in Harmony: Successful
Women | Essays
| Female Groups
Recordings: All Titles | Sweet Adelines | Choral | Contemporary
There are very few female A Cappella/Vocal Percussion ensembles to speak
of, and 10fm is one that seems to be making headway in this very male
dominated genre. Most of the song titles are familiar, including arrangements
of Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move", Garbage's "Stupid Girl", Joan
Osborne's "Ladder", and The Bee Gee's "How Deep is Your Love". Very interesting
arrangements of these popular radio songs, coupled with heavy use of vocal
percussion, give this CD an original and distinctive zest. Overall, the
work is solid, but the highlight of the CD is "The Star Spangled Banner,"
where the harmonies and vocal talent of this quintet are truly demonstrated.
A Cappella-Go is three exceptional women with extensive musical backgrounds whose mission is to share the great music of the past with their audiences. The vocal talents of these three are highlighted on the 15 classic hits of "Way Out West." Some particular favorites are "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself A Letter," "Mr. Sandman," "Lullabye of Broadway" (dedicated to Esther Smith & the Rhythm Girls), "Sentimental Journey," "Down Among The Sheltering Palms," "Sing, Sing!/Let Yourself Go Medley," "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," "Lullabye of Birdland" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." These beautiful young women are real audience-pleasers who harmonize with spirit and panache on some of the great songs of all time.
Nashville's 2000 Sweet Adelines Convention saw appropriately-named A Cappella Gold named Queens of Harmony, and since then they've released "As Good As Gold," "Pure Gold" and now "Harmony Gone Wild" to prove how right the judges were! Included here are 13 songs, from beautifully-arranged old favorites like "Here's That Rainy Day," "These Foolish Things," "Glow Worm," "Something's Gotta Give," "Red River Valley" and "Row, Row, Rosie," to new songs we haven't heard like "Somethin' About Ya," "Why Haven't I Heard From You" and the funny live cut "Generic Uptempo Barbershop Song." Elton John's "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" is beautifully sung and arranged, as is the surprising jazz tune made famous by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, "Sermonette." The gals finish strong with a ringing Limelighters tune, "Harmony." Smiling on the cover dressed in Zebra-stripe overkill, ACG is not shy, and can belt, ring chords and harmonize with the best of them and have big fun doing it!
The pride of Champaign-Urbana, IL, premier lesbian/feminist chorus Amasong,
over 100 strong, brings us an exuberant collection of 21 folk songs, some
accompanied, from many different traditions. "Laulu's" smorgasbord of
cultures begins with Brazilian (the joyful "O Xote Das Meninas"), Chinese
(the love song "Kangding Qing Ge"), Estonian (the lilting "Tantsides"),
Afghani (the mourning dance song "Lailaw"), Scottish ("Gone the Boat"),
Finnish ("Taivas On Sininen" The Sky Is Blue), Quaker, Sephardic, Italian,
Provencal, Guadeloupe, Bulgarian, American Indian and others. Beautiful,
extensive liner notes with all lyrics. Amasong's third excellent CDã"Laulu"
is a sumptuous joy!
"Amai", the title of Amasong's second CD release, means "mother" and
"woman" from the Shona Language in Zimbabwe. Amasong is a 60 women b Premier
Lesbian/Feminist chorus from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Graced with traditional
arrangements from around the world, this CD is both enjoyable and educational.
Favorites include; "The Stove," a short and humorous Feminist composition,
Four Russian Peasant Songs by Igor Stravinsky, and "Cradle Song," an Amasong
original of prayer and inspiration. Intense emotion and sensitivity are
generated through dynamic movement and rhythmic expression. Having chosen
so many languages the degree of difficulty is incredible, yet these women
sing with ease. Their diction and sympathetic perception of the music
are right on the money, and their dedication is admirable.
It's 1943 and the war news on the radio isn't great, so you fiddle with the dial on the huge RCA Victor radio, and there are the Andrews Sisters, singing "I'm Getting Corns for My Country," a song about the painful joys of dancing at the USO. You chuckle and start tapping your feet, and think that a country that could produce a group like the plucky Sisters might win this war after all. "Now Is The Time" is a rare, 2-CD for the price of one collection of Andrews Sisters classics, many of which have not been heard since the end of the war. There are 23 songs, not in total but on each CD! Joining the Sisters are stars like Carmen Miranda on two Samba songs, Danny Kaye on three songs, Bing Crosby on two songs, Burl Ives, Nat King Cole, Dick Hayme, Ernest Tubb and Dan Dailey. All songs are swing band accompanied. Picking favorites isn't easy‚all the songs are hip, swinging, and funny and/or poignant: "The Turntable Song," "The Wedding Samba," "He Rides The Range For Republic," "Gimme Some Skin, My Friend," "Choo'n Gum," "Amelia Cordelia McHugh-McWho?" and "Big Brass Band from Brazil" with Danny Kaye, and "Too Fat Polka." Of course you've heard "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar" on all the other Andrews recordings, but have you heard "Bounce Me Brother With A Solid Four?" If you love the AS, swing music, American history or musical humor, this CD is for you!
Anonymous 4 is a unique vocal quartet specializing in the performance of medieval chant and polyphony. The group, which has been performing together since 1986, takes its name from the designation given by musicologists to an anonymous 13th-century Englishman who, as a student in Paris, wrote about the vocal polyphony then being performed at the Cathedral of Notre Dame
Anonymous 4 turns from the medieval repertoire to explore the roots of American sacred music. Developed in Toni Morrison¼s Atelier program at Princeton in spring 2003, American Angels includes songs of redemption and glory from the time of the American Revolution to the present day: 18th-century psalm settings from rural New England, 19th-century shape-note and camp revival songs from the rural South, and some of the nation¼s best-loved gospel songs. Drawing from collections including „The Southern Harmony,¾ and „The Sacred Harp,¾ - the album explores the beauty and power of early American sacred music and the relatively obscure form of a cappella choral singing known as Sacred Harp.
The Sanskrit word Akasa (pronounced A-ka-sha) means "Cavity of the Heart/Ether,
that which fills everything." Vicki, Mihi, Heidi and Melanie, the four
young women singers of this Melbourne-based group sing songs with an African
flavor and rhythms. Their debut CD won "Best World Folk Album" at the
2000 Contemporary A Cappella Awards in the U.S. They sing of the oneness
of all people on the planet, of never leaving your dreams behind, songs
of the pain of divorce, songs against rich developers, songs of the power
of people acting together, songs against slavery, songs of revolution-messages
of social change and activism. We hear various kinds of percussion on
these songs, played by the women themselves, but the emphasis is on the
rich voices of the singers and their message. There are 12 songs: "World
Citizen," "Eewoyi A," "Sweet Dreaming," "Power of the People," "Pin Ye
Bo," "Slave," "Human Zoo," "Divorced," "Drifting," "Singing The Land,"
Rere Ahu" and "Walk With Me." The liner notes are beautiful and include
all the lyrics. Moving, powerful, rhythmic music!
"Nani" is Armenian for "mother," and there are similar words in many
languages. In Yiddish it is "Nam"Ïwet nurse, in Hungarian "Neni"Ïolder
sister, in Russian "Njanja"Ïmum. "Dschann," from the original Persian,
is a term of endearment which can be attached to any name. For their second
CD, recorded in Berlin, the five German women singers of Aquabella looked
for songs in which women tell their stories. Women seething with jealousy,
women annoyed by midnight love serenades, women making fun of the village
priest, women crying to their children or lovers, women who simply want
to marry. The passion of Aquabella is filling these stories with life,
in carefully but pointedly thinning out the song's prototype in order
to enrich it with their own personal stories. These songs, most of them
old ones, are thus sung to the world as responses. There are 15 songs
here, all in languages like Russian, German, Armenian, Italian and Bulgarian,
as we see in the beautiful full-color liner booklet. The sound is hauntingly
beautiful and authentic; each song filled with spirit, feeling and passion!
