From: "Snowdrop Music" <snowdrop1_dot_music_at_virgin_dot_net>Date: 1 March 2010 18:48:22 GMTSubject: Fw: Burgess Hill Fairtrade & Freedom Festival
Hailed for their “sheer agility, vitality and power” by the Washington Post, Northern Harmony’s brilliant young singers are chosen from among the strongest recent graduates of Village Harmony teen ensembles. Now on their 12th extended European tour, they stretch the normal boundaries of choral music with their command of varied world ethnic singing styles: sacred and secular harmonies from Corsica and Georgia; village music from the Balkans; South African folk and church songs and dances; American shape-note singing and a cappella gospel; and contemporary compositions.
Georgia’s ancient three-part harmony singing tradition features a dark, sonorous vocal quality and startling harmonies, unlike anything in European music. Traditional Corsican singing, passed down through oral tradition, features two highly ornamented upper voices over a more sustained harmonic bass. The excitement for the listeners and singers both comes from the impassioned delivery, the surprising harmonic shifts which ripple from voice to voice, and the buzzing vocal timbre which creates an extremely powerful sound rich in overtones.
South Africa has a particularly powerful and appealing folk harmony singing tradition, with a rich, resonant vocal sound, and wonderfully syncopated rhythm. The singing is always accompanied by dancing, with the rhythm of the dance movements often in counterpoint to the song.
Shape-note singing, one of Northern Harmony's trademarks, had its origins in the community singing schools of 18th century New England. It is simultaneously a sacred and a social singing tradition, featuring stark, open harmonies, rhythmic, contrapuntal "fuging" sections, and the marvelous sacred poetry of the 18th century English hymn writer Isaac Watts and his followers. The concert will also feature traditional and contemporary arrangements of 1930’s gospel quartet numbers..
Northern Harmony also performs a wide variety of village music from the Balkan countries. This music features the characteristic bright, "hard-voiced" Balkan vocal timbre, with dissonant harmonies frequently based on drones, and irregular dance meters in 7. 9 and 11. Many of these numbers also feature accompaniment on accordion, fiddle, tambura and drum.
For further information visit the Northern Harmony website: www.villageharmony.org