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Wishing Chair

Wishing Chair Introducing “a songwriting, string-dancing, accordion-playing, harmony-singing, storytelling, hand-drumming, banjo-strumming, soul-stirring, two-woman tour-de-force.”

Wishing Chair is Miriam Davidson on vocals, accordion, acoustic guitar, banjo, and percussion and Kiya Heartwood on vocals, acoustic guitar, and percussion. Together, they perform a brand of roots-folk that’s full of passion, energy, and power, ranging from driving contemporary folk originals to 500-year-old ballads. Kiya’s hip-cowpunk spirit mingled with Miriam’s soulful East Coast sophistication gives this duo its beautiful balance. While acoustic guitars, accordion, and drop-dead gorgeous harmonies are the tools of their trade, Wishing Chair is all about songs. Kiya’s lyrics are poetic and powerful, and any subject is fair game: love, shipwrecks, urban sprawl, punk bars, labor wars, or 19th-century poets.

Formed in 1995, Wishing Chair has released five CDs on the Terrakin label, the fifth being a collaboration with traditional multi-instrumentalist Kara Barnard entitled Dishpan Brigade.

So what kind of music do they play? While this question can send both Miriam and Kiya into a cold sweat, the best answer so far seems to be roots-folk or contemporary folk. The women think of themselves as folksinger-songwriters. As Kiya puts it, “Basically, we’re song farmers.”

Wishing Chair’s influences are as wide as their sound: everything from the politically charged work of artists like Dick Gaughan to the Americana of Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris and the adventurous trad-pop of artists such as Fairport Convention. Kiya and Miriam are inspired by many songwriters, among them Dave Carter, Cheryl Wheeler, and Richard Thompson.

The band’s name comes from a rock formation in Northern Ireland where, it is said, you can sit and make a wish and your dreams will come true.

Program 608

A very unusual clock at the Lexington Public Library, the Filson Historical Society’s new gallery in downtown Louisville, the new director of the Louisville Visual Art Association, and music by Wishing Chair. (#608)

Program 817

Owensboro’s RiverPark Center, opera singer Laquita Mitchell, the Hart County Fair’s basket-making contest, and music by Wishing Chair and Steve Wogaman. (#817)


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