A graduate of the prestigious Cabaret Conference at Yale, Ilana Waldston has been delighting audiences at venues all over Toronto with her comedic patter and her well-honed ability to sell a song. Known for unusual musical choices and quirky humour, she has also been in demand as an emcee and entertainer for both corporate and fundraising functions.
"Ilana has great comic timing and a terrific voice." - Michael Orland, Associate Musical Director of American Idol
“Her lower registers are of the textured Rosemary Clooney type, the mid and higher regs put me in mind of the Misty Miss June Christy. Warm, robust, big-girl voiced stylings.... gutsy and good-humoured...Ilana Waldston enjoys singing and you feel it.” - Stanley Fefferman, Opus One Review
“The title of the debut recording from Ilana Waldston is appropriate. She has made a mark on the T.O. scene as a comedically-inclined cabaret artist, but she moves into more conventional jazz terrain in very accomplished fashion here.”
- Kerry Doole, New Canadian Music
Song Descriptions for "I Could Laugh Out Loud":
You’d Be So Nice to Come Home to
Thanks to Bassist Steve Wallace, who gave me a Barbara Lea recording, I discovered that this great standard has a marvelous verse which, for me, gives the piece a whole new character. Only Cole Porter could get away with the line “It’s not that you’re rarer than asparagus out of season”!
Having been educated in French in my childhood, I really wanted to put a French song on the album and there are certainly many lovely ones from which to choose. This one, however, is such an expression of unbridled joy that I couldn’t resist it. The lyrics are fun (“Il chante: Love in bloom”) and the melody just puts a spring in one’s step.
No Moon at All
This sultry tune is a sexy little romp down lover’s lane and had to be on the CD because, frankly, it’s my husband’s favourite tune in my repertoire. I was thrilled to be able to take a minimalist approach, using only hand drumming, tenor sax and bass as instrumentation.
It’s a Helluva Way to Run a Love Affair
Tex Arnold, who had been the musical director for the legendary Margaret Whiting, put this song on my radar when I worked with him at the International Cabaret Conference at Yale. The song, from the musical “Plain and Fancy”, is about a woman who’s in love with a completely un-romantic man and for some reason, I find that very endearing.
Down St. Thomas Way
I’ve always loved hearing Sonny Rollins’ “St. Thomas” but when I heard the late Ray Passman’s lyrics, I knew this was my kind of song. I can certainly relate to disliking snow and the desire to escape to a beach somewhere. Even if I can’t get there in the real world, the rhythms virtually send me there.
Dancing on the Ceiling
I grew up watching Fred Astaire films and in this song, I always picture him, in top hat and tails, upside down. It was Mark Kieswetter's suggestion to do it in 5/4 and I’ve been breathing that rhythm ever since!
This song, written for “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, is filled with wonder, self-empowerment and, most importantly, memories of a chocolate waterfall.
Lucky To Be Me
The most important song on the CD as it represents my gratitude for my good fortune. The album title is from a lyric herein.
You Are There
This is a song about loss and longing. I could not celebrate my great blessings without acknowledging the misfortune and sadness of those around me who have lost their life partners. “You Are There” honours them and their loves.
Isn’t It a Lovely Day to Be Caught in the Rain
A song from the beautiful moment in “Top Hat” when Fred Astaire’s character woos Ginger Rogers’ under a gazebo. I love the positive attitude of the lyrics and the melody is just plain “yummy”.
On the Streets of Paree
The first of two songs written by the brilliant Francesca Blumenthal. This one is about the very public displays of affection for which the Parisians are well known. “That those gauls have such gall” is a line that really tickles my “punny bone”.
Buffalo, City of Dreams
An ode to the great city of Buffalo, its world-class spas, majestic castles, romantic canals, five-star ski chalets and other attractions that make it the finest city in the world.
Hanukkah in Santa Monica
I thought it was high time the 0.02% of the world population got their own english language holiday song that might actually get into the December radio rotation. Who better to write it than the always-clever Tom Lehrer? If you’re going to indulge in the traditional potato latkes, this cha-cha is a great way to burn off those calories.