The five beautiful young women who are Black Voices bring us a rich
and varied collection of traditional music ("The Lord's Prayer," "Amen,"
the spiritual "Steal Away," the Scottish folk song "Caledonia," and "In
The Upper Room"), Contemporary music (the powerful "I'm Goin' Stand,"
Stevie Wonder's "Love's in Need," C. Pemberton's "Living In a Real World,"
"Ayiya‚An African Feel," and "Blues Strands") and Reggae ("Reggae Medley"
of five songs. There is a lot of feeling and strength in this CD, in the
choice of the music and especially in the harmonies of the perfectly pitched
voices. There's some electric bass on "Blues Strands," otherwise all a
Connee (1907-1976), Martha (1908-1958) and Helvetia ("Vet") Boswell (1909-1988) constituted the most popular female vocal group before The Andrews Sisters, and created some of the most exciting recordings of the early 30s - still sounding amazing today. They enjoyed 20 hits before breaking up, when the remarkable, wheelchair-bound Connee continued a great solo career, influencing a generation of singers such as Ella Fitzgerald. But as a trio, the Sisters were never matched. Shout, Sister, Shout! was their signature tune, and now the title of a 25-track selection of their very best recordings. 11 of them were major hits, including their first success, the incredible "When I Take My Sugar To Tea", and "Dinah", "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter", "Roll On Mississippi Roll On", "Rock And Roll", "It's The Girl" and the chart-topping "The Object Of My Affection" - each one a tour de force. The Sisters' jazz flair was invariably enhanced by the accompaniment of some of the top musicians in jazz, and fine solos by such as Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman, Manny Klein, Artie Shaw and Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang all add to the enjoyment.
We've been transported back into 1930, and turning on one of those beautiful old radios, we hear a live Boswell Sisters' program, sometimes with actual static, and a hopelessly straight-laced announcer. These are 1930-35 original broadcast transcriptions, tracks that have never been released in any form, of popular Southern girl group the Boswells, the most original trio of their time. This is pretty racy stuff, especially for its time ("If you see me necking somebody new, I'm in training for you!"‚from "I'm in Training For You." 25 live, authentic gems, all at least lightly piano-accompanied, some with full orchestra, (Glenn Miller's and Tommy Dorsey's): "Does My Baby Love?," "Gee, But I'd Love to Make You Happy," "Rarin' To Go," "There's Wah-Wah Girl in Agua Caliente," "My Mad Moment," "I Thank You, Mr. Moon," "Me Minus You," "Puttin' It On"äThis was the jazz age, time of the scandalous, liberated flapper, and the harmonizing Boswells celebrated this new freedom to the max. This CD is a recommended joy!
Bulgaria is a musical empire of ancient times. This unknown style of
female vocal singing is finally receiving the recognition it deserves
after years of isolation. Demonstrating mastery in advanced harmony and
developed breath control, these women will amaze you with tonality and
resonance that suggests a deeper look into the oppression and humanity
of this mystical land of the Rhodope Mountains. "There is a clarion purity
to their singing which continues to express timeless sentiments of the
human condition." Created by contemporary classic composers the music
is rich with traditional melodies yet complex in harmony and texture,
using the distinctive vocal timbres and techniques indigenous to Bulgaria.
This is a fascinating introduction to a musical legacy.
The Janes take a collection of songs that Thirty-Something Girls Like-"I
Can't Make You Love Me," "Woodstock" and "Like A Prayer"
are just several, but they're all good-begin with carefully constructed
arrangements and pour their seven voices in a thick layer over the top.
Sometimes "all-girl" groups can lack ballast on the bottom end,
but Calamity Jane-as their name implies-gets the job done, relying on
a foundation of dense block chords and ground bass figures. These gals
aren't striving for a delicate, girly sound, but demonstrate that they
can more than hold their own in the male-dominated world of contemporary
Most popular in the 50s, the de Castros began a decade earlier as a Latin act, which they virtually dropped when they were signed by the otherwise hillbilly-oriented Abbott label. Besides 31 (big band accompanied) period hits, "Teach Me" includes a thick photo album with the history of these 3 Cuban rich girls who shared an amazing musical career stretching from the 1940s to the present day (at least as of 1999, when the CD was released), from Miami to Hollywood to New York City. Sneaking off from their gig at Miami's Clover Club to sing (and record) with Tito Puente's band, being invited to Hollywood by Walt Disney to sing background vocals on "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah"ãit's an amazing musical story. The title tune was on the flip side of the supposed-to-be hit "It's Love." A Cleveland disc jockey turned it over, played it and got bags of mail. The "suggestive" tune became the Sisters' biggest hit. Novelty and pop tunes like "Boom Boom Boomerang," "Cuckoo In The Clock," "Rockin' and Rollin' In Hawaii," "Cowboys Don't Cry," "Don't Call Me Sweetie," "Old Timer's Tune" the upbeat "Biddle-Dee Bop" and "You Take Of Me (I'll Take Care of You;" torch songs like "No One to Blame But You," "Give Me Time," "If I Ever Fall In Love," "It's Yours," and the country tune "That Little Word Called Love"‚we've never heard most of these songs, but we like them. They are as full of energy, spirit and innocence as the 1950s, and the improbable de Castro Sisters!
As this is another two-LPs for the price of one CD, we can hear you say, "Let me guess, they'll love this one too." Bingo! The Chordettes, who we think of as the first great Sweet Adelines group, pioneered women's barbershop singing when there was no such thing, and they did it with class, professionalism and style. "Harmony Encores" was released by Columbia in 1952, and "Sing Your Requests" in 1954, and they contain 23 classics of harmony and arrangement. While finding the original LPs in any kind of condition to play is unlikely, here you get the original master recordings on a CD with pictures of the four women, the original album covers and the original liner notes. From the opening cut, "Carolina Moon," to "Drifting and Dreaming," "Kentucky Babe," "The Anniversary Waltz," "Wait 'Til the Sun Shines, Nellie," "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," "Hello! Ma Baby" and the final cut "Darkness On The Delta," this is Entertainment!
The five young women singers who call themselves Coco's Lunch have got
rhythm, they've got music, and they've got that swing (the kind that it
don't mean a thing if you ain't got it)! For the five years they've been
together they've built a reputation as one of Australia's most outstanding
and innovative a cappella groups. They weave earthy songs with driving
(non-vocal) percussion (and there is your odd flute passage), drawing
on the sounds of the world in a distinctly Australian way. "Dressed" is
Coco's third CD, following "Invisible Rhythm" and "Wally Wombat Shuffle."
The Songs (all written and/or composed by group members) are: "Shine,"
"Thulele Mama Ya," "Nature's Vanishing Points," "All The Wild Wonders,"
"A Whole New Way," "Fly Away," "Shifting Time," "Sleepless," "Night Reserviert,"
"Unity" and "Sister My Sister." The words, all included on the nice-looking
liner notes, are moving poems of freedom, love and wildness. "Dressed"
is a fun, refreshing, toe-tapper of a CD that satisfies on many levels!
An eleven member women's ensemble hailing from the Boston area who met
while singing in college, the group could be loosely classified as contemporary,
but also sing classic pop ("Walk on By") and jazz standards ("Satin Doll"
and "Night and Day"). Several of their songs were arranged by Deke Sharon,
including "Time and Tide," and "Passionate Kisses." A variety of members
take turns on lead, and are consistently and solidly supported by this
sorority of voices.
Born of conviction, an indictment of repression and discrimination, and a celebration of female energy and power, „American Tyranny¾ is unambiguous in its message and intent. Musically, it is best described as modern chant; fundamental harmonic intervals, unembellished arrangements and monophonic textures dominate, created from gut-level emotion that could be termed instinctual. „Euphemism¾ is a rejection of the dominant white-male paradigm, „Ay Yi¾ a primal lament. Produced by June Millington, the guitarist of the pioneering women's rock group Fanny.
