Dawud Wharnsby | Blue Walls And The Big Sky

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Folk: Modern Folk Pop: Folky Pop Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Blue Walls And The Big Sky

by Dawud Wharnsby

First solo effort: A lyrically introspective and musically acoustic recording presented with spiritual simplicity and a slight streak of dark humour.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. White Moon
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
2:04 $1.29
2. Move To See (Prayer of a Derelict)
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
2:40 $1.29
3. Black Glass
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
2:02 $1.29
4. Window Song
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
2:08 $1.29
5. The Old Fool
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
3:36 $1.29
6. Assess Your Life
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
4:22 $1.29
7. Rex The Dog
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
3:11 $1.29
8. All These Pictures
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
4:34 $1.29
9. Upon My Shelf
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
5:33 $1.29
10. Education And The Working Man
Dawud Wharnsby Ali & Heather Chappell
5:01 $1.29
11. Blind Faith
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
0:45 $0.99
12. Wood And Nails
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
4:38 $1.29
13. Antisocialsong
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
4:11 $1.29
14. The Sweetest Afternoon
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
1:49 $1.29
15. Flying
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
3:55 $1.29
16. The Last Tea Song (Truth And The Silent Voice)
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
2:06 $1.29
17. Stuffed Animals Behind My Bed
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
3:44 $1.29
18. History And Handshake Kisses
Dawud Wharnsby Ali
0:50 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
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.

A third generation Canadian with Scottish and British roots, Wharnsby's recordings and reputation have established him as an institution in the realm of English language Nasheed (spiritual songs of a world-beat/folk style, drawn from Islamic cultural and musical tradition). In true folk-song tradition, his writings have taken on a life of their own - spreading far beyond official marketing territories by way of a bootleg industry which circulates his recordings unofficially and uncontrollably throughout the world. Though distribution of Wharnsby's material is difficult to gage, his efforts have spawned an artistic movement and musical industry of young artists hailing from Los Angeles, London, Jakarta and all stops in between.

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), "Road To Madinah" (1999), "Sunshine, Dust and The Messenger" (2001) and "The Prophet's Hands" (2002 - featuring Zain Bhikha and Yusuf Islam) - all released through the US based label Sound Vision. Developing his sound with the talents of Canadian producer and composer Trevor Yuile, Wharnsby's unique lyrical style, warm voice and knack for penning catchy melodies have yielded a rich reception from his listeners world-wide who, in many cases, do not even speak English as their first language.

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.

Several of Wharnsby's latest recordings feature collaborative material with the likes of South African songwriter Zain Bhikha and award winning producer/songwriter Zuriani (KEB'MO', BRENDA RUSSELL, MELISSA MANCHESTER).

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...."

Susan Hogan/Albach,
Dallas Morning News, 2000


About "Road to Madinah"

"His sound is more Peter, Paul and Mary than Dylan, but Canadian singer Dawud Wharnsby Ali sings of how the times are a-changing.

...Wharnsby relies on a cappella harmonies or light percussion accompaniments to convey his message, and almost all the tunes have the catchy, singable overtones of summer camp songs."

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 1998

About "Sunshine Dust and The Messenger"

"Wharnsby, a Canadian folk singer... gears this effort primarily to adults.... But the music retains its playful character.

...Wharnsby's message is substantive, and his vocals are compelling - similar in style to Peter Yarrow and Paul Simon. Most of the music is done in English and a capella, with smooth harmonies, some-times reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel and at other times Gregorian chant.

...But this music isn't meant merely to entertain. ...in one case, a visualization sequence...asks listeners to hear the "rhythm of the clapping of the thunder and rain" as the sound of thunder and rain plays in the background. The project is highly sensory with an emphasis on the sounds and rhythms of creation."

Dallas Morning News, 2000


"The more things change, the more things stay the same. That 's one of the prominent messages of a very cool album we recently discovered by Dawud.

Sunshine, Dust And The Messenger... brings a new and welcomed style aimed at adult and youth audiences, and quite a change from what most listeners might be been accustomed to hearing.

