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June 10, 2009

Cantus Does Covers

Minneapolis Star Tribune (MN):

After the success of last season's "Covers: A Pop Concert," it's not surprising that the male vocal ensemble Cantus would present "Covers II." This year's concert was every bit as much fun as last year's and, in one significant respect, represented a major improvement.

This was straightforward, no-gimmicks musicmaking. Once again, the classical ensemble easily adopted a pop sensibility and took pop ditties, from the B-52s' "Roam" to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," as seriously as any of the other music that they perform. But they demonstrated with "If" by Jon McLemore, a parody of a hillbilly country song, that they don't take themselves too seriously.

Whether performing Tears for Fears' "Mad World" or Alison Krauss' "Baby Now That I've Found You," they sang in the kind of close harmony arrangements that capture the soul of Cantus, while still honoring the originals. Giving Cat Stevens' "Wild World" a reggae twist was particularly nice. There were some repeats from last year that were good to hear again, including the spirited "Donde Estas, Yolanda?" and a version of "Unravel" that continues to out-Björk Björk.

But the group is most famous for its a cappella singing, and those arrangements provided some of the most satisfying moments of the evening, especially "Wanting Memories," by Sweet Honey and the Rock's Ysaye M. Barnwell. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at June 10, 2009 12:00 AM


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