We have personally enjoyed hearing the three beautiful young women who
call themselves Copper Wimmin live at the Bay Area Harmony Sweeps Regionals
and West Coast A Cappella Summits. The titles of their powerful, feminist,
poetic, beautifully-sung songs are: "Actual Tongue," "Show Us," "Ballad
Of The Lonely," "Caboose," "Onje," "Iris," "Candra," "Fish," "Caveman,"
"Bottle," "Not Silenced" and "Nothing Wrong." The imagery is b and thought-provoking,
as in this line from "Bottle:" "I'm the bottle that everybody shakes,
But I never, I never break..." One warningÏand this is a first for us,
although it's very tastefully done, there is partial nudity on the cover
and in all the photos of the group inside the beautiful liner notes. The
pure, soaring vocals blend perfectly, adding weight and feeling to what
is being sung. "Etheric" is a work of art on many levels!
Dilemma's logo on the front of this CD has a halo over the "d" and the
"a" at the end finishes in a devil's pointed tail. And the picture of
the group, Rahela Abbas, Christine Chang, Denise Shepherd, Suzanna Smith
and Tracey Van Hooser, portrays the five women looking at us in a "What
are you looking at" kind of way. Dilemma, who we enjoyed at last year's
Harmony Sweepstakes Bay Area Regional, have come into their power! 13
songs, of which two, "Wishing" and "Crucial" are originals: The Temptations'
"Can't Get Next to You," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," Donna Summer's
kick-ass "Hot Stuff," "It Hurt So Bad," "Song for a Winter's Night," "I'm
Beginning to See the Light," "The Sweetest Thing" (Tell Him), "That I
Would Be Good," "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," "Don't Leave Me This Way"
and "We'll Be Together." Very b vocal percussion keeps Dilemma's sound
cooking, and allows the voices to go off of the melody and play. b arrangements
and affirmative song selection, and a willingness to let go and take chances
all add up to a breakthrough CD. But angels or devils? A little taste
This much-acclaimed women's classical choir from Vancouver, British
Columbia, performs a diverse, frequently modern, repertoire drawn from
many cultures world over. The ethereal "Hosanna," combines a concise traditional
text with a repetitive theme and mixed meter; "The Snow," by the Romantic
English composer Edward Elgar, is accompanied by two violins and piano,
a delicately melodic, tonally-centered work in sonata form. "The Seeds
Of Love," begins with a jazzy, engaging piano intro, alternating with
a cappella choir, gradually becoming homophonic in texture; a "jazz/classical"
fusion that is undeniably moving. Several Finnish composers, an Estonian,
and Canadian composer Stephen Hatfield's interpretation of seven South
African freedom songs, "African Celebration," round out this eclectic
and adventurous recording.
The name of this New Hampshire women's septet literally translates 'woman,
my friend.' From soaring harmonies to full voiced choral arrangements,
they choose to share a woman's view of the world. The diversity of material
is wonderful. Of the original songs, our favorite is "Sea Glass"
which is a glorious piece of music and a marvelous metaphorical view of
the possibilities of life. In feel, it is a modern classical composition.
You will find a madrigal ("Amaryllis' Lament) about menopause! It's
hysterical. A couple of Linda Hirschorn's rounds are presented. One of
our favorite songs of hope was written by Fred Small, "Everything
Possible," It is treated with a simple elegance. A wider cultural
excursion into the world of the spirit is the arrangement of the traditional
Sanskrit chant, "Om Namo Bagavatae" which is sung in a harmonic
complexity of unsurpassed beauty. Live free or die!
The Girls Next Door have been charming the boys at the University of
Illinois since 1971. Orange and blue, south farms and cornfields too,
it is impossible not to like pretty singing girls from the heart of the
midwest. Right, guys? Most arranging is done within the group and has
been a GND criterion for 30 years, keeping Jazz and Contemporary selections
the main focus. Forget Madonna, The GND version of "Beautiful Stranger"
blows the blonde away. Joni Mitchell is hard to compete with, but if you
are going to cover her songs then you better do it well: "River" is as
flowing and beautiful as the original recording. Sarah McLachlan is very
popular these days so she must be "Good Enough." "Ain't Misbehavin',"
"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and "Java Jive" are essential in proving
the malleability of the GND style 8 stunning voices singing 18 great songs;
The Girls Next Door only want you to have fun and undoubtedly will give
you "Something To Talk About". These larks are an ILLINI Legend.
"Diva-licious" is Harmonytryx' (Har-mo-NEE-trix) apt word to describe
themselves. We would call these six beautiful women from New York a breath
of fresh air, and they are causing a major buzz in the a cappella world!
Self-managed and independent, these six women entertain audiences with
an eclectic mix of pop, folk and world music that ranges from sexy and
provocative to soulful and spiritual. Their unique combination of tightly-crafted
vocal harmonies, powerful solos, funky vocal percussion and lively humor
has captivated audiences throughout the NYC metropolitan area and beyond.
There are 11 tunes here, "Ladies' Night," "O Sifuni Mungu," "His Mother's
Legacy," "Sunday Morning, Yellow Sky," "Train in Vain" (featuring vocal
percussion by Wes Carroll of the House Jacks), "Fear from Paradise," "Another
Train," "For Each Day," "Homeless," "Testosterone" and "Freedom." Every
song is beautifully crafted and performed with spirit and panache. We're
not surprised to see on their website that they've been opening for Rockapella.
"Fine whine" is a huge first CD and Harmonytrix is going places!
Forself-effacing mockery, also hails from that fine English folk tradition
that Artisan represents (though Hen Party borrows a tune or two from its
upstart colonialist cousins). Uncomplicated technically, the simple changes
and diatonic melodies of folk tunes are also some of the prettiest, and
are easy to harmonize. Songs such as "Normandy Orchards" and "The L &
N Don't Stop Here Anymore" offer comfort during hard times, or may be
the only form of protest available to the working-class; as such, their
strength can be more visceral than more supposedly cultured forms.
"Inkululeko," a Xhosa word meaning freedom and redemption,
is a fitting moniker for this five-piece female quintet from Austin, Texas.
Three Xhosa (Xhosa is one of the traditional South African languages),
as well as Afro-Cuban and Eastern European folk songs, comprise this world-music
mosaic. The repetition of vocalized syllables, and the character of the
native languages to the Western ear, create a meditative quality that
feels as natural as the rhythm of the ocean. Indeed, these songs do transcend
time: the polyrhythms and simple, honest melodies are a musical accompaniment
to the struggles of civilizations throughout the ages.
"Iris" are five women from Colorado, who perform a mixture of original
and traditional material in the contemporary folk vein. The nature of
existence, ephemeral yet everlasting, is the subject of the first cut,
"All Things Are Connected"; the repetitive refrain drives the message
home. The urgency of the bass motif fuels "Sweet Guru Child," the unison
harmony of "Calling Me Open," (an original) gently flavors the melody
with an honest sobriety of centuries past. Several tracks have subtle
percussion, some of it vocal, adding energy and momentum. Iris' sound
is tight and tuneful, and their songwriting and repertoire is eclectic
without becoming obscure.
The New York City-based Johnson Girls are five talented women who sing
authentic, a cappella sea chanteys and maritime songs. Lead-singing leads
are shared fairly evenly among the five, who particularly enjoy singing
this very blue-collar music live, encouraging audience participation.
19 authentic, spirited tunes, some favorites: "Round the Corn," "Dixie
Land," "A Wife in Every Port," "Married to a Trawlerman," "Drink to the
Laddies," "Fire Maringo," "Tailor in the Tea Chest," "Working at the Coalface,"
"Gaol Song," "Mike," "White Wings" and "Mariner's Hymn." These are powerful
songs of love, betrayal and heartbreak, of hard work and trouble, rhythmic
songs to sing while rowing a ship's boat, raising the anchor, or hauling
a canvas sail up to the yardarm. Nicely done liner notes with interesting
info about each of the songs. We noticed that the Johnson Girls are all
brunettes, and on the cover of "On the Rocks" sit 5 brunette mermaids
with their backs to us, singing out to a passing clipper ship, but this
is almost certainly a coincidence!