Dawud imparts beauty and wisdom in his artful and captivating music. Carrying wisdom to thirsty ears, Dawud travels the globe helping young people in their struggles to have hope...raising awareness for a better world.

Conceptually, the theme of rhythm is defined utilizing examples from nature (seasons, alternation of night day, heartbeats, waves) and examples from the human experience (birth, death, passage of time). Rhythm also becomes the symbol of order as Wharnsby explores the hope for mankind to bring simplicity, rhythm and harmony back to their lives.... Tracks like "Rhythm Of Surrender" and "Why Are The Drums So Silent?" take an almost satirical look at the adult world, where lack of wisdom and proper prioritization often cause the plans of even the most educated people to fall apart."

iMusicWeek, 2001


About Dawud's Contribution to Yusuf Islam's "In Praise of The Last Prophet"

"...The man once known as Cat Stevens has produced, with guests and recordings... a collection of songs...and chants four of the 14 songs himself... However, it is a track sung by his friend Dawud Wharnsby Ali...with it's songwriterly opening ("Morning light through the bedroom window ...") that, oddly, could have come straight off Cat's 1971 album, Tea for the Tillerman."

Mark Ellingham
The Evening Standard, UK
April 2002


About "The Prophet's Hands"

"...After numerous recordings, the talented Canadian just keeps getting better. This latest effort is his best yet.

...He sings with utter clarity...Every song is catchy and singable, which is precisely his aim...The melodies are simple and the message clear - a sign of (Wharnsby's) creativity and musical skill. Count him among the very best artists writing and singing ...And be grateful that he's still young, with many songs ahead of him."

Dallas Morning News, 2003


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..."

Pauline Finch
The Waterloo Chronicle, 2003



to write a review

Samir Elneser

Good start to outstanding career
Dawud Whansby is one of my favorite singers, and for me to discover this album was a rare privledge. I haven't listened to it enough to make a definitive judgment yet, but I like what I hear so far. Peace and God bless.

Humayun Ghausi

A great inspirational and beautiful collection of truly 'coming from the heart'
Most of the songs are simplictity and melody personified. Moreover almost all the songs are thought provoking and challenges the listener's beliefs and view of life. Very few songs have or possess that ability.


This recording provided me an opportunity for reflection and realization.
I heard "Blue Walls. . . " for the first time, back in 1995. I was impressed and personally moved by this showcase of Dawud's versatile talent...his sensitivity and humble ways. I envisioned and experienced, on a certain level, Dawud's telling journey and of faith, healing and growth. His music demonstrates his maturation and the necessity of relaying its critical messages to his audience. This recording portraits Dawud's love for varying musical genres, while its words reveal and touch - its content, so real-to life. I love and appreciate this entire recording, but am especially fond of the melodies and lyrics of "White Moon," "Flying," the relatable "Anti-Social Song," "Assess Your Life" and "Wood and Nails." What moves me so about this music is that I feel like I have been where the artist has been, skeptical at times, struggling to find the word's and my own sense, but remaining optimistic toward change. This music’s powerful and lasting messages are conveyed with such sensitivity, accurately reflecting Dawud's character and convictions. This recording provided me an opportunity for reflection and realization. It penetrates and surfaces awareness of social condition, our individual and collective potential, and it leaves the listener with hope for our future.

David Bone

Wonderful Poetry set to soothing and harmonious music
I was used to Dawud's Muslim Songs for Children which is all that you can get here in the UK, but for me this is the real deal. In the past many of the great Muslim scholars were also poets like Rumi and Al-Busiri and Dawud is a poet par excellence. A great effort, I wish I'd found it earlier.

Atif Saghir

A worthwhile re-release
Blue Walls and the Big Sky has 18 songs which address a diverse number of subjects ranging from dark humor to the seriousness of prayer and homelessness. Thoughtful lyrics such as: cannot hold a job, so will try and hold his liquor will make you want to listen carefully to each word. There are songs which have an immediate hum along factor and those which make you reflect on your day.
The production and the instrumental work is top notch and the powerful vocal performances from Dawud Wharnsby round off this wonderful re-release.