Meet Joan Enguita Willingham
by Dan Kimpel of Music Connection Magazine
SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series
An Evening with Women on the Move Trio
Trish Lester, Joan Enguita Willingham, Linda Geleris
Performed October 15, 2011
Click here for to watch the concert!
It begins with a magical voice, warm enough to melt a glacier. The voice is connected to the soul of Joan Enguita, an accomplished singer/songwriter who distills her life's experiences into melodies and lyrics in the modern folk tradition. "I think of songs as tea bags," she explains. "They have to be in the water a certain length of time before they're ready."
Judging by her outpouring of material, it's tea time. The Lancaster, California-based artist has two CDs. The first, Kiss Me Awake, is a suite of songs recorded acoustically as an expressive tableaux of guitar and vocals. Her second outing, Two Suitcases, released in 2005, features a studio of respected Nashville musicians tastefully accompanying Joan with dobro, accordian and traditional instruments.
Joan's mother was a classically trained singer. Her father played clarinet in the Air Force band for 27 years. As a child of a military family, relocation was a key component of life. Her immersion in music began during her early teen years in Spain as she and her friends gathered around songbooks with guitars. She taught herself to play on her brother's instrument, albeit without his permission. "As soon as I'd hear him go down the stairs, I'd go in his room and grab his guitar and his Joan Baez songbook that had chord charts," she reveals. Her intricate finger-picking style was learned in classical studies during her college years in Minnesota.
Time spent behind bars--not as an inmate but as a visiting prison performer--has had a profound impact on Joan. "You walk through many slamming doors," she notes. "But the inmates who choose to come to those concerts are so grateful because they have very little outside contact. It's a slap of reality." Other less fettered performances include a showcase at The Folk Alliance, coffeehouses and listening rooms throughout Southern California, Desert Song Music Festival, a Borders Books and Music tour, Kulak's Woodshed and an appearance on the 2004 Emmy Award-winning series, Street Music L.A.
With the release of her two CDs, Joan tours the west coast regularly and has performed in Denmark, Ireland and Germany. Meanwhile, in addition to concert and festival appearances, Joan donates her performances to community, prison and charity groups, while she expands her burgeoning catalog of songs. "Songwriters are the eyes and ears of the world," she notes.
Joan Enguita's music, like her life, has followed a path illuminated by faith, compassion and honesty. "Growing up, I had a lot of time to think," Joan says. "I have so many memories, because I moved so much. Much of my life is memory, not in the here and now, because many of those people aren't around me anymore." But the songs remember. And as they tell stories of the roads taken, her exquisite voice is a silver thread connecting all of the destinations right back to her heart.
"Hearing you sing was lovely. Your voice is one of those rare ones...clean, crisp, clear notes. The best kind of voices are those. And then having your guitar added, well, you just do not need anything else with it. It brings me to my old hippie stomping days, or Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez...and Joan Enguita now too. Time to run off into the woods...singing a lovely melody...barefooted...hair blowing. So thanks for the good feeling of better times, innocent, loving days and gentle souls. Thanks for the goose bumps." -- Poet Reta Taylor (read her tribute poem in Press Reviews)
“It’s not often we find an exquisite folk singer who can really write songs about life, her life, that truly move us. Joan Enguita is one of those." --Harriet Schock. songwriting teacher and Platinum songwriter
--$2500 awarded as runner up in MUSIC FROM HOME singer songwriter contest sponsored by SunCal.
--SPOTLIGHT ARTIST OF THE WEEK, SONICBIDS
--SPOTLIGHT ARTIST OF THE MONTH for Los Angeles Women in Music
--BEST OF THE YEAR SHOW -2006--Radio Host Larry Wines, "Tied to the Tracks" KCSN Los Angeles
--XM SATELLITE RADIO Channel 15--ONE HOUR INTERVIEW/LIVE PERFORMANCE with Tom May on River City Folk
--COVER GIRL! Joan appeared on the cover of the January/February 2005 FOLKWORKS MAGAZINE, available in their archive online at www.folkworks.org. She is mentioned in the "Folk Renaissance" issue of this same magazine, in the May/June 2005 issue.
--Owner and Founder, Red Coyote Records--released a women's CD, "Beautiful" featuring Los Angeles area aritists--CD and concert tour to raise funds for domestic violence shelters. Editor's Pick at CD Baby--out of 190,000 Cds...still listed at Easy Listening and Adult Contemporary. Joan expects to release her third CD in early 2010.
--Songwriter Affiliation, BMI
Joan Enguita, and acoustic electric Martin guitar.
Acoustic electric twelve string used on a few songs.
Occasionally has a back up singer.
WORKSHOPS AVAILABLE: songwriting, songwriting with children, singing performance workshop, making rain sticks, making tambourines, the flamenco strum I use...everyone wants to learn it! Hear it on "Before It's Begun", here on sonicbids!
PANELIST TOPICS: Women in music, starting your own label, songwriting, touring (U.S. and Europe experience), networking, releasing an independent CD
TWO SUITCASES--Joan's fully produced 2005 CD released on her independent label, RED COYOTE RECORDS. Recorded with NASHVILLE TRACKS in L.A., mastered by Capitol Records Mastering, it is an americana/folk album. Musicians include Nashvile pros, Pat McGrath, Jim Hoke, Gary Morse, and Ron De La Vega. Songs may be heard here on sonicbids...just click on audio. Currently available on cdbaby/joanenguita, Amazon.com, Tower Records and Best Buys.
KISS ME AWAKE Joan's self-produced vocal/guitar album. Released in 2004.
Oasis Acoustic, Vol VI, Double CD includes Joan's song, "I Need to Hear it From You" on the first CD, Track 7. Distributed by Oasis CD manufacturing.
Her song, "Where's the Time Gone?" is featured on the True Talent Management March 2006 compilation CD. www.truetalentmgmt.com
SCHOCK FUTURES--Hollywood songwriting legend Harrriet Schock chose Joan's song TWO SUITCASES for her 2004 CD compilation of tomorrows' top songwriters.
FEMALES ON FIRE--Joan's song, HEADING FOR SHORE is included on this compilation CD released in August, 2005 by Warrior Girl Music.
RELEASED SEPTEMBER 2007
BEAUTIFUL--Joan's latest release was recorded Nashville Tracks in L.A. It includes songs recorded by 14 indie southern California artists. A portion of the CD sales are used to raise funds for women's domestic violence shelters. Songs include contributions by songwriters such as Garth Brooks/Benita Hill, Harriet Schock (Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady) and Arthur Hamilton (Cry Me A River) as well as up and coming songwriters in the Los Angeles area.
The CD release concert was hosted by Cal Tech Folk Music Society in Pasadena and raised $1500 for Haven House, the oldest U.S. women's shelter.
--2008 will see the Red Coyote Records release of Joan's second CD produced by Nashville Tracks in L.A.