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Friday, March 03, 2006

I Predict A Choir

Not being a particular fan of the Kaiser Chiefs, I seem to have missed this wonderful ditty so far: The most beautiful version of their biggest hit, as sung by a women's choir from Cheshire, UK.

I only mention this because I found it on this blog, which also pointed me towards an even more fascinating source of marvellous choir singing.

This website carries loads of mp3s and streams of Sacred Harp singing. Sacred Harp is an old American tradition of choral music, a particular style of polyphonic and fuguing arrangements of sacred songs. (The Wikipedia has a lengthy article on the subject, so I'll spare the details.)

Choir music is surely not the kind of stuff that's usually peddled around here, but I have to admit, I found this music very powerful and moving, and so enchantingly exotic and wonderfully weird that you wouldn't believe this comes from the deepest heart of rural America. Rather, this recalls other choral traditions such as Tuvan throat singing or Genoese tralaleros, and the sheer force of it serves as a good reminder of what a noisy beast such a polyphonic choir can be when it's going at full throttle. So if your mind could need a little cleansing (e.g. after an evening out with the Wet Spots), this is your music.

Speaking of choirs, I always forget the name of that brilliant Finnish men's choir, who were also favourites of John Peel, and whose music consisted of little else than just shouting rhythmically and as loud as possible. Am I right in remembering that they even made it into the official program of the opening ceremony of some Athletic world championships several years back?