Only 15 months old as a group, Key of She's six women singers are anything
but shy about jumping into the a cappella scene! "Our First Time" is their
self-produced debut, limited-run CD, and if it lacks at all in studio
polish, it more than makes it up in spirit and the group's sheer love
of singing a cappella together. Recorded in January, 2002 in Sue's Studio,Skillman,
New Jersey, this CD is one of the things we most enjoy about a cappella--the
fact that Patty, Lisa, Pat, Sue, Dyann & Amy can practice and put a repertoire
together, do some gigs, create some fans who ask for a CD to take home,
rent some studio time, and produce a very special, beautifully arranged
group of songs. Included are Van Morrison's "Moondance," Cole Porter's
"I've Got You Under My Skin," Shania Twain's "Honey, I'm Home,"Leon Russell's
"This Masquerade," the very funny feminist hymn "Ah! Men,"Sara McLachlan's
"Angel," Jonathan Larson's "Seasons of Love," "I Feel Lucky" and "Wide
Open Spaces." This is a fun CD, especially for everyone who has ever dreamed
of doing exactly what Key of She has done here!
This recording showcases material ranging from rousing Slavic folk carols and lush, meditative Eastern Orthodox sacred choral works, to pre-Christian incantations for the longest nights of the year and Hebrew folk songs for Chanukah. Highlights include Tec Peleite Zernju Zogtu, an ancient Latgalian (Eastern Latvian) Winter Solstice song invoking the god of the heavens and the goddess of the Sun; Koledni Pesni, a medley of Bulgarian folk carols recalling the nativity sung in the traditional antiphonal village style; and Byla Cesta, a poignant 19th-century Moravian carol. Other pieces include the sublime 12th-century Georgian hymn to the Virgin Shen Khar Venakhi; and a collection of joyful Shchedrivki, songs sung for the traditional Ukrainian New Year festival of Malanka. Wintersongs was recorded in the world-famous acoustic environment of the Skywalker Studios in Marin County by Leslie Ann Jones, and was produced by Grammy-nominated Bay Area vocalist and band leader Linda Tillery.
The remarkable women of Kitka-eight in number-perform Eastern European
songs (occasionally accompanied by folk harp, lute and hand percussion)
of unusual beauty. Though sung in their native languages (the subject
matter is explained in the text) the fundamental essence of emotion is
as immediate as the earth itself. The Russian "Na Gore, Na Gorinke"
is placid and serene, the Bulgarian "Malo Selo," with it's plunging
vocal descent, an alarm to the senses. Some, such as "Shto Mi E Milo,"
are derived from folk dances. A variety of textures and intervals (the
use of drone notes on "Szerelem, Szerelem" for example) add
1992 recording from this powerful, San Francisco Bay-Area based, ten-voice
women's group. Founded in 1979, their material is derived from the Eastern
European folk tradition, and is both aesthetically pure and emotionally
wrenching. With exquisite control and flawless skill, Kitka imbues these
frequently somber-sounding compositions with passion, realism and humanity.
"Bratets Kosi," (Croatia) is a vital outburst, "Haydutin Stuyan," (Bulgaria)
ascends to the tri-tone to establish its tragic theme. A solo period instrument
minimally accompanies four tracks. With explanations in English of the
native texts, these songs offer a unique glimpse into another world.
Laurel was a founding member of the Manhattan Transfer, singing with
them until 1978. "Feather and Bone" is nothing like the four-part harmony
style that the Manhattan Transfer popularized, but is rather more similar
to Bobby McFerrin in his "Circle Songs" period, if comparisons must be
made. Traditionals, vocal interpretations of Bach's cello suites, spirituals
(including "Mother, It Is Night," sung with Dr Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet
Honey), are arranged and sung with the utmost simplicity and grace. Fiddle,
bagpipes and frame drums guest on some tracks, augmenting the mood. Mostly
solo voice, "Feather and Bone" embraces the earth's vitality in a way
best described as meditative. This is a very special recording that grows
in intensity with each listening
This recording is the third in a trilogy which began with "A Circle
is Cast" and "Fire Within." For the selections music was sought which
reflects the cyclical nature of existence and which would soothingly resonate
with the totality of existence. Themes of life, death, renewal and the
connection which is the underlying theme of existence, love, are presented
here in sixteen songs from the far and near corners of the world. The
common thread which ties all these together is the peaceful effect of
the songs all of which seem to have a circular quality. Libana has been
singing these songs in moments of passage and times of transition for
people from coast to coast, sharing grace, peace, and beauty in those
moments of significance in other's lives. All the while this sharing is
their own exploration into the divine mysteries within which our existence
is rooted. So come and share with them the words of Rumi set to music,
along side of which you'll find music from South Africa (Xhosa), Jewish
traditions, American Shakers, Sweden, Sicily, West Africa (Yoruba), and
a bevy of individuals who are inspired to craft music of peace. Some of
the songs have a touch of instrumentation to enhance the feel sought by
the musicians. The theme for the recording which Susan Robbins chose to
grace the notes comes from Rumi. "...Whatever circles comes from the center."
Libana was formed by twenty-five women in 1979 to investigate and perform
cross-cultural music written for, by, and about women. By the release
of this album in 1986, there were a dozen performing members under the
artistic direction of Susan Robbins. A Circle Is Cast exemplifies the
joyous spirit of singing in a community. The material is drawn from African,
Israeli, European Renaissance, Native American and contemporary folk sources
to create a collection of twenty-two rounds, chants and songs. It is a
beautiful recording which engenders a feeling of peace and a meditative
internal quiet, reflective of the seasons and cycles. It shares a sense
of ritual and continuance which are vital for dynamic community. Besides,
"Sisters, Now Our Meeting Is Over" gives one a thrill of exquisite
Fire Within is a collection of 18 songs, chants and rounds with origins
which span seven centuries and come from many cultures. The unifying spirit
of such a collection is the reverence and respect for Earth's elemental
power and sensual beauty. It is truly no exaggeration to use the description
of the vocal qualities of the eleven women as crystalline and hauntingly
beautiful. If you open your heart to their music, we guarantee the literal
phenomena of thrills moving up the spine. Your spiritual tour will begin
with a new round by Marytha Paffrath, "Fire Within." "Hotaru
Koi" is a traditional Japanese piece of music in which the voices
float and dance as lightly as the firefly whom they address. Wonderful!
We haven't time to do descriptive justice to equally wonderful songs from
Renaissance Spain, Hawaiian traditions, Native American, 14th century
Spain, Sweden, Shaker, Jewish, Kenya and all those written by the members
of this excellent group. You will have to do that for yourself!
Those familiar with the history of the Malle Babbe Women's Choir know
that the ensemble was formed in a Japanese internment camp during World
War II, as dramatized in the movie, "Paradise Road." Now directed by Leny
Van Schaik, this "voice-orchestra" performs various classical
compositions (over seventy-three minutes of material) dedicated to holiday
and religious subjects appropriate to the season, in tribute to the original
Malle Babbe Choir. The Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus are celebrated in four
versions of "Ave Maria," as written by Holst, Arcadelt, von
Bruck and Kodaly, as well as several other hymns. Christmas traditionals
such as the Austrian "Yodeler Prayer" add variety, as do several
Gaillardes (music written in triple meter for recorder, intended for dancing).
Familiar carols represented include "I Saw Three Ships," which
has a rolling rhythm that propels the listener like oars in water; "Silent
Night, " with two different arrangements, both by John Rutter, and
the recording's finale, a Christmas medley replicated from the original
version by the Malle Babbe Choir, transcribed from memory while imprisoned.
"Sing, Choirs of Angels" is an apt title for this recording,
as indeed the graceful delivery and clear high registers of this women's
choir are eminently suitable to convey just such an impression. As the
spires of a church ascending toward the heavens, their voices rejoice
in the glory of life and of the Creator.
Great movies about classical music seldom fail to fascinate -- witness
the success of Shine, Immortal Beloved, The Piano. Each of these acclaimed
films featured an engaging soundtrack, as does the newest addition to
this prestigious category of films: Paradise Road. In this film, directed
by Academy Award? winner Bruce Beresford and starring Academy Award? winner
Glenn Close, an all-star cast tells the true story of an amazing group
of Australian, English, and Dutch women, prisoners-of-war held captive
by the Japanese during World War II. To keep up their spirits, these women
form a choir and perform a capella arrangements of popular classical orchestral
and piano masterpieces during their captivity. The voices behind the on-screen
choir that appear on this remarkable album belong to the Dutch women's
choir Malle Babbe, who perform the actual arrangements of the original
choir's arrangements from sheet music salvaged by the women prisoners
upon their liberation. Hear for yourself the inspiring music behind this
story of the triumph over despair and the preservation of hope.
