BY JEREMY SHERE
The local, all-women a cappella group Kaia is renowned for its energetic, even raucous performances—a vibe captured expertly on the group’s two live, in-concert CDs. Kaia’s soon-to-be-released third CD, recorded at Bloomington’s Airtime Recording Studio and due out in February, features Kaia’s patented sound, but this time with the added benefit of professional studio production.
“Performing live you only get one shot at a song, but in the studio you can do multiple takes and really craft a sound,” says Kaia founder Cairril Adaire. “It was great to be able to stop singing, have a discussion, reconnect with the meaning of the song, and then sing with more heart.”
Making a studio album also posed some challenges, Adaire says. The singers had to teach themselves how to listen and hear each other in the studio space. “One of the biggest changes from our earlier CDs was performing without an audience,” Adaire says. “When we perform, we have a wonderful feedback loop with the crowd, but in the studio we had to create that energy on our own.”
Recorded and engineered by Airtime’s Chip Reardin, the as-yet-untitled CD will include more than 20 songs in a dozen languages, including African dance tunes, a Georgian song celebrating springtime, a Todd Rundgren song called “Hodja,” and protest songs (including one sung in Occitan—a dying language from southern France). The CD will also include a handful of original songs, such as Adaire’s “Not One More Day,” a pointed statement on the war in Iraq.
Although recording in a studio did not fundamentally change Kaia’s approach to making music, Adaire says, the experience did shed new light on the group’s creative potential. “In the past we’ve tended to look at pieces we wanted to do and then decide who has the vocal ability to bring the song to life,” she says. “Working in the studio reinforced the idea that we all have unique talents that are important for every song.”