"Love Strong" is the first CD single from "Vacuous Waxing" and is coupled with three bonus tracks (two of which are only available on this single).
The collaborative effort of singer/songwriter Dawud Wharnsby and writer/guitarist Bill Kocher, celebrates a joining of faith, culture and musical style. It is a statement of hope in the midst of today's increasing social and political tension.
Wharnsby and Kocher (friends since their teens) reconnected musically in 2001, in a simple effort to reflect artistically on their unique lifestyles and independent growth as writers and artists.
The material featured on their debut joint recording "Vacuous Waxing" intimately hits several issues of social concern: Struggle for identity, family violence, religious hypocrisy and conflict resolution.
Recruiting a diverse team of session musicians and featured guests, Wharnsby and Kocher's collaborative project unites prominent artists with varying musical passions (Jazz, R&B, Folk, World-Beat, Classical and Pop), spiritual foundations (Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Atheist, seeker...), and cultural backgrounds.
Among the album's featured artists are, British double bass legend Danny Thompson (PENTANGLE, EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL, DONOVAN, RICHARD THOMPSON, ERIC CLAPTON, LOREENA McKENNITT), Canadian folk musician and Juno nominee Stephen Fearing (BLACKIE & THE RODEO KINGS, SARAH McLACHLAN), world renowned sitar master Irshad Khan, up and coming R&B vocalist Priyesh Shukla (ANXIOUS BLUE), and top Canadian oboist James Mason. The recording has been produced by Canadian arranger, composer and artist Trevor Yuile.
About "Love Strong", writer Dawud Wharnsby says:
"This version of Love Strong is quite different from the initial demo Bill and I recorded, and from the way I play it live. Our producer (Trevor Yuile) didn't really like the song when we first brought it to him, but Bill and I kicked and screamed to keep it on the project because its message was so important to both of us. Growing up in a very muti-cultural place like Canada, it is sometimes easy to take the beauty of diversity for granted. Bill and I were sitting in a Tim Horton's coffee shop one night - looking at all the unique faces and lives around us - when we were struck by the basic but wonderful reality that: somewhere in the midst of our cultural and religious diversity, all of us simple, coffee & donut loving human beings share a common desire for the basic human need of love - to give it and receive it. We just want to know that we belong someplace and that our lives have a point. The song is really about being a part of a community. Its about equality of worth. It is about honesty. It is about finding a common goal in life.
The chord arrangements were odd, the phrasing was odd, the lyrics were odd... but we just kept on pushing Trev to make something out of it...to pull the ideas and images together somehow. Trev slowed down the tempo, lowered the key, brought in some unique native Canadian chant, added sitar, tabla, some oud samples... We also had Toronto singer Bilal Donovan chime in with some Guess Who harmony vocals on the chorus....when we finished the final mix I don't think any of us really knew what the hell we had created! But somehow, listening back to it, I felt as if I was taking a walk through Kensington Market in Toronto or getting Kashmiri chai on Gerrard Street - it was colourful and beautiful and different and a mash of culture and texture... We decided to make it our first CD single from Vacuous Waxing."
ABOUT DAWUD WHARNSBY:
A third generation Canadian with Scottish and British roots, Dawud Wharnsby - a traveler, writer, actor, troubadour and multi-instrumentalist - first emerged onto the North American folk music scene in 1991. His debut solo recording "Blue Walls and The Big Sky" (1995), firmly established his skills not only as a crafty lyricist, but also as a powerful vocalist, capable of drawing listeners into his world like a vibrant stage actor, or an intimate storyteller.
Merging the Celtic/folk styles of his upbringing with sounds and embellishments of the Middle and Far East, his 1996 CD "A Whisper Of Peace" was followed by a string of internationally recognized recordings including "Sing, Children of The World" (1998), and "The Prophet's Hands" (2002 - featuring Zain Bhikha and Yusuf Islam).
In 1999, Dawud signed with Jamal Records (backed by UK based artist, producer and peace activist Yusuf Islam - formerly Cat Stevens) for African and Australasian distribution. A number of Dawud's songs have since been highlighted on Jamal's most recent compilation releases, "Bismillah" (2001), "In Praise of The Last Prophet" (2002), and "I Look, I See" (2004), with overwhelming global success.
Wharnsby's forthcoming CD, "Vacuous Waxing" (a joint effort with co-writer Bill Kocher) brings together a unique mix of featured artists, including UK bass legend Danny Thompson (PENTANGLE, NICK DRAKE, EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL, DONOVAN, RICHARD THOMPSON, ERIC CLAPTON, LOREENA McKENNITT), Canadian folk icon Stephen Fearing (BLACKIE & THE RODEO KINGS, SARAH McLACHLAN) and world renown sitar master Irshad Khan.
THE GOSSIP ON DAWUD WHARNSBY...
"He grew up with an ear toward the Kingston Trio, Bob Dylan and 10,000 Maniacs...Today (he) has found inner peace and a surer audience....With a sound reminiscent of Peter, Paul and Mary...
...he released... "A Whisper of Peace" for Sound Vision... It's the company's best-selling music CD.
...Wharnsby released three independent recordings in the early 1990's. His songs are often playful, but his goal is to inspire and educate...The songs resonate...."
Dallas Morning News, 2000
ABOUT "VACUOUS WAXING":
"...Featuring a diverse mix of star talent, including Irish-Canadian folk icon Stephen Fearing, sitarist Irshad Khan, British bassist Danny Thompson (formerly of Pentangle), and K-W Symphony principal oboist James Mason, the new CD promises to go beyond simply expressing parallel threads of faith and experience, to address the human condition as a deeply-woven fabric, a holistic journey..."
The Waterloo Chronicle, 2003