Manitoba, Canada-based 6-woman World/Folk group Madrigaia's repertoire
reflects their love for the many cultures of the world while giving special
attention to their French-Canadian roots. On "Viva Voce" they sing wonderful
versions of ancient and modern folk songs in French, Spanish, Hungarian,
Yugoslavian, Mic mac, Croatian, Hebrew, Yiddish, and more, both a cappella
and lightly accompanied by bass, viola, drums and percussion. Some favorites:
"Niska Banja," "Odi, odi," "Vus vet zayn," "En filant ma quenouille,"
"Vichten" and "Grain de mil." A fresh, spirited sound from the north country!
By 1959, Miriam Makeba was a star in her homeland of South Africa for her singing, first with the Manhattan Brothers, her own group, the Skylarks, who sang a mix of jazz and folk music, touring the country with Alf Herbert's African Jazz & Variety show and finally as the lead in a jazz opera, King Kong. At the height of her popularity she went to Europe and met Harry Belafonte who convinced her to come to the U.S. In New York she played the big venues of the folk scare era and became nationally known after her appearances on the Steve Allen show. She had two huge hits, "The Click Song" and "Pata Pata." Always a woman of conscience she testified before the U.N. about apartheid and was banned from her homeland for more than thirty years. Sangoma is a tribute to her mother who was a traditional mystical healer, a sangoma. On this beautiful recording, each song was created by multi-tracking Miriam's voice to create a choir and then adding touches of percussion, additional vocalists, and occasionally keyboards. The results are an audio experience of the spirit of Africa.
Four lovely Canadian women with roots in Africa and Mexico form Malaika,
an upbeat, reggae/bluesy World group. This is a live CD, and the songs
include: "Zeze," "Georgia Come Home," "Home To Mexico," "Survival," "Always,"
the tongue-in-cheek "I Should Have Been David Duchovny's Bride," "Pilipili,"
"Beautiful Girl," "Who Is Safe," "Family Matters," the "Sound of Music"
song that was never written, "In Vienna," "To Paradise" ("Show me the
way to Paradise, Escape the games, run from the lies"), a stunning arrangement
of "All In The Game," and "Come Home Someday" ("Maybe I'd open up my patio
door to a beach scene that's never been found"). This is honest music,
blue-collar, in survival, coping with aging, no movie happy ending, but
we can still dream on, laugh and celebrate life, music. We can relate,
and judging by the audience response, so can everyone who hears Malaika.
A breath of real, tropical, fresh air from Canada!
Purported, by the Schmaries themselves, to be the last hurrah after a
nine year lifespan, "Hidden Agenda Items" careens into infinity with brash
outrageousness. Originals, such as "Ecclesiasticus 31:1" and "Bug Girl,"
are stars in their own unique musical galaxy, one that perhaps hasn't
been identified yet! With zest and humor ("Classic Rock/La Cucaracha"),
they fuse elements of the blues, world, and plainchant; the Bobs come
to mind as their spiritual counterparts. By the way, did we mention that
the Schmaries are women (two basses, two altos/sopranos), but discard
previously held notions about "girl a cappella groups"; they don't apply
here. "Hidden Agenda Items" is a fiery ascent into the outer limits!.
Four incredibly smart women have combined their musical abilities to
write and create some of the cleverest, thought provoking, and humorous
tunes available. For humor, check out "I Put You There" and
"Little Fish." The politically inspired, classical sounding
"Uterus" is a no nonsense getoutofmyface tune. All in all the
thought provoking reflections are leavened by a collective intellect seldom
encountered in in a field so frequently thought of as "merely entertainment."
If you are willing to be harmonized into thinking differently than you
do now, this is for you!
This is chant with a modern twist! Twelve alluring women, dressed in
medieval garb, singing songs adapted from the Middle Ages. Some of the
songs, such as the French dance tune "Ah Si Mon Moine," are lightly accompanied
by period-appropriate instrumentation such as recorder or dulcimer. The
title track, "Salvo Virgo Virginum," "Veni, Veni" and "Verbum Caro" are
sung in Latin; several songs are sung in what must be construed to be
Middle English. "The Coventry Carol" and "Gaudete" are familiar holiday
songs to most; they are given simple treatment, as was typical of the
music of the era, which was defined by monophonic textures or unadorned
counterpoint. Much of the music performed was either religious in nature,
and sung as part of the Catholic Mass, or, if secular, was an accompaniment
for dancing. "Salva Nos" may be a classical recording, and as such it
is entirely respectable, but the "Mediaeval Babes" have a vitality that
is thoroughly contemporary.
Six women became instant international celebrities (rather than just
British) when Spike Lee chose them to participate on his television special
of a cappella groups in 1990. Among their tunes was "Higher and Higher,"
and theirs has become the styling and phrasing copied by almost everyone
since. Round Our way is a fine live recording of these singers doing that
well known song as well as another from that special, "Don't Let
Your Heart." Among the 14 tunes are "Baby, Baby," "I
Want To Live Easy" and "Hey Girl" in addition to the title
track, "Round Our Way."
'Ritual' is an unusual recording for the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir. For one thing, two male guest artists make appearances on two of the songs and a measure of instrumentation on half a dozen tunes includes one instrumental (gasp!). It's a wonderful dance tune which only enhances the feel of the recording dealing mostly with tunes meant for St. Lazar's Day and also Christmas carols. This recording (1994) is the first studio album since the group's two Le Mystere anthologies of the late 1980's. The tradition established by Philip Koutev in the 1950's of applying the compositional methods of concert practice to folk material is still the origin of the famous sound of this choir, now directed by Dora Hristova. Another fascinating aside on this recording is the group singing "A Jewish Triptych (Sephardic)" composed and arranged by Nikolai Kaufmann. This is glorious music that anyone literate in world music should know.
The CARA Award winning "No Place For Jennifer" (1997, "Tell
My Feet") are back with their 1998 release, "Witness."
Including three originals (written by Lizzie Kean, who is also the group's
arranger), these five Dutch women have assembled a dense patchwork of
parts into an aural quilt that is unmistakeably their own. Weaving in
and out of challenging intervals and unexpected chords, tailored with
an intricacy that requires repeated listening to appreciate fully, "She's
Leaving Home," (Lennon/McCartney) is worth special mention. Other
tracks include "You Learn," "At Seventeen" and "Constant
The Dutch "No Place For Jennifer" have produced an idiosyncratic
CD to accompany the theatre production of the same name: "Welcome
to the Game." These are five b females who tell it like it is, without
stridency, but with a welcome sense of truth. Songs like "Blood and
Gold," with its depiction of war, and "Another Suitcase In The
Hall," ("I don't expect my love affairs to last" is the
opening line) display a maturity not often encountered. The sound is eclectic;
consonant one moment, dissonant the next; melodies slippery, even demanding.
A depthful and intense recording.
"Carry On" is an impressive, generous CD from four very talented women, Colleen, Krisann, Barb and Joanne. They do Doo-Wop and Soul tunes "Treat Her Like A Lady," "You've Been In Love Too Long," "Yes We Can Can"), Gospel (the spiritual "Walkin' in Jerusalem," the upbeat "Angels" "Light At The End Of The Tunnel,"), Folk/Traditional (the jazzy 1920s British pop tune "Seaside Rendezvous " and the sweet traditional "That Lonesome Road" ), Country ("V.F.D."), Latin/Salsa (the silly "Oreo" and "South Of The Border,"), World ("Hate Kills," "Breaths" and "Yakkity Yak,") Swing ("Call Me"), and Contemporary ("Remember That," "Let's Pretend"). There's some non-vocal percussion (doumbek) and a little kazoo. Our attempts to find our more about them on the web and liner notes came up empty, but we do know that they've been together for about 10 years, they share a strong, positive feminist viewpoint, a great sense of humor, and they sing together with strength and spirit. Good stuff!
