"Blood & Bone"
Street Date: February 1st, 2018

Her most adventurous and transparent album to date, on Blood & Bone, Wallfisch shares an intimate journey from heartbreak to healing over the course of fourteen original compositions that tell an inspiring and affecting story of love and adventure. “Blood & Bone” presents Wallfisch more at home musically than she has ever been with her genre-blending jazz, classical and folk influences giving way to a lush new sound that is uniquely her own. Wallfisch’s vocals and ukulele are complemented by a stellar band featuring pianist Jesse Elder, bassist Pablo Menares, guitarist Elias Meister, drummer Kenneth Salters, banjoist Jared Engel, trumpeter Wayne Tucker and also The Solar String Quartet.

 

Blood & Bone presents an intimate and personal portrait of the songwriter the New York Times has called “introspective, sensitive, and deep” as it draws on several life changing experiences. During the Summer of 2016, Wallfisch embarked on a monumental endeavor that would make even the most avid adventurer blush: a coastal concert tour from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles by bicycle. Armed with just her ukulele and loop pedals, Wallfisch powered through over ten cities in a month. Much of Wallfisch’s bike tour is chronicled in “Road Trip”- the album’s second offering which presents a true life collage of her experiences.

 

This unique experience fueled some of Blood & Bone’s standout moments including the first track entitled “The Ship”. The stage is set for Blood & Bone as she sings: “...out of the splinter’s of my broken heart I built this ship to sail into a bright new start, with lessons learned, some bridges burned, and a tail wind in my heart.” Wallfisch’s vulnerability and transparency is admirably on display on “Anymore”, a heartbreaking reflection of a love lost, on "Summer Solstice", which displays her beautiful string quartet arranging as she reflects on love past, and on “Solitude In A Song” which speaks to the joy and solace found through music.

The centerpiece of the album is “Bo Ba Bo”. Just made up sounds, but “Bo Ba Bo” is Wallfisch’s mantra for keeping a perspective on life. “Bo Ba Bo” was written in February 2016 just before Wallfisch was due to travel to Mumbai, India to volunteer as a choir director with Songbound, a charity that focuses on bringing music education to some of the poorest children in India. In Mumbai, Wallfisch found that the wordless, playful shape of the chorus was a hit with the 200+ children she was working with. “These children were from extreme backgrounds. Some were children of prostitutes, some were mentally and physically abused since birth and some were very sick in the cancer unit and others lived in conditions you could barely imagine,” said Wallfisch, however, the music was their solace. “During the choir lessons everything fell away. The music was their joy, their peace, their life… I have never experienced music in such a powerful way,” she added. “Bo Ba Bo”, featuring the voices of the children of the Songbound Choir of Mumbai, is a spellbinding and prolific testament to the power of music.

 

Blood & Bone closes with the beautiful title track which circles back to the album’s opener “The Ship.” The poetic chorus, sang with her signature multi-layering vocal technique, “this ship has sails made of blood and bone, and it knows the way home” refers to oneself being the ship and “no matter what kind of storm you might be in you have the strength inside to navigate your to shore,” she says. This final track showcases Wallfisch’s stunning versatility as she accompanies her voice with ukulele, flute and piano.

 

MORE ABOUT JOANNA WALLFISCH

London born, LA/NYC based vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Joanna Wallfisch has emerged as a unique voice in the singer-songwriter world. With a classical and jazz infused background, her music combines post-folk and art-song with a poetic lyricism which The New York Times described as "sensitive and deep”. She is a master in the art of live vocal looping and creates beguiling vocal soundscapes to accompany her songs. The Telegraph called her virtuosic performance as "sublime and unique".

Since 2011 Wallfisch has released three critically acclaimed albums. Gardens In My Mind, (Sunnyside, 2016), features pianist Dan Tepfer and the award-winning Sacconi Quartet, showcasing Joanna’s “crystalline delivery” (Downbeat) and lush string quartet writing. Downbeat gave this album four stars, calling it "an exquisite singer-songwriter album”, while PopMatters called it “a truly beautiful listen from start to finish”.

 

She has worked with a litany of musical greats such as Wynton Marsalis, Fred Hersch, Lee Konitz, Joe Martin, Sam Newsome, and Dan Tepfer, with whom she’s recorded two critically acclaimed projects including 2015’s The Origin of Adjustable Things.


Joanna is endorsed by Kala Brand ukulele, and plays their cedar top baritone, long neck soprano and -Bass. She also uses an RCBoss 30 loop pedal.

 

 
 

RAUL DA GAMA
WORLD MUSIC REPORT
Premiered "Bo Ba Bo". Read the full feature here.