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A Musical Life

A Musical Life: Kendall Wohaska

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Courtesy photo
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Kendall Wohaska is a local musician, composer, and teacher in Wichita where he has performed with his own band, The Luna Copii Trio, as well as The Bodo Ensemble, The Small Container Ensemble, and Allison Miller. Primarily interested in noise rock and avant-garde music in his teens, Wohaska continues to pursue aural textures as an essential part of composition and improvisation. Wohaska recently graduated from Wichita State University with a degree in Music Performance.

“My name is Kendall Wohaska and I play guitar in the band the Luna Copii Trio.

One of the things that I used to work on—in playing with this drummer in particular—I wanted to know what his left hand was doing, which is the snare hand. It’s constantly moving. It’s called chatter. I wanted to line up with that which is hard because this person is improvising too.

But there are certain things that someone will repeat a lot and so if you can lock in with that, you can take your improvised music to a new level and new understanding. And I know—whenever you listen to someone you’ve heard play a lot, you’re listening to something and you know where they’re going with that. It’s like someone who has the same story and at a party they’ll tell the same story and you know exactly where they’re going with that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s an important part of, in this case, playing.

I have three or four records that I really, really like and every time I go back to them it’s like I have a new understanding of life or their lives and the way their mind works.

A record that I like a lot and go back to is Jim Hall Live. It’s a record that the bass player from that particular band—who only came together to play for a couple of nights—record, using his own personal equipment. It’s in Canada. No one in the room cares. You can hear the wait staff singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to a table. Jim Hall takes off and plays a solo based on that. Just takes off and starts playing variations on ‘Happy Birthday.’

I go back to that record a lot because there’s always a new understanding of—in this case, harmony—these things are mysteries. ‘How did he do that? How did he know that that was the right thing to do?’ “