Pastiche is Sandy Cressman, Jenny Meltzer and Becky West, attractive,
versatile singers with their roots in jazz, but who incorporate Brazilian
and Afro-Cuban rhythms as well as pop and R&B influences in their music.
Fair warning: Pastiche, which means "a combination of many styles and
influences making up a single work of art," is accompanied throughout
by a very fine jazz orchestra. That said, the trio's vocal harmonies are
brilliant, and each song, from song 1, "Don't Lose Your Cool" to song
11, "When The Night," are showcases for that brilliance. A smooth, smoky,
moody work of art!
The sound of wind and water, the Sierra Nevada mountain rangeãlate PWC artistic director Patricia Farris Hennings had a love for these things, and envisioned producing a CD of 20th century music that would transport the listener and inspire the soul. That CD is Earthtones, a musical journey through both nature and spirituality. Opening with Libby Larsen's soaring "Psalm 121," commissioned by the Palo Alto, CA-based PWC, Gwyneth Walker's "I Thank You God," Hildegar von Bingen's beautiful "O viridissima virga," Ramona Luengen's joyous "Celebremus," H. Garrett Phillips' dramatic "Odysseus and the Sirens," Lojze Lebic's rhythmic "Urok," the fast-moving "Mouth Music," the traditional South African song "Nginani Na," and the lovely folk song "Shenandoah." 13 songs, some with light accompaniment and percussion. The PWC is one of our favorite women's choruses, and the perfectly recorded "Earthtones" is a wonderful tribute to their beloved director from 1975 to her passing in 2001.
Bernie Johnson Reagon should be declared a National Treasure. Since
the days of the Civil Rights Movement there has been no voice so b in
musically exhorting freedom, justice and equality. Bernice was contacted
in 1975 about recording some of her songs for a new record company, Paredon
Records, which was formed to create recordings by singers involved in
freedom struggles around the world. Give Your Hands To Struggle was the
first recording on which she had used multi-tracking. She found, when
she reviewed the original master tapes from Paredon which had been archived
at the Smithsonian, that they were cut versions of her original recordings.
As her desire was to have the original full length songs presented, she
reconstructed them for this reissue CD. This a window on the soul of the
Civil Rights Movement by the founder of Sweet Honey In The Rock.
There is an ancient mythology sung by the followers of Orpheus which
has been preserved as folk song in the Rhodope mountains of Bulgaria.
These are the sort of songs which have been given a concert hall exposure
by the Bulgarian Women's Choir. The Rhodopea Kaba Trio are the musical
living treasury of these ancient songs. The Kaba portion of their name
refers to the fact that they are singing in a low register which corresponds
to the sound of the kaba bagpipe, a favorite instrument in the Rhodope
mountain area.You will hear not only a fascinating style of singing which
begins with a monophonic melody and splits into three polyphonic planes
but also, on four of the twenty-one songs, you will hear Ivelina Balcheva,
a jazz singer, take off into her own improvisational embellishments of
ancient tradition. We bly suggest this recording to those who love the
songs of Bulgarian women.
The Roches are three sisters who have a folk-contemporary sound. Many of the twenty four carols on this festive and cheerful recording are accompanied by guitar and/or keyboards and percussion, though some are practically a cappella, such as "Sleigh Ride." The sisters evoke the spirit of a family holiday, gathered around the piano, the fire crackling nearby: favorite songs, simple harmonies and the spirit of togetherness (though sung with better intonation than most family gatherings we've attended!) This has been a consistently popular recording and is a nice alternative to the traditional choral or jazz arrangements one typically hears at Christmas time.
Four vivacious young Frenchwomen, including the acclaimed Evelyn Girardon,
interpret songs from the traditional repertoire with the spirit of today.
These 21 musical "petit fours" are a delight, and everything about this
recording, from the art to the production, is rendered with care and attention.
Though sung in French, the four imbue their performances with such conviction
that the emotion is clearly sensed. Placing their notes with the utmost
mastery of pitch, they can be somberly discordant, even eerie ("La Jeune
Soeur"), or fluently melodic ("Le Beau Collier"), while utilizing close
harmony, solo voice or polyphony, and variations thereof. The Roulez Fillettes
are a tuneful refreshment.
Susan, Jamie and Rebecca are activists, teachers, musicians and artists,
whose inspirations include Rhiannon, Copperwimmin, Sweet Honey in the
Rock and many others. This a cappella women's trio "unites fierce, passionate
struggles for justice with extraordinary vocal music." "Wild Roses" is
a collection of 12 songs, some, "I Painted Peace," "Take Care" and "This
Battle's Harvest," originals written by group members; others , like the
title tune, which began as a few lines of a Clayoquot lullaby, and "Jasper,
TX," based on a poem from Samsara's Prison Poetry Project, were given
melody, arrangement and even new verses by the group. Songs like the traditional
Bulgarian folk song "Mo lih ta," "Eli, Eli," the Yiddish songs "Es Brent"
and "Mayn Ruhe Platz," "Oh, Death Have Mercy" and "Bread and Roses" inspire
while they break the heart. "Roses" is filled with beautifully sung feeling
that touches and moves us in many ways.
If there were a Sweet Adelines All Stars of All Time, most people would place The Shalimars at the top of the list! Their surprising, bright, ringing sound shines on 20 wonderful pop selections, and then 9 more "sacred selections." "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine," "Red Sails In The Sunset," "Just Friends," "Floating Down The River," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Lavender Blue," "Sound of Music Medley," "In The Garden," "Nearer My God to Thee," "Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho"ä each song is a gem. This is the CD that beginning Sweet Adelines groups listen to, and say "We want to be like the Shalimars!" Outstanding.
We have seen and heard Solstice, the Bay Area's own 6-woman World/Folk ensemble at the 2001 West Coast Summit and the 2003 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional, and we love this group! "Full Circle" is their second CD, the first, "Solstice," won critical acclaim and a CARA Best Folk/World Song nomination for "Blood and Gold." Of the 20 songs we particularly enjoyed the Macedonian folk song "Shto Mi E Milo," the Cuban "Bossa Cubana," the powerful Bulgarian folk song "Ergen Deda," Tracy Nelson's blues tune "Down So Low," the soaring, tambourine-accompanied "A Chantar," an unusual dissonant arrangement of Chaka Khan's "You Got The Love," and the original wedding song by group member Sheryl Kaskowitz, "I Carry Your Heart With Me." Complex, difficult harmonies, well-chosen, rarely-heard selections, sung with spirit and joy by these six very talented women.
Six member all female group from the San Francisco Bay Area, who recently
competed in the Harmony Sweepstakes Regionals. With an eclectic sound,
best described as a modern metamorphosis of classical and folk material,
they are ambitious enough to take on "Il Est Bel Et Bon" (Passereau, sixteenth
century) and Bartok's ""Bolvongas" (Hungarian, 20th century). Occasionally
verging on the dissonant, they are still accessible, and include minimalist
interpretations of Sinead O' Connor's "In This Heart" and Sara MacLachlan's
"Mercy" in their setlist, for diversity. Solstice's arrangements are open
and capacious, expanding and contracting, as the breath of nature. A thoughtful
and intelligent debut.
Twenty-one women gather to experience the joy of making music together
and to share that joy with their audiences, performing songs in a multiplicity
of styles (with elements of classical, world and folk, though strictly
speaking, Sound Circle is none of these). Featuring composers such as
Ysaye Maria Barnwell and Holly Near (but also original works commissioned
specifically for the group), the ensemble has fashioned a full-spectrum,
transparently textured recording that can be minimalist or celebratory
in turn, though always congruent in its musicality. Artistic Director
Sue Coffee's staunch credentials ensure Sound Circle's unmistakable grounding
in the traditions of Western harmony, while providing the setting for
the group's highly personal expression.
