The Swingles vocal ensemble celebrate their 55th anniversary with a new album, ‘Folklore’, set to be launched with a concert on 30 March at Cecil Sharp House.
Ideas for the album, which features collaborations with traditional artists and is inspired by folk music from around the world, began taking shape at 2016’s London A Cappella Festival which saw them introduce their arrangement of traditional Filipino lullaby ‘Ili-Ili Tulog Anay’ to a UK audience.
“It took us back to an unforgettable tour of the Philippines in 2013, but we weren’t expecting our London audience to connect with it as strongly as they did,” explains bass vocalist Edward Randell. “That moment of connection set us off, excited to dig deeper into folk music traditions from around the world.
“Our new tenor Jon, from New York, brought us a song from the American Civil War. Clare took inspiration from her childhood in East Africa, Jo from her Portuguese roots, Sara from a honeymoon spent in Arctic Finland. We were looking for stories and melodies that that spoke to us, even across language barriers.”
“As much as we’ve loved discovering unfamiliar dialects, modes, and time signatures,” continues alto Clare Wheeler, “we have been most struck by the universal themes we found.
“Every culture uses music to mark life’s defining moments. And in the year since this project’s inception, world events have made it seem particularly timely. The simple idea that different cultures can and should learn from each other, that our common humanity defines us more than the country we call home – we believe this more strongly than ever.”