Black Voices

MICHAEL DRAKE The Playhouse, Norwich

MICHAEL DRAKE

Billed as providing "great entertainment" this female a cappella quintet certainly could not be faulted on that score and made their mark on a receptive (if too reticent for the performers) audience on Sunday evening for the cause.

The cause itself was part of Norfolk LEA/Action for Development's Black History month, and although in that regard we learned little, their songs never failed in enthusiasm, vivacity or vocal dexterity.

Street Suite, for instance, with some brilliant instrumental effects showed real class in what was at times an amalgam of the Swingle and King's Singer's styles, while it's all right to have a good time was a cue for just that.


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The rhythms of Noyangi, via rock and roll and direct from Songs of Praise, the spiritual There is a Barn, with its impressive modulations led to an Evening Stroll — literally "a do-be-do" stage walk, and of course there was civil rights and gospel. Powerful stuff indeed.

Unfortunately not so strong was the first performance of Sara Colman's Sevens Songs for Seven Colours, copies of which Black Voices received too late to afford as much rehearsal as they would have liked and it didn't help the planned choreography that radio mikes failed to materialise. But there was still the opportunity to indulge the harmonic changes and close harmony; pathos and exuberance of the composition.

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They teased by taking a while to reappear for an encore but by the time they had Spread Love, the cause was won.

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