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Warm Strangers

Vienna Teng Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 16.48 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Warm Strangers + Dreaming Through The Noise + Inland Territory
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


1. Feather Moon
2. Harbor
3. Hope on Fire
4. Shine
5. Mission Street
6. My Medea
7. Shasta (Carrie's Song)
8. Homecoming (Walter's Song)
9. Anna Rose
10. Passage
11. The Atheist Christmas Carol
12. [Untitled Hidden Track]

Product Description

Product Description

It’s not unusual to see someone leave her high tech job these days to seek out new adventures. But how many of them wind up performing on the "Late Show with David Letterman" less than six months later?

By the time San Francisco-based singer/songwriter/pianist Vienna Teng, 26, quit her full-time software engineering job at Cisco Systems in 2002, she had signed with independent label Virt Records and was preparing for her full-length CD release, "Waking Hour." She was soon opening for such artists as Shawn Colvin and Joan Osborne. With her graceful melodies and evocative lyrics, Vienna has garnered critical acclaim and a rapidly growing legion of fans throughout the world. Her days are now filled with interviews and sold-out performances. Needless to say, it has been an abrupt shift from her cubicle days.

Vienna began taking piano lessons at age 5, studying classical composers like Bach and Chopin. Far from being pressured into studying music, however, Vienna asked for piano lessons on her own. While she delved fully into classical works, leading her to even take on the name of Vienna after the Austrian city of composers, she was drawn more to the act of improvisation, and in expressing the ideas that were emerging in her own imagination. She wrote her first song at age 6, and had an album’s worth of instrumentals composed by age 16.

Vienna has returned with her sophomore release, "Warm Strangers," a diverse collection of lush, melodic songs, incorporating Vienna's classical background and folk sensibilities within a contemporary pop framework. Whereas "Waking Hour," written during the high school and college years, was mostly autobiographical, "Warm Strangers" marks Vienna's bold leap into fiction. Orchestral and acoustic landscapes, using everything from string quartets to slide guitars, provide an inviting sonic backdrop for her short stories of love, death, struggle and hope. In describing "Warm Strangers," Vienna notes, "We pass through each other's lives so briefly that it's easy to think of the people around us as mere objects, cold and removed. Writing songs is my way of breathing warmth into them. Attempting to tell their stories, however fictitious the results, reminds me of our common humanity."


