“Whoa, whoa, oh, oh, oh” is a lyric or trope or sound made by 20-year-old Claremont, New Hampshire Christian syren Evelyn Cormier, who sang Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” just now on ABC’s “American Idol’.
Meanwhile, for readers of “Plastic Alto” this is old hat, but “wha-hoo-wah” is something that old school Dartmouth people, probably mostly men, say to each other to mean “congrats” or “kudos” or “huzzah”. But contemporary Dartmouth people (for example, who sing “We of Dartmouth” not “Men of Dartmouth”) don’t say that; in fact, some people, especially Native Americans, think it is a slur. (As in, it is like saying “squaw”).
Jim Newton, a year ahead of me at Dartmouth and formerly my editor and publisher, who later interned for Scott Reston of The Times and was editorial page editor of the LA Times, once tried to diffuse or resolve or impact the “Indian Symbol” debate by selling bumper stickers that read “Wah-who-cares?” which I think was his way of suggesting a more signficant topic for discourse, for example (and this was circa 1985) South Africa or Cold War.
I think the singer is pretty amazing and worth listening to. I wish I had heard or her organically and not on a tv contest show. Her song is “Yard Sale Guitar”.
Yesterday I also heard from Hershel Yatovitz, the Jewish guitar player for Chris Isaak. The occasion was that after the San Francisco Half Marathon I staggered over to Cafe Trieste and said hello to folk band leader David Weiss, who has performed there at least since 1988 and maybe consecutively. I mediated a text exchange between H and David (no relation). Chris apparently is in Nashville, or was when the show was taped.
This also made me think of Paul Cormier who coached Dartmouth basketball and was a coach for Villanova when they won NCAAs.