Six Streetheart is SanD. Mann, Second soprano, Lisa Maciolek , First
soprano, Betty Semel, First alto, Vicki Warnock, Second alto, and Patsy
DiBella, Contralto. They're all New Jersey Girls, and this recording is
a breath of fresh air in a doo wop world where men have pretty much cornered
the market and marketed the (street) corners. StreetHeart is out to re-write
the Book of Love, and they have the talent, harmonies and spirit to do
it! The ladies trade solos on a series of Doo-Wop classics, from beautiful
ballads: "When We Get Married," "Sincerely," "Could This Be Magic?," "He's
Gone," to jump tunes: "Tonight's The Night," "Come Go With Me," "Rainy
Day Bells," "No, No, No," and the wonderful "I Wonder Why" by Dion and
the Belmonts. StreetHeart is serving notice, and the Jets and Sharks are
looking over their shoulders!
Grammy-winning, African-American female quintet Sweet Honey has deep
musical roots in in the sacred music of the black church--spirituals,
hymns, gospel, as well as jazz and blues. Organized in 1973 by Cordell
Hull Reagon, Sweet Honey has released 18 albums, and "Women" celebrates
their 30th anniversary with predominantly original songs of freedom, activism
and spirituality. 18 powerful songs: the title tune, "Fly," "The Voice
of the Innocent," "Give the People their Right to Vote!," "Georgia Red
Clay II," "Ballad of the Sit-Ins," "Let Us Rise In Love," "22 Hours In
The Day," "Solid Gold II," "Somebody Prayed Me Over," "Ballad of Harry
T. Moore," "That Awful Day Will Surely Come," "Nyoka Boko II," "Prayer
At The Crossroads," "African Oasis II," "Yes It Was," "Come Unto Me" and
"We Want The Vote! Chant." There is some non-vocal percussion in the driving,
hypnotic African rhythms on songs like "Somebody Prayed Me Over." Colorful,extensive
full-color liner notes give us lyrics, history and photos of this amazing
group as they bring us another strong, moving, thought-provoking album!
The four lovely young women of Boston-based Tapestry return with eight soaring chants by composer Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) and nine by contemporary composer Patricia Van Ness, from the group entitled "The Nine Orders of the Angels." We particularly liked "O Frondens Virga" and "O Euchari, Columba" by von Bingen, and "Sum Aneal ex Septimi Chori," "Raphael sum Virtutum," "Angelus sum Thronorum" by Van Ness. The voices of these women are amazing, the material stunning and is a work of tremendous depth and beauty. Another powerful winner by the women of Tapestry!
This fine debut recording explores a variety of African-American traditional
music, from spirituals (high energy "Good News De Chariot's Comin'," "God's
Gonna Set This World On Fire") to children's songs to prison work songs
("Down The Line") to African rhythms ("Gankogui/Welcome"). Tillery had
an epiphany in 1991 which led her from a successful pop career to pursuing
roots music. The talented women's ensemble she assembled sings (and plays
drums) beautifully across this spectrum of music. In comparison with Sweet
Honey in the Rock, this group is less improvisational (at least on this
recording), achieving a cleaner sound without sacrificing passion or authenticity.
When they go on tour, Oakland, CA's Linda Tillery and the 5-woman Cultural Heritage Choir attract a number of very special guest stars, like Wilson Pickett, Richie Havens, Odetta, Laura Love, Kitka and many others. 16 spirituals & inspirational & traditional songs, from "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," "Don't You Ever Let Nobody Drag Yo' Spirit Down," Kitka's "Po Plu" and Bobby McFerrin's "I'm Angry," to "Wayfaring Stranger," "Spirituals Medley," "Stand Tall and Be Happy," Odetta's "All The Pretty Little Horses," the traditional "Ballin' The Jack" and "I'll Fly Away"‚this is rhythmic, move-your-body, get-up-and-bang-on-a-pot-lid-stuff. All accompanied by at least drums, "Say Yo' Business" puts us live in the audience of a musical feast on many levels. Great stuff!
Again, another CD only available as an import, this Brazilian female Trio (accompanied by special guests) sings, we would presume, in Portugese, though it seems that at least one of the tracks is in Spanish, and "La Vie En Rose" is in French. Cosmopolitan, no? Employing reknowned Brazilian musicians and songwriters such as Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins and Djavan (who also worked with the Manhattan Transfer on their "Brasil" CD), their sound melds adult contemporary pop and jazz. Occasionally accompanied ("Coisa Feita" has flamenco guitar, as an example), many of the nineteen songs are uptempo; when the pace slows, as it does on "Rua Ramalhate," with its reverberated vocal sound and dynamic shifts, the momentum only increases. Their intonation and blend is tight and in-the-pocket, without a hair out of place. This Trio will add a welcome zest to your collection.
This is another winner ("Nosso Mundo"="Our World") from the three gorgeous Brazilian women of Trio Esperanca, together with guest singers and musicians. 15 songs, most of them sung in perfect Portuguese, with "Uma Bela Historia (La Boheme)" sung in French, "So Lane Boushi" sung in Japanese, and as far as we can tell, there's Spanish on one or two songs. No matterãthese women have such voices and such panache, they could be singing in Etruscan and we'd still be glued to the boom box! There is accompaniment on several songs, including piano, drums, Brazilian, Portuguese and Spanish guitar, accordion and various percussion, but it is like a garnish next to the entrÈe. The women's intonation and phrasing is perfect, they sing as one, multi-harmonied person, handling upbeat, driving latin rhythms with ease and zest. 15 songs, all of them tasty in their own right, like dishes at a Brazilian banquet. Beautiful teal liner notes. Highly recommended! Import
Can we possibly stand more wonderful music from the three Brazilian sirens who call themselves Trio Esperanca? Segundo, we believe, means "Second", and as there are two excellent CDs already gracing our catalog, perhaps this one was released out of order. 17 songs, most sung in Portuguese, at least one, "Mar e Lua," in Spanish, one in French ("La Lune est Morte," and one, amazingly, in English, Stevie Wonder's lovely "Come Back as a Flower." There is some light percussion, piano and guitar accompaniment on a few songs, but they only add to the enjoyment. We have never heard such perfect intonationãthese women truly sing as one, and their one song in (perfect) English left us breathless. Our second favorite is "Garote de Ipanema," "The Girl from Ipanema" in Portugueseãincredible. Too much good stuff. Import.
Your reviewer can't begin to adequately express his enthusiasm for this
recording. First off, imagine the sound of the most full spirited Native
American chant that you have ever heard, accompanied by the driving heart-beat
rhythm of the pounding drum. Now add a harmony of unbelievable perfection
and punctuate all of this with the ululations and yips of totally involved
souls. That's the first song. Now deal with these beautiful singers on
their own terms. They aren't Native Americans at all. They are "The
People" of the First Nations. They were here first! As you share
a tour of traditional music and contemporary music written to express
the sensibilities of First Nation's peoples, whether it's biting or beautiful
in the mind of the listener, it can only be beautiful to their hearts
for the harmonies are magnificent, stirring, glorious and gorgeous. This
is one of our favorites! Oh yes, this recording is the source of their
often covered song, "Mahk Jchi."
The ten lovely young women who are the present incarnation of the University of Southern California's Sirens, since 1997 the University's only all-female a cappella band, offer us "Nectar," and it's a winner! Ten songs, all beautifully-arranged covers: Kina's "Girl from the Gutter," Dido's "Here With Me," Bob Marley's "Stir It Up," Mariah Carey's "Open Arms," Nelly Furtado's "Well Well," the Corrs' "I Never Loved You Anyway," Bic Runga's "Sway," Lifehouse's "Hanging by a Moment," Stevie Wonder's "As" and Joy Drop's "Beautiful." Vocal percussion that ranges from steady and mellow to driving and powerful, strong leads and solos, wonderful background harmonies and excellent song selection‚it adds up to a fresh, entertaining, mature and confident CD. The live show must be pretty amazing! Recommended.
Six beautiful Brasilian women on the cover. Extensive liner notes, all in Portuguese and bright salsa colors, with pictures of the women as small girls. 23 songs with bright, complex harmonies borrowing from Gregorian chant as much as jazz scat-singing, Bobby McFerrin and Brasilian pop music. Fresh, surprising, smoky and hot as fajitas & just-mixed guacamole with a pineapple-mango margarita, heavy on the tequila. Oh yeah, on the warning label: occasional acoustic guitar and possibly trombone accompaniment. What more could we ask? This would probably be a good time to announce next year's International Harmony Sweeps Regional in S¦o Paulo (we wish!).
