August 27, 2013
I am the one who sings
With the start of the new college year there are auditions being held on campuses across the country for new singers for their collegiate a cappella groups. The best poster this season so far is this one from Stanford's Fleet Street Singers (I'm also a big Breaking Bad fan).
August 23, 2013
Ladysmith Black Mambazo refutes Mugabe invitation claims
SW Radio Africa:
It turns out globally respected South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, did not want any diamonds on the soles of their feet after all. State media reports on Thursday indicated that Ladysmith Black Mambazo had agreed to perform at President Robert Mugabe’s inauguration, but these reports turned out to be false.
A government website and various media outlets claimed that the all-male a capella ensemble would join other popular international artistes such Congolese rhumba musician Koffie Olomide, Jamaican reggae outfit Black Uhuru, and Ndilimani Cultural Troupe from Namibia, and local musicians at the event.
The report said: “Award winning South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo is expected in Zimbabwe today to join a galaxy of local and regional artistes who will entertain guests at President Mugabe’s inauguration at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.”
The report further quoted the director of urban communications in the Media, Information and Publicity Ministry, Major Anywhere Mutambudzi, who confirmed that the named groups would be entertaining Mugabe’s guests at the grand affair.
But in an emailed response to SW Radio Africa’s enquiry regarding the group’s participation at Mugabe’s ceremony, Ladysmith Black Mambazo expressed ignorance about the event.
“We are not participating in the event. We really don’t know why it was reported that we would. We were never contacted nor did we ever accept any invitation,” the group said.
Jethro Mpofu, a social and political commentator, said Ladysmith are not just known for their entertainment but also for their campaigns against injustice and it would have been shocking for them to endorse ZANU PF’s plea for legitimacy. Read more.
I heard from LBM to tell me that the Jimmy Fallon "Ladysmith Snack Mambazo" video I posted earlier did not in fact feature any real members of the ensemble. They appreciated the joke but felt peeved that nobody from the TV show contacted them in advance about the skit let alone offer them any compensation for imitating them in what was basically an ad for a junk food product. It was a funny bit but it seems a little tacky to me to not at least inform the ensemble as I'm sure most people thought is was the actual group singing the song.
August 19, 2013
Singing exercises may help control snoring
"Could singing stop snoring? Doctor says vocal exercises could be the key to a peaceful night's sleep," the Mail Online website reports after a study found that people who followed a daily exercise programme of singing saw improvements in their snoring.
The news is based on a trial comparing the effects of daily singing exercises with not singing in 127 people with a history of snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is a condition where a person's breathing is interrupted in their sleep. This prevents them from falling into a deep sleep, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness.
The study found that those who did the singing exercises for three months reported less daytime sleepiness and less frequent snoring than those who didn't. Read more.
The good news just keeps on coming.
August 16, 2013
Singing Changes Your Brain
When you sing, musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape. Group singing, for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. It takes something incredibly intimate, a sound that begins inside you, shares it with a roomful of people and it comes back as something even more thrilling: harmony. So it’s not surprising that group singing is on the rise. According to Chorus America, 32.5 million adults sing in choirs, up by almost 10 million over the past six years. Many people think of church music when you bring up group singing, but there are over 270,000 choruses across the country and they include gospel groups to show choirs like the ones depicted in Glee to strictly amateur groups like Choir! Choir! Choir! singing David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World.
As the popularity of group singing grows, science has been hard at work trying to explain why it has such a calming yet energizing effect on people. What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.
The elation may come from endorphins, a hormone released by singing, which is associated with feelings of pleasure. Or it might be from oxytocin, another hormone released during singing, which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why still more studies have found that singing lessens feelings of depression and loneliness. A very recent study even attempts to make the case that “music evolved as a tool of social living,” and that the pleasure that comes from singing together is our evolutionary reward for coming together cooperatively, instead of hiding alone, every cave-dweller for him or herself.
August 13, 2013
Marilyn King, Last of Singing Sisters’ Group, Dies at 82
New York Times
Marilyn King, the last surviving member of the singing King Sisters, whose performing career began in the early 1930s and continued into the 1980s, died on Wednesday in Laguna Niguel, Calif. She was 82.
The King Sisters started as a trio and at one point included six members, all but one actual sisters. For most of their career, though, they were a quartet. Ms. King, the youngest of the sisters, began singing with them when she was about 13, as an occasional substitute when another sister was unavailable. She became a full-time member in 1951.
Formed in 1931 — coincidentally, the year Ms. King was born — the King Sisters rose to fame in the Swing Era, performing with the bands of Horace Heidt, Artie Shaw and Alvino Rey, the husband of one of the sisters, Luise.
Their popularity declined in the 1950s, though their 1958 album, “Imagination,” was nominated for a Grammy Award. But they experienced a career renaissance in 1964 when they appeared with their extended families, more than 40 people in all, on an episode of the ABC variety show “The Hollywood Palace.” That led to a weekly series, “The King Family Show,” which ran for a year on ABC, and later to a series of specials.
One of the King Sisters’ last performances was at President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration, in 1985. Read more.
August 12, 2013
Ladysmith Snack Mambazo..
Do check out this very amusing new video of Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing an ode to Pringles with guest Jimmy Fallon.
Darmon Meader appointed to IU Jacobs School of Music vocal jazz faculty
PRESS RELEASE -The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is pleased to announce that Darmon Meader will join its faculty as adjunct lecturer in jazz studies and choral conducting this fall.
Meader -- recognized in both the vocal and instrumental jazz worlds -- has achieved global recognition as founder, musical director, chief arranger, composer, producer, saxophonist and vocalist with New York Voices.
He joins Steve Zegree, Pam and Jack Burks Professor of Music and director of the school's vocal jazz program, and Ly Wilder, visiting lecturer, on the vocal jazz faculty.
"I am thrilled that Darmon Meader is joining the Jacobs faculty," said Zegree. "Darmon is internationally recognized as a founding member of New York Voices and also as an accomplished composer, arranger, jazz saxophonist and virtuoso scat singer. The new vocal jazz major at Indiana University -- combined with the already storied instrumental jazz program -- offers our students extraordinary educational experiences and performance opportunities."
Wow what a superb faculty for the serious vocal jazz student.