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful! Dec 3 2005
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Vienna Teng has a haunting, clear, beautiful voice. Her piano playing is phenomenal and her arrangements are stellar. This is an amazing album. The song that first drew me in was "Harbor." "Passage" is sad and raw yet still beautiful. The melodies are enchanting and the harmonies lovely, too. Vienna Teng is a true talent. This is a fabulous addition to any CD collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It just keeps gettin better! July 8 2004
Format:Audio CD
Well, seeing as how I can't revise an earlier review (I don't think),
I'll write another one.
I recall objecting to some of the percussion, notably on
"Harbor". That was probably at least a little unfair, comparing a solo
piano performance on NPR to an album version...you know how people
are, when things are different from what they expect, they don't like
it at first. I'm here to tell you, I take it back! This album (and
"Waking Hour") are fantastic from start to finish. Sometimes it takes
a bit for thing to penetrate my skull. I loved them both right off,
but now...I can't say enough about these CD's, or about
Vienna. Beautiful. Compelling. Fantastic!
Standout tracks are hard to pin down, because they all really have
something unique to offer. However, I really think "Homecoming" is my
favorite--if I had to pick. Something about how she gets into the main
character's head on that one, a lot of things. "Passage" will probably
haunt you for a while, as it should--I really think she hit what she
was going for on that one.
Anyway, everything wonderful I've said about this CD (and everyone
else, too) I stand behind completely. Run, don't walk, and get
it. Something else you should know; when I first get a CD, I obsess
over it. I play it daily, constantly, learn it forwards and backwrds,
whatever. For weeks. Until everyone at my house (that's my wife, the
cats, and the dogs) is probably thoroughly sick of my obsession! Well,
I'm here to tell you. I'm still obsessing over these two, four months
later. Fortunately, everyone else in the house seems to like them,
too. :)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great... July 3 2004
Format:Audio CD
Vienna Teng's first album (Waking Hour) floored me with its breadth of musical expression and mature lyrics. I've been listening to it for over 6 months now and still haven't tired of it. A beautiful piece of work that seemed to have melded the creative talents of the whole band.
"Warm Strangers" is a decent follow-up to her debut, but it doesn't have the same range of intensity she show-cased in her first album. In many ways "Warm Strangers" sounds more like a solo attempt, with most of the focus on Vienna's piano and singing. Perhaps this is due to the subtle changes in the band line-up (the electric guitarist and percussionist from the 1st album are absent) or maybe it's the change in mixing & production personnel. Whatever the reason, I find "Warm Strangers" a good album, but it pales in comparison to "Waking Hour".
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4.0 out of 5 stars also June 5 2004
Format:Audio CD
if you like her, check out the band Copeland. both equally wonderful
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4.0 out of 5 stars how very June 5 2004
Format:Audio CD
i had the chance to hear her live recently and since i've been hooked. she's a wonderful, talented musician with a bright future. her vocals are incredible and although some of her lyrics express a sentiment that are not quite my own, they are mature and beautiful, nonetheless. feel free to ask me more
silveradio182@hotmail.com
AIM - idioteque182
take care
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By leon
Format:Audio CD
I bought Teng's first CD after Aaron Brown had a little CNN feature on her which reminded me of the NPR interview in January. After getting "Waking Hour" and being captured by Vienna's music, I had to pre-order "Warm Strangers" when I heard it was being released. I liked "Waking Hour" so much and "Warm Strangers" is so different, at first I continued to prefer the older work. Now I can't get enough of "Warm Strangers"! They're all my friends now. My favorites? Well I love the perkiness of "Shasta" juxtaposed with the irony in the lyrics. "Harbor" and "Homecoming" both speak to me very intensely and bring tears to my eyes . . .especially when seen and heard live. "Feather Moon" is awesome as is the hidden "Green Island Serenade" --- can't believe I left out "Mission Street". Okay, they're all excellent.
There is an emotional intensity here that I find extraordinarily appealing. I heard it said that while we'll always remember those we laugh with; we can never forget those we have cried with. I have shed some warm, enriching and human tears with Vienna's music as those strangers have become warm friends.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sophomore standout, not slump April 25 2004
By A. Cohn
Format:Audio CD
This was the second CD this year I purchased on the basis of an NPR interview with the artist. My experiences of the two were on opposite ends of the spectrum. The first, from the throaty contralto Mary Fahl, was a severe disappointment. Snatches of lyrics and motifs from "Warm Strangers," on the other head, linger in my head for days after I hear them.
From my perspective, there are five standout tracks on the CD:
Mission Street, Passage, and The Atheist's Christmas Carol for their lyrics
Harbor and Hope on Fire for their musical accessibility.
Since I live in the Bay Area of California, Mission Street is my sentimental favorite. I can almost hear the Hispanic street sounds that Teng alludes to, and the introspective musing sounds right in line with the drift of thought you might indulge in while cradling a warm cup of tea or coffee in your hands, looking out the window of a restaurant or coffee shop. And as another reviewer noted, the spare use of a muted trumpet at just the right times is a thing of beauty.
The Atheist's Christmas Carol's sentiments are spiritual without being religious, focusing on the healing that we can all give to each other at an otherwise bleak time of year. On the second listen, I felt tears well up.
Passage, an a cappella reflection of the lives of those most dear to you after death, both soon and a long time after, is a fresh and daring approach to a topic many consider in their bleak moments. What sat me back in my chair was the look four years and decades after a death. Most of the people I know who've thought about what would happen to loved ones after they die consider only the near-term impact. The vision of people incompletely patching up their lives rocked me.
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