Nov. 9, 2018 | Bob Boilen — Midway through Half Waif’s Tiny Desk, singer Nandi Rose Plunkett stops to let us all know that this particular Half Waif show is extra special. “So today we’re actually ‘Full Waif,’ because I am joined by my dear friends,” she says. “These are all musicians who have played with the band Half Waif over the past five years, but we’ve never all played together until now! So thanks for the opportunity to get ‘Full Waif’ together.”
The band, more often a trio, with Nandi singing her songs and playing keyboards, with Zack Levine on drums and Adan Carlo bass synth and guitar, put out their third album Lavender earlier in the year. The three intimate songs performed here, all from that album, are stripped to their essence. So when they closed with “Salt Candy,” the line “I wanted to be carried in my mother’s arms / I wanted to be buried in my mother’s arms,” in this setting and with the spare punctuation of electronic drums and textures, sitting alongside Nandi’s voice, was particularly chilling.
I’ve always found a sense of solitude in Half Waif’s music and their lead-off performance of “Lavender Burning,” with its opening line, “Staring out into the shifting darkness / Tryin’ to give a name to the place where my heart is,” reinforces my love for their peaceful, almost backwoods calm.
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kaylee Domzalski, CJ Riculan; Production Assistant: Brie Martin; Photo: Cameron Pollack/NPR