Swingle Singers Review

On Friday night, I went to see the Swingle Singers live at the Lowry, Salford.

My girlfriend and I decided to take a train to Manchester as early as we could in the day, so we arrived there just before four o’clock and spent several hours wandering the town centre, marvelling at the trams, the town hall (which is really quite impressive) the cathedral and the city in general, which neither of us had been to before. After this, we walked to Salford. Afterall, we can’t have been that far away. How wrong we were! It took us hours of trekking so we were very pleased to find the place, the tickets behind the desk, a bite to eat and a well deserved drink. And then into the theatre…

The Swingle Singers came on to a good reception from the audience and commenced their set. What can I say that does them justice? All I can say is that they were really really good! Lets start with the fact that they can all sing. I mean, they are great singers. Each one has such a fantastic tone that blends so smoothly with the others to form one vocal instrument. But then when a solo comes through, they give it so much expression.

Then there is range, not only in pitch, but in type of sound too! Joanna (the prettiest one) can sing amazingly high notes without the screechiness that often comes across with vocals of that pitch. And then the basses can sing the most wonderful rounded bass notes which I can’t reach even when I have a sore throat! There’s the beatboxing sounds that they make, which they seamlessly switch between members to carry the effect best. How can they keep such a constant cymbal sound which sounds right?

Their repertoire is snazzy too! Because it was their “Beauty and the Beatbox” set, even the classical pieces (including Beethoven’s fifth, Albinoni’s “Adagio in G Minor” and Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament”) included their fair share of beatboxing. Their more modern songs, such as “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and “Gotcha” (the theme from Starsky and Hutch) were also really well arranged as to take advantage of the versatility of the singers’ voices. They also performed one of my favourite song’s on Bobby McFerrin’s Best Of album, “Spain”. It was strange to hear the Swingle Singers singing it because I had always thought that the vocals in it sounded very Swingle-Singers-like in the first place! They sang it to the words, though, as the Al Jarreau version.

After the show, I was quite privileged to have a chat to all of them whilst they signed my “Beauty and the Beatbox” CD. They were all very friendly and gave me some good tips on running an a cappella group.

Once gone, I didn’t stop smiling until… well, I’m still smiling now! If you get the chance, definitely go to see them!

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One Comment

  1. Posted 28 January, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi Simeon,

    We’ve just read your blog and it’s great to hear you enjoyed the show. Cheers for bigging us up!
    Hope to see you again at the next show.

    All the best

    The swingle singers

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