Inspiring, comforting, eclectic, Dawud Wharnsby's 2007 album "Out Seeing The Fields" embodies the hopes of a connected, peace-seeking generation. The same can be said of the artist himself: an established singer/songwriter, born and raised in Canada, of Scottish/British heritage, currently keeping bases in Colorado (USA), and a semi-rural town of Northern Pakistan.
"Out Seeing The Fields" marks a return to the warmer, intimate and organic recording style of Wharnsby's earlier work, while its lyrical content, blend of musical genres and production quality present an obvious growth in the artist's ability to express his unique view of life. The result is an album that reminds dedicated listeners of Wharnsby's work - both young and old alike - why he is still in the business after over a decade of making people smile, laugh, and sometimes cry with his music. And now Wharnsby's taking that talent and motivating a whole new generation of artists and audiences through his independent publishing entity Enter Into Peace. A philosophical commitment of "Bridging nations and tribes through education and the arts." by implementing a grassroots approach to musical production and collaboration is what has fueled Wharnsby to create honest, thought-provoking material for "Out Seeing The Fields". The rich depth of the album's writing is set beautifully to a blended backdrop of jazz and folk arrangements by Nashville based composer Idris Phillips, who takes credit as Wharnsby's co-producer on all of the album's tracks and key supporting musician in forthcoming concerts to promote the recording.
But Dawud Wharnsby is no stranger to producing widely popular music through successful collaborations and synthesizing talents. A multi-instrumentalist himself, Wharnsby has produced music in the past with British artist and peace activist Yusuf Islam (known the world over as Cat Stevens), Canadian percussion ensemble The Fletcher Valve Drummers, and South African songwriter Zain Bhikha. Dawud's album "The Poets And The Prophet" (Enter Into Peace, 2006) represented a creative collaboration with long time friend Bill Kocher as co-writer on several tracks, and included guest appearances by several celebrated musicians, including Canadian singer/songwriter Stephen Fearing, Mumbai based sitar ustad Irshad Khan, British double bass legend Danny Thompson .
With "Out Seeing The Fields" Dawud Wharnsby casts a reflective glance at life, love and the relationships that make us who we are. Its 12 tracks take listeners on an intimate journey, exploring complexities of the human condition. Honesty of faith, honesty of self and honesty before others are all addressed through songs like "The Truth That Lies Inside", "Out Seeing The Fields" and "Tea In St. Pancras Station", while "Rachel" (tribute to peace activist Rachel Corrie) looks at the dynamic between decisions and destiny. "Hold The Stage", one of the album's more personal tracks, has Wharnsby musing upon the struggles and goals of a traveling musician, through metaphors triggering self reflection in any listener. "Eight Years Old", "War/Lailaha Il Allah" and "Let It Go" (all co-written with Phillips) look at variant aspects of the ephemeral nature of time. The album also includes cover versions of "What's The Matter Here" (originally written in 1987 by singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant) and the powerful "Bells Of Morning", initially written and recorded by Stephen Fearing in 1989 as a reflection on the senseless murders of female students in Montreal, Canada - and now dedicated by Wharnsby to the survivors and young victims of the tragedies occurring in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania October 2nd, 2006.
Since Wharnsby's arrival on the music scene back in 1991, his unique blend of poetic lyrics and catchy musical rhythms have gifted him with international recognition, boasting a devoted listening audience of diverse cultural backgrounds. Through his debut solo album "Blue Walls And The Big Sky" (Enter Into Peace, 1995), and through strings of successfully diverse spiritual and children's albums including "Sing, Children Of The World!" (Enter Into Peace, 1998) and "The Prophet's Hands" (Sound Vision, 2003), Dawud Wharnsby has become a beloved poet and modern-day minstrel with a distinctly recognizable warm voice that carries a social message. He manages to do what he does best time and time again in his new "Out Seeing The Fields", exciting listeners with some new and varied musical approaches and writing techniques. In an effort to ensure the completed offering of songs would be a heartfelt and home-spun representation of Wharnsby's fondness for simplicity, recording sessions were held in the comfort of a sunny home-based studio, with tea and warm oatmeal in a kitchen just footsteps from the microphone. Amused house-cats, interested friends and infants of visiting session performers were all welcomed to sit in during the tracking process. Among the diverse musicians who contributed to building the album's sound, most notably are Nataska Hasan "Grandmother" Humminbird and Maimouna "Luna E" Youssef (vocalist on the immensely popular "Don't Feel Right" by Grammy Award nominees The Roots).
Dawud Wharnsby's approach to artistic expression is multi-dimensional. As a television and video personality, having hosted programs and composed music for Canada's Vision TV and Britain's BBC, Wharnsby has a knack for understanding what his varied audiences will enjoy and how to excel in every artistic field he enters. As a twenty-first century troubadour, traveling the world to share his poetry and songs, Wharnsby's passion for live performance has taken him from busking on street corners of small Canadian and Scottish towns, to playing some of the top theaters of North America and Britain. As a popular singer of English-language Nasheed (songs traditionally of a world-rhythm/folk/hymn blend, drawn from Qur'anic spirituality), he enjoys an enthusiastic following worldwide. As a children's educational program and music creator, Wharnsby enjoys hosting song-writing workshops and discussion circles at schools and universities across the globe. His establishment of a private trust fund supporting educational programs in Northern Pakistan, and his regular performances at events supporting humanitarian aid organizations, are a testaments to his socially conscious commitment.
An avid world-traveler, you might catch Wharnsby at a radio station in Malaysia, a rural school of South Africa, a bustling city of Europe, or the mountains of Pakistan - depending on what projects he's developing, which new artists he's mentoring or who has invited him to share his songs with their community. What's for certain though, is that Dawud Wharnsby aims to continue creating poetry and music with words that inspire and touch his listeners for years to come.
Enter Into Peace