Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Three amazing female choral works

Back in the distant past (and doesn't it really feel that way?) of 2005, I reviewed a copy of the "Bitpop EP" by Bishi for the now-defunct Decode magazine. I described it as "Bouncy theatrical madpop" ... "like getting trapped in Trafalgar Square on a fairground carousel that’s going at several wrong speeds at once". A couple of years back I finally saw her live at Glastonbury doing something like ::this:: on stage, complete with Union-flag head-t0-toe smothered dancers, which rather proved my point!

When you get past the theatrics, though, what is really pinning down the hold on your attention is Bishi's obvious intelligence and her voice, and both are at the fore in the work she commissioned work she made for Brooklyn's Youth Chorus earlier this year, Dia Ti Maria. Bishi recorded all 50 voices on this recording herself, and you can read more about its themes and origins on her Soundcloud.

Bishi - Dia Ti Maria

Hazlitt is another artist who has moved from making often-bouncy pop/rock in bands like the brilliant Tiger Force (I saw them once at Bridgwater Arts Centre! Which is badly affected by the cuts, grrr) to embrace a classical style. You can pledge for the forthcoming Hazlitt album ::here:: and raise money for good causes including riot relief funds at the same time. Here is the beautiful video for Introit.

Hazlitt - Introit

Making up a trio of women-you-might-otherwise-have-heard-on-6music, doing-stuff-you-could-hear-on-Radio-3, are the majestic Gaggle, who earlier in the year produced a reworked version of a piece commissioned by the Women's Institute in 1969 called The Brilliant and the Dark. They say "The libretto approaches history from the Middle Ages to WWII through the eyes of women, via characters including witch-hunters, embroiderers, crusaders’ wives, plague stricken women, mourners and war workers". Their version mixes the kind of chorus you'd hear soundtracking enchanted forests in early Disney films with skittery drum-and-bass percussion, and the almost-spoken-word incantations that are typical Gaggle fare. You can get a flavour of it on this Vimeo clip, and download the whole work if you subscribe to their website.

The Brilliant and The Dark from Open Music Archive on Vimeo.

No comments:

Post a Comment