The Swingle Singers, front row, from left: Oliver Griffiths, Christopher Jay, Clare Wheeler, Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson and Edward Randell. Back row, from left: Sara Brimer and Kevin Fox
Published: 10 January, 2013
by ALICE HUTTON
BEAT-boxing, classical, jazz, electro and pop will be part of the adrenaline-pumping, vocal cord-stretching offerings from the fourth London A Capella Festival.
The international world-class ensembles, from as far away as Canada, Finland and Denmark will flood Kings Place in King’s Cross with their unique sounds and symphonies created using just their voices in a series of concerts held between January 24 and 26.
The festival is co-curated by the Swingle Singers, a five-time Grammy award-winning seven-piece kicking off their 50th anniversary global tour with a signature mix of funk and folk.
Edward Randell, 24, who joined the group as a full-time member after graduating from Oxford University in 2009, says that, following the rise of singing sitcoms and reality TV programmes, as well as the recent release of a capella Hollywood movie Pitch Perfect, the genre is beginning to hit the big time.
“Though I wouldn’t call it a genre,” he says.
“It is more than a genre, it is an approach to other genres and is quite a distinctive thing. The huge possibilities of what you can do with a capella make it something quite thrilling. It draws people in when they realise whole concerts, drums and everything, are coming from human voices alone.”
Alongside the Swingle Singers will tune up Rajaton from Finland, cornerstones of the British choral scene The King’s Singers, as well as the Choir of Clare College Cambridge, Danish Postyr, and Canadian favourites Retrocity.
There will also be a series of workshops, foyer performances, talks and interactive events.
“There is something about ensemble singing that brings people together,” says Edward, who is preparing to jet off to Israel with the group after recent shows in Taiwan and Indonesia.
“It is diverse. With a capella you are never sure what you could be getting next. It is less about trying to imitate an instrument than making music that is vocally original and unusual and it is really exciting to see what the other acts will serve up. This is a once-in-a-blue-moon chance to see so many world-class groups.”
Added to the programme this week is Take The Stage, a showcase of up-and-coming a capella talent, featuring vocal groups from schools and communities across the region, who will join a day of workshops given by experts in the field, culminating in a joint performance in the main hall. The event will be presented by members of the Swingle Singers and is open to family and friends.
• Tickets for the London A Capella Festival are now on sale. Visit www.kingsplace.co.uk