So a few years ago I had the pleasure of joining Bobby McFerrin and 19 other awesome singers from around the world for a week-long workshop culminating in an a cappella improvised “opera.” During the week, Bobby used us for something called “Circle Singing,” where one person gives any number of singers a part to sing, over and over again. Perhaps one person sings a “solo,” not-as-repetitive part over it all once it’s been built. It was fun, but as the week was a bit jazz-oriented, and I didn’t ever get to try it with “my kind of music,” I went straight home afterwards and tried it out on my favorite women’s choir, Citrine. That was fun too (the song “Fire Chant” on our CD is inspired by one) but then I moved to NYC to go to school and kind of forgot about it… although I did try it out on my friend Kathleen Hayes’ student choirs at Fieldston to rave reviews. Then last night I went to a vocal improv group for the first time and in the last five minutes we tried it again. Today I decided to record my own. Then, the brilliant idea hit me while I was in the shower to commit to recording one a day for the next year, so here I am!
Each part is sung by me, hopefully with more than a few guests along the way, and everything is improvised on the spot. No trying different things to see what’s “best,” no writing anything down. Just whatever comes out first!
One thing you can be certain of- there will be out-of-tune notes, and clicks and pops, dogs barking, doors slamming,maybe even a little drilling. (There is also an excellent chance I will record them while curled up or on my stomach on the bed.) The fact is I won’t have hours every day to tweak each recording, each track, so they’ll surely be a little raw! This is about creativity, new ideas, and retaining my identity while I embark on a scary new chapter of my life; earning my PhD in Music Education.
So please enjoy the circle songs, and I enthusiastically welcome collaboration and any of them from anyone. Just record a part, send it to me, and I’ll post it!
July 16, 2013