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July 29, 2011

The Swingle Singers mix and mash

The Straight (Vancouver, Canada):

With more than 50 albums to their name, five Grammy awards, and a large base of die-hard fans spread around the world, something has been going very right for the Swingle Singers for a long time.

What accounts for the a cappella group’s extraordinary success over almost half a century? Put it down above all to impeccable professionalism and the enduring aim of keeping everything fresh, varied, and balanced. Some 80 artists have been members of the Swingle Singers since their formation in 1962, and the current eight-piece lineup has an equal number of male and female voices—two basses, two tenors, two altos, and two sopranos.

The music covers a vast spectrum, from classical and world to jazz, pop, and experimental rock. Not surprisingly, the repertoire is extensive, and divided into several programs. Classical Reinventions, the show the Swingle Singers are bringing to MusicFest Vancouver, includes such unlikely bedfellows as Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee”, Björk’s “Unravel”, and the traditional Turkish song “Gemiler Giresuna”.

The arrangements come from several sources. “Two or three members of the group work things out regularly for us. And we have friends from around the world who’ll arrange as well. Plus there’s a massive back catalogue of arrangements from the last 50 years of Swingle history that we can turn to, and often do.” Read more.

The Swingles will always be one of my favorite groups. Fifty years, still going strong and still fresh and innovative.

Posted by acapnews at July 29, 2011 12:00 AM

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