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063: Pust, ‘En Reell Halling’

Who wouldn’t scoff at a Norwegian a cappella sextet singing a musical battle between their own halling dance and an Irish jig?
You wouldn’t, if you give it a listen.

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228: Roger Treece, Achinoam Nini (Noa)/Gil Dor, Vocalocity — ‘Zeh Po, Zeh Mugan’

I had a dream–that Roger Treece, the mad genius of modern choral music would join up with Israel’s amazing virtuoso singer Achinoam Nini (Noa) and with my 40-voice vocal orchestra Vocalocity, to make a kind of music that’s never been made before.
Incredibly enough, sometimes dreams come true.

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061: The Doobie Brothers, ‘What a Fool Believes’

A hopelessly happy jaunt into the 1970s– the sappy grin on the face of lead guitarist, the come-on smile of the backup chick singer gives Michael McDonald, the ‘Oh, I really am cool and hot and couldn’t be enjoying myself more’ look he returns; the illogical, off-the-beat smash of the cymbal on ‘Anybody else would sure-LY know’, the loopy little calliope adornment – every element perfectly enmeshing to form a tapestry of fun-k. And a painfully familiar, seldom-told story. And a crazily cool Italian a cappella version you’ve never heard. Whooo!

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030: The Bulgarian State Radio and Television Women’s Choir (Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares) – ‘Pilentze Pee’

Bulgarian folk music predates our European tradition!! It wasn’t affected by early polyphony; it remained duophonic long after the Europeans Renaissanced. The singers use throat resonance to hold a steady pitch for 5 minutes. It’s full of modal scales, dissonant harmonies (abundant second, seventh, and ninth intervals). And if you’ll give it a chance, you just might find that it really is quite enchanting.

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209: The Real Group: ‘Monica Vals’ (‘Waltz for Debby’)

When they say ‘The voice is the only instrument made by God’, they’re thinking of Margareta Bengston of The Real Group singing Bill Evans’ ‘Waltz for Debby’. Four minutes in heaven.

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189: Choir of Young Believers, ‘Hollow Talk’ (Nordic Noir TV)

Why do I think Nordic music is so fine? Because it’s on a continuum with the world outside.
And why am I infatuated with dark, murky, gloomy, angst-ridden, terrifying Nordic Noir television?
Are you kidding?

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188: Imogen Heap/Vocal Line, ‘Let Go’

In which we discuss Leo Da Vinci, Finnish surf jazz, my futile struggle to keep up with the music world, the great Danish rhythm choir Vocal Line, and their treatment of Imogen Heap’s (Frou Frou’s) Pinteresque ‘Let Go’. Oh yeah, and magic gloves.

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174: Vocal Line, ‘Don’t Give Up’

If you don’t know the music of Vocal Line, the 32-voice Danish rhythm choir led by Jens Johansen, you should. It’s what all art should aspire to – pure, unadulterated beauty.

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