Comprised of twelve uniquely gifted singers with broad stylistic experience ranging from jazz to R&B to Indian classical opera, Voicestra serves as a rich compositional palate for Bobby McFerrin’s expeditions into the musical universe. Bobby founded Voicestra in 1986 to explore interactive group singing in his performances, and it has since evolved into a medium for deeply spiritual and powerful improvisations. Voicestra is not just a choir, but a flexible and richly textured instrument through which Bobby can experiment with and express his unique vocal style and musical stream of consciousness. The music is entirely improvised and captures everything in the performance: the day, the time, the theater, the audience. Melodies, rhythms and textures traverse from singer to singer, perpetually morphing in reaction to the moment and Bobby’s instincts. For many audiences, a Voicestra performance is akin to a religious experience, providing them the rare opportunity to witness as well as participate in a musical celebration of spontaneity.
BOBBY TALKS ABOUT VOICESTRA:
“Voicestra has been a dream of mine for about seven years. Currently it is a ten member group of singers from classical, jazz and theatre backgrounds, who have come together to explore the dynamics of vocal ensemble performance. The spirit behind Voicestra is to produce new repertoire for vocal ensembles and eventually to commission other composers.
“My favorite, most inspiring times in concert have always been the impromptu moments on stage when the audience participates. At some point I began to realize that I wanted to work with other singers, and the idea for Voicestra seemed to be a natural development from these spontaneous group efforts in my performances.
“Voicestra encompasses all kinds of material from exploring world music, African chants and Indian ragas, to storytelling, new songs based on the alphabet and contemporary vocal compositions.”
PRESS REVIEWS FOR CIRCLESONGS:
“In “CIRCLESONGS,” mysterious syllables are set to lilting, cyclical rhythms and layered humming that suggest long evenings around the campfire… There are exotic echoes in these songs – of Sufi chants, Turkish folk songs and Zulu music – and the syllables have a vaguely African sound. If the world is a global village, then this is its local folk music.” –NEWSDAY
“for pure pleasure, head for Bobby McFerrin’s Circlesongs. McFerrin’s expressive and exciting a cappella songs weave a rich tapestry of many threads: jazz sonorities, blues and liturgical harmonies and hints of African chanting.” –Top Magazine
“… This new and extraordinary album is a significant step forward for him… all (tracks) have a traditional circular structure that becomes hypnotically effective, and the best of them “Circlesong 8,” is sensibly saved till last However you classify it, this is beautiful music.” –Hot Tickets
“McFerrin borrows from African, Caribbean, Persian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures, and he uses R&B and funk, too. The result is a set of soaring, spiritual performances that are exotic and hypnotic. In “Circlesongs” McFerrin has found a fresh way to strike a chord.”
–The Associated Press
“Circlesongs,” dedicated to the proposition that “sound is sacred,” composed by Bobby McFerrin and sung in call-and-response style with a dozen other singers. Like everything else McFerrin does, this music is touched with magic.” –The Washington Post