Vida are a four part women's group from Bloomington, Indiana. They perform
many self-written originals and some traditional songs, combining elements
of folk, gospel and world music. Several Croatian folk songs are included,
as well as two from Bulgaria and one from South Africa. Vida's own material
is not celebratory in nature, but gives voice to the lives and struggle
of simple people, their sorrow and their pain. "The Famine Song" is drone-like,
employing suddenly choked notes for effect. Utilizing simple repeating
hypnotic figures as accompaniment, often staggered as in a round-"Mother
of the Child" evokes the emotion of an African spiritual-their sound is
honest and forthright, but never maudlin, as the beauty and strength of
Vida's four voices conquers all.
The 15 members of University of Virginia's 15-voice all female vocal ensemble the "Sil'hooettes brings us an impressive cover album of 14 well-chosen hits. Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'em Up Style," Radiohead's "High and Dry," Aretha Franklin's anthem "Respect," SHeDAISY's "I Will," Wham!'s "Jitterbug," The B-52's anthem "Roam," Jamie O'Neal's "Arizona," Chantal Kreviazuk's "Eve," Jo Dee Messina's "That's the Way"‚the women pass around the solos and the vocal percussion duties, but there's talent aplenty and each song is a treat. "After Shock" is good, fun stuff from a poised, confident, talented group!
Cuba has been sharing it's culture and traditions recently with the world
at large by exporting a cappella music as part of its rich musical heritage.
In Voces Mirtha Millan is the music director and arranger of most of the
songs which are sung by six women. Heard for the first time are elements
of vocal percussion performed by women somewhat reminiscent of Vocal Sampling.
Ballads abound on this recording which is spiced with both jazzy and more
classical sounding arrangements. The most familiar tunes are "Como Fue"
and "Guantanamera." Several of the tunes are accompanies by guitar and
a bit of percussion.
This latest release is by far the best recording put forth by this women's
progressive Jewish vocal ensemble. Their firm, clear voices ring true
on the 14 mostly original compositions. Many are Linda Hirschhorn's settings
of traditional texts. The title song ("Hareh Aht/Hashmi'Rini"
or Behold!) is a lovely piece using a text recited when exchanging rings
along with a Song of Songs text. "Sham'Ra" (Hear and Rejoice)
uses a psalm, while "Imri Na" (Sister) draws a story from Genesis.
Others provide nice variety, especially "If You Can Walk," an
original song "adapted from Zimbabwe folk wisdom," and the CARA-nominated
contemporary Israeli love song "Eretz Shiv'Rat Haminim." Several
of the pieces are lightly accompanied, but vocal harmony is always central.
Performing together throughout the world since 1988, Vocolot takes its name from the English 'vocal' and the Hebrew word 'kolot,' meaning 'voices.' These six lovely women bring us a passionate celebration of women's voices and (non-vocal) percussion, with songs that affirm life and a vision of one world at peace. Original and traditional music, sung in English, Yiddish, Hebrew and Ladino. 15 songs: the title tune (an original by Linda Hirshhorn of the group, who also wrote 'Who Can You Lean On,' 'Full Circle,' 'For Talia, Born 9/11/85,' 'These Hands' and 'Sarah and Hagar.'), 'La Comida,' 'Zog Maran,' the exuberant'Elokim,' 'Guide Me,' 'Yesh Lanu Koach,' 'Ocho Kandelikas,' 'Los Bilbilicos,' 'Eretz Zavat Chalav U'Dvashand 'Pitchu Li/Effen Oyf.' Beautifully blended harmonies add to the deep feeling of these songs, from the pain and anger of the resistance song 'Zog Moran' to the celebration and joy of the Brazilian song 'Elokim.' A strong, special CD.
After you hear Roots & Wings it won't come as any surprise to find out that Linda Hirschhorn is the cantor at a major Temple in the San Francisco Bay Area. What you will hear is a number of rounds and chants which often are expansions on texts from the Old Testament and other sources of Jewish wisdom, when they have source other than the heart. For example "Not By Might" is adapted from Zachariah 4:6 while "Trees of the Wild" comes from Isaiah 55:12. These rounds are sung by as few as three of the six members of Vocolot, usually four or five. Amidst this setting of chants and rounds are four of Linda's original songs which are embellished by light instrumentation. "Homeless Blues" is just accompanied by a bass player. Our favorite is "Play On (For Tay Holden)" a lyrical memory of a departed dear musical friend, accompanied by guitar, bass, fiddle, drums and clarinet. The singing is beautiful. The songs are inspired.
The 30 talented women of Vox Femina LA, directed by Dr. Iris S. Levine,
went into the recording studio in July, 2002 to record repertoire from
their first 5 seasons, showcasing two new commissions: "The Tolerance
Project" and "Alarcon Madrigals, Book II." Founded in 1997, VFLA is a
women's choral ensemble dedicated to the performance of quality choral
literature with an emphasis on music by women composers. They are a family
of diverse women who are lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual. This CD is
in 3 parts, 8 songs from "Miniatures of Kin," 11 songs in "Alarcon Madrigals,
Book II, and 3 from "The Tolerance Project," based on the poetry of LA
high school students. All songs are lightly piano accompanied. Particularly
nice are the opening cut, "The Gathering," the traditional "The Water
is Wide," the Serbian folk tune "Niska Banja," "Wood River," "Both Page
and Pen," "Another Language," "Totally Exposed," "Warrior," Holly Near's
"Simply Love," "I Come From Good People," and "I Love A Rainbow." The
extensive liner notes include all the touching, poignant and joyous lyrics.
"Simply..." is a gift.
Begun over a decade ago in a cozy room full of women, Womensing has its roots in the hills and mountains of Addison County, Vermont , but draws its repertoire from around the world, as well as from their own heritage. The songs the six women share, sung with spirit and exuberance, celebrate the commonality and vitality of the human spirit. 17 songs: 'Cin Cin,' 'Au Chant de L'Alouette,' 'Ogrejala,' 'Breaths,' 'Con al Viento,' 'Kang Ding Qing Ge,' 'Liljano,' 'Come By the Hills,' 'Sto Mi E Milo,' 'Yo Mi Llamo Cumbia,' 'I Feel Like Going On,' 'Ani Ma' Amin,' 'Senzenina,' 'Woyawa,' 'Yo Yisa Goy,' 'Wade in the Water Medley' and 'Soon I Will Be Done.' A heartfelt gift of music from the Vermont hills.
Marie Daulne's mixed cultural roots, Walloon and Bantu (Belgian and
Pygmee) were the stimulus for her musical creation. After studying with
the Bantu and in Europe she organized Zap Mama as the instrument of her
composing a synthesis of these previously separate traditions. She instantly
stood the vocal world on it's head by mixing multiple musical traditions
and performing them with a group of women who created such rhythmic wonder
that everyone sat up and took notice. Found on this first release are
many tunes with Pygmee yodel and chants, a 16th century Spanish song ,
a Cuban son, elements of Syrian songs, in short a true example of world
music. The exotic beauty of this release make it a must for any a cappella
Though completely accompanied, we couldn¼t pass up the latest outing by Marie Daulne and Zap Mama. An international conglomeration of sound, with African rhythms, lyrics in several languages and a thoroughly contemporary vibe, "Amazone" is intense and compelling. Daulne¼s original compositions are all about groove, and can slither, snakelike, through moods hypnotic, such as "Gissie," with its repetitive arrangement and vocal clicks, or invigorate and invite, with the gently sensuous "Songe." The instrumental accompaniment is bass and percussion driven, a backdrop for the cyclical harmonic structure and relaxed vocal stylings which encourage improvisation. Imaginative, modern production really fleshes out the recording.
Introduction & Essays | Successful Women | Female Groups | Vintage Groups | Arrangements
Recordings: All Titles | Sweet Adelines | Choral | Contemporary
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