Folkie helps get sibling Waifs in harmony again

PERFORMING at the Port Fairy Folk Festival is like coming home, says The Waifs’ Donna Simpson.

Except this year Simpson and her sister Vikki Thorn are performing as The Stray Sisters, while bandmate Josh Cunningham pursues his own musical journey.

“I miss her and I miss singing with her,” said Simpson of her reasoning for the duo’s tour, which launches at the Folkie from March 7 to 10.

The pair have been living on opposite sides of the world (Thorn’s home is in Utah) since The Waifs took a break about three years ago.

Both have been family-focused, raising three boys each — all under the age of 8.

Simpson said she and Thorn became excited about their new-found freedom and had modern technology to thank for rekindling their musical connection.

“We’re Skyping — using new technology to send each other our songs. I can sit in the backyard and record a song on my phone and put it in Dropbox in a matter of minutes and then she can learn it.”

Simpson said the band had performed at the Folk Festival several times since about 1998.

“I feel at home there. I know we as a band always felt so welcomed and loved. We had some of our best musical experiences at that festival. It’s a standout festival.”

She said The Stray Sisters tour was “sisters doing it for themselves” and it was a nerve-wracking but exciting venture.

“We’re going to be nervous as hell, but we know they’re (Folkie audiences) forgiving angels.”

She said the show would be a more intimate experience without the support of a big band. There will be new songs and a few Waifs songs written by Simpson and Thorn.

“We thought if we’re going to do this it’s got to be different to The Waifs. 

“We’re back to singing harmonies and really supporting one another.

“We’ve got nothing to sell ... it’s just purely about playing together.”

As for the future of The Waifs, Simpson said they would “take it slowly”.

“We’re doing a small Australia tour in May, we’re just going to see how that goes. We need some artistic space from one another,” she said.


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