthly images, Annie tackles the subject of child abuse in "Little White Lies," & the lure of the unknown in "When Horizon Calls" .
Duke Levine lends a skillful hand to the title track, & his guitar and Annie Burns' lovely voice grace "Wild Horses," dedicated to "all the wild women out there." "Journey to Katahdin" is a lovely piano/flute piece inspired by a "100 mile spiritual journey" Annie was invited to share with her Native American friends.
Glen Velez's percussions on this are mesmerizing.
Birds, rain, waterfalls, rustling leaves, and distant lightning all come to life through the skill of his hands on this sojourn.
Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Time Is Magic is enfused with the lushness of a tropical jungle, the sparseness of the southwestern deserts, the starkness of a granite mountain face, the gentle softness of a breeze caressing a leaf.
Annie Wenz has a rich, vibrant contralto voice and she has penned a most interesting and successful amalgam of images and sounds to be heard in contemporary folk today.
Metroland /Albany, NY Time is Magic is an inarguably beautiful album! Opening track "Dance Under the Moon" perfectly frames Wenz's unique musical nether-world, which is bordered by traditional guitar-based folk & Native/Latin American musical styles.
"Moon"'s arrangement is kick-in-the-solar-plexus surprising (it sits you down & sucks your wind out with an befuddled, involuntary ahhh when you hear it the first time)--but it prepares you for the album's rich melange of acoustic guitar, fiddle, cello, flute, percussion & even (gasp!) an electric lead line on "Wild Horses", which ends up sounding like Richard Thompson/Sandy Denny era Fairport Convention.
Wenz is also an evocative lyricist and story-teller: her lines make you want to listen to songs that were already wonderful when you were just hearing them.
Does it get much better than this? Maybe.
Does it get more beautiful? No.
Are you ready to call me presumptuous? Listen to the album before you do.
~ by J.
ABOUT "POET'S DANCE"...
..."I've played you new album several times...people love it... so do I!"...
It's not just WHAT she does... it's the WAY she does it!...
Fred Kaiser/Philly Folk Festival Pubah
"Annie...blends voice & instrumentation to create a pervading sense of peace...a spiritual feel...Wenz is able to bring up difficult issues in her lyrics...lets the words float with tranquil music to send a subtle message that is all the more powerful...Dirty Linen
..."a gifted music diva/multi-instrumentalist blessed with a crystalline voice, a keen ear for melody, an uncanny feel for rhythm and a strong sense of social justice...Metroland, Albany NY "Annie translates passions into stories in song...she is, without a doubt the best story telling musician I have ever heard...
The Greenfield Recorder- Greenfield, MA
I just received and listened to the Poet's Dance. It's all beautiful and powerful.
Congratulations a thousand times. The dulcimer and your voice and that lonesome flute sound work so well on the Roses. I'll have it on the radio on Saturday and many after that. The cover's wonderful too, the physical photo refocussed in mysticism... Tommy Sands- Rostrevor, County Down, Ireland
I really, really loved the CD! ...Your choice of songs, as well as your songwriting is EXACTLY what folk music is supposed to be about.
Thank you for recording such great music for me to share! Ron Olesko WFDU Teaneck, NJ
Poet's Dance is easily one of the corking albums of the year!- Vapourtrails Radio~ UK
Annie,I am totally blown away!Your music is beautiful...
Malcolm (of the song! "Malcolm's World")
Congratulations on another year on the Journey! ...it's such a great CD! Steve Jerrett- Folkdj Listguru/Listmom
a backpack of tales from the far side of the globe... a travelogue not only of body, but of spirit... Springfield Journal, Spfld, MA
...Annie Wenz...The Polish Gypsy Folk Goddess...! Ellen Hayman KFAI St Paul,MN/ KUMD/KAXE/KAOS
Ragamuffin Mike Plumbley - From Vapour Trails Radio~ Isle of Wight/England Annie Wenz's music draws on the folk traditions uncovered in her travels around the Globe. On her latest album Poet's Dance the song rolls East to West effortlessly as a backporch swing.
The journey is a spirited one, the campfire magic caught magnificently by Tom Prasada Rao's production which polishes the performances sharp as diamonds.
Each song on Poet's Dance is a crafted jewel, a vibrancy of colours shifting from the snowy Saskatoon Sky, a love song of breathtaking beauty to Malcolm's World where the invite is to kick the sandals off and do a Carribean snoopy dance.
The feeling of the album is of a poet on the road, blending in with the people of different lands from South America to Ireland.
Annie Wenz has stayed a spell, embraced the people, understood their plight, shared songs and enriched herself as much as her new found friends: The late Phil Och's Bracero is just Annie & Tom Prasada Rao's guitars underpinning a vocal duet that is a brooding burner to peel paint.
Poet's Final Dance is an awesome tribute to Al Grierson "friend, brother, poet, monk, wiseass".
The ringing guitar introduction stops the breath and Annie Wenz's voice melts the senses. Annie Wenz is also a registered nurse.
She is valued for her educational music programmes to make a difference to young people's lives.
She tours festivals, & venues throughout America and around the world.
If we are lucky maybe one day she'll grace our shores with her poetry and song.