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June 1, 2005

A Cappella Cage Match

Metro Santa Cruz (CA):

Scheduling can be a real hassle, and unfortunately, you never know what else is going to go down the night you book a gig. Most Fridays there's at least one concert whose crowd gets cut in half by another gig across town. It's an inevitable part of this damned Julian calendar we all keep adhering to. Anyway, once again scheduling raised its ugly head on May 20. Local singing group Mayim booked the Kuumbwa for a night of singing, while a few yards away, SoVoSo took the stage at the Attic and trotted out their tunes.

SoVoSo makes you wish that you went to a church with a better choir. While most choirs barely manage to eek out "A Joyous Song Unto the Lord," SoVoSo soars (whatever church choir the members of SoVoSo sang with must have been a wonder to hear) and is unafraid of mentioning Jesus' name, even in this bastion of goddess-inspired secularity. Opening up the set with PSALM 23 (the one with the shepherd and the valley) was a gutsy move. Not exactly a hand-clapper.

One of the most beautiful SoVoSo moments was when the group invited a dancer to perform with them. Instead of taking the stage, the dancer climbed a rope and performed amazing feats of grace while suspended above the audience's heads. For five minutes, the singers were all but ignored as this small and lithe woman made gravity her bitch.

Mayim, though in the same genre as SoVoSo, sounds completely different (it was interesting to bounce from one show to the other to compare the two ). Whereas SoVoSo is a mixed choir drawing from mostly R&B and gospel sources, Mayim is all female and doesn't seem to specialize in a single genre.The three women in Mayim take the "world is their oyster" approach to putting together a setlist. Songs from Hungary were mixed in with Native American chants and tunes from the Indigo Girls

Posted by acapnews at June 1, 2005 12:04 AM