Frustratingly our server & internet is off-line, I’ve made calls, my hot cross bun has been eaten… so… some thoughts:

Our recent choir concert at Oakham School Chapel was a great experience! Two choirs together, 110+ voices, made a great sound – I am told. Singing with 100 people was invigorating and possibly helped rekindle a glowing ember that I guess I had not been fuelling.

Singing”, making a noise… what’s it all about… expression?
I briefly overheard someone recently, casually singing their own song as they walked down the street.
Compare this with the routine recitation of a prescribed composition.
The true expression of a feeling, often with a subconscious root, is what it’s about, I think.
Rather than trying too hard to tick all the right boxes; steer, balance and navigate – just let it out? Chill out, dude?

The spark was going out and my singing of songs had become a tad stale.
As with anything, occasionally I guess a splash of water, a wake up, a refreshing baptism, can help.
The simple overhearing of the man in the street and the (if you look for it) seemingly ever-present birdsong seems to have helped me. I guess that’s what a routine purge/fast/ritual can help do.

Over the last month, I have forsaken the daily ipod fix during the commute to work. I have gone without the opiate of prescribed ‘music’, entertaining “Desert Island Discs”, mind-bending “In Our Time”, and the pap they call “Stuff You Should Know”, etc. It’s been tempting in the last week to plug back into the drip but I have upheld the cold turkey.

Strip it back down to the basics – wind (cold) in the face, ubiquitous (wild)life, rain down the collar, nature on the air, exhaust up the nose… beauty juxtaposed with pestilence etc.

The choir’s post-concert meeting was a stripped back affair; just singing for pleasure with no specific pressure to “get it right”! OK yes, pressure to get it right is good for polishing the rough edges, but first let’s just pull the diamond from the ground.
We sang casually, from memory, hypnotic recall and expression of something – possibly satisfaction and thanks.

I think we could possibly all do with some off-line casual expression of satisfaction and thanks.

Have a hot cross bun… sing your song!?


World Music at Oakham School Chapel

Illustration: World Music ©Liz Underhill

If you could hear this image, what would it sound like?

Well…  “Global Harmony” from Melton and “Woven Chords” from Stamford are two world music a cappella choirs – they will be singing together! on March 31st Oakham School Chapel.

The choir is always more than the sum of it’s parts, and this time there’s TWO!


You can hear and see a glimpse of past GH performances here:

For more info contact:

You can’t beat a good old SING!

Global Harmony is a mixed a cappella world music choir based in Melton Mowbray. I’ve been part of GH since 2008. Last week we had a great Christmas Concert at St Mary’s Church in Melton!

Above is a recording of  ‘the blokes and Vera’ singing the traditional Croatian song ‘U poju se mala’.
(Photo from last year)

Rough Translation:
In the field, a little, Orange tree is swaying. It’s not because of the wind, a little, Nor for the bright sun.
But a maiden, a little, In a great sorrow, For her mother, a little, Is giving her to a widower.

Below is a video of the choir singing ‘Kakilambe’, an African ritual dance tuneThis name is also used to refer to different percussion patterns in African music.
It really is a great experience to be part of Global Harmony over the last few years. It truly is a privilege and a joy to experience and be able to sing with such a vibrant bunch!  It is perhaps only as a collective that the human spirit really excels.

If you live near Melton and fancy a challenge on Monday evenings, come along!

Don’t listen to the words, listen to the…

Hummm… nowt sp’cific to say… however…

We’ve started back with Global Harmony this week, which will be my 4th year with them – time flies.
What I enjoy about GH is the ‘expressive’ experience – ‘meaning’ comes later. This idea sort of harmonises with my recent encounters with ‘awareness‘ etc. Drop the baggage and dance dude!

I enjoy much of the eclectic offerings from BBC Radio 3’s ‘Late Junction’, I enjoy the ‘hopelandic’ non-language of Sigur Róss, and find some of Bugge Wesseltoft’s musical language enchanting(?)…
I guess it’s the sound/s, rhythms and unorthodox mixes and ideas/feelings that they evoke… yes, it’s hard to drop cultural accretions but music or “new sounds” can be a start to ‘something new’.

The ‘world sounds’ that GH choir ‘play with’ are a breath of fresh-air in the polluted saturated world of signification that we encounter daily… the harmonies, resonances and layering that the MD introduces really do have something even though no meaning us readily clear to us. I find this is possibly more often encountered in rehearsals than in scheduled performance – pressure related i guess. Often the sounds are hypnotic and the parts really dance with each other.

I’ve always been interested in the idea of ‘free play’ as the creative tool and perhaps the choir, although structured, touches on this. We definitely experience ‘free’dom and also ‘play’(dom).

Bring it on?