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April 30, 2008

Kennedy Center: Soaring Voices

Playbill (NY):

Representing vocal traditions and communities from around the world,
May 28-June 6, the Kennedy Center presents A Cappella: Singing Solo, a
celebration of the human voice--from gospel to sacred chants to barber
shop quartets to jazz, from the Czech Republic to Norway to Mexico to
South Africa.

"We're happy to put the spotlight on this unique form of music," said
Garth Ross, the Kennedy Center's Director of Programming for
Performing Arts for Everyone, "and to showcase its breadth and
diversity as witnessed by the many cultures and groups who will
perform on the Kennedy Center stages."

Bobby McFerrin is one of the natural wonders of the musical world. A
ten-time Grammy Award winner, he is one of today's best-known vocal
innovators and improvisers, as well as an acclaimed classical
conductor. On June 1 in the Concert Hall, McFerrin hosts "A World of
Voices," featuring Grammy-winning male vocal group Chanticleer;
Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Award-winning South African ensemble
Ladysmith Black Mambazo; the Grammy-winning female group Le Mystère
des Voix Bulgares, renowned for their Bulgarian folk songs; and La
Capilla Virreinal de la Nueva España, who perform music from Mexico's
colonial era.

Called "the world's reigning male chorus," by New Yorker magazine, San
Francisco-based Chanticleer has developed a remarkable reputation for
its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to
jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music. With its seamless
blend of twelve male voices, ranging from countertenor to bass, the
ensemble has earned international renown as "an orchestra of voices."

Ladysmith Black Mambazo represents the traditional culture of South
Africa and is regarded as the country's cultural emissary at home and
around the world. They became known to many here in the United States
through their collaboration with musician Paul Simon on his Graceland
album. Simon was captivated by the stirring sound of bass, alto, and
tenor harmonies and incorporated these traditional sounds into
Graceland, a project regarded by many as seminal to today's explosive
interest in World Music.

An ensemble of a rare artistic gift and enormous popular appeal, Le
Mystere des Voix Bulgares was created fifty years ago. Its goal was to
enrich the heritage of the Bulgarian solo folk song with harmonies and
arrangement that highlighted its beautiful timbres and irregular
rhythms. They transform sounds into strange vocal colors as if
something other than the human voice. They jubilate, shout, ornament,
form fast and perfect glissandos, let one crazy rhythm follow another.

Mexico's La Capilla Virreinal de la Nueva España, under the direction
of Aurelio Tello, offers both sacred and secular choral music from the
colonial era of the 17th and 18th centuries, from Spanish and
Portuguese composers as well as African-influenced works.

The gleaming voices of two acclaimed ensembles combine May 30 in the
Terrace Theater for a splendid concert of rich a cappella sound.
Norwegian female group Trio Mediæval returns to the Kennedy Center
with music from medieval Europe, along with several contemporary
works. Their distinctive, enchanting style is paired with the engaging
harmony of male choral ensemble Cantus, originally founded at
Minnesota's St. Olaf College. Their diverse repertoire explores
several eras and genres, from Renaissance motets to American folk.
This exciting event will include separate performances by each group,
as well as collaborative arrangements.

With a name meaning "little beans" in Italian, there's no doubt I
Fagiolini makes for a uniquely entertaining end to the Fortas season.
For more than 20 years, they've been one of Britain's most innovative
vocal ensembles, known for their bold approach to early music.
Graduates of Oxford University, the performers specialize in
Renaissance and Baroque as well as contemporary works. I Fagiolini's
self-described "music-theater"--staged presentations of pre-classical
secular masterpieces--is spirited and vibrant, while at the same time
historically informative. Don't miss all the fun and excitement these
extraordinary singers bring to their concert on May 31 in the Terrace
Theater.

Posted by acapnews at April 30, 2008 8:32 PM

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