Sunday, June 07, 2009

Vocal Anarchy From The UK!

Level of conviction in own genius: 7
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 0
Reading: Sunday papers, including excerable Observer Woman Mag, which is about as pro-independent-power-woman as The Daily Star
Hair Day: sooo getting it cut tomorrow

I recovered just in time from hellish projectile-vomity Norovirus that left my bathroom looking a little like a puce-coloured Pollock in order to make it over to the Tampere International Vocal Festival for juice's triumphant return following our 2nd prize two years ago. This time we were there to do a gig at the self-explanatory Klubi, which wasn't too bad, if not quite as barnstorming as we'd hoped, us being on at about the time everyone wants to go to bed. But it was well worth the trip, firstly to learn from the best vocal ensembles in the competition, jaw-dropping German winners Klangbezirk (means 'district of sound' apparently). The four-piece jazz/popsters were so technically accomplished, charming and brilliant, mostly for, incredibly, being able to improvise pop tunes in four-part harmony on audience's suggestions. Argh! Puts us to shame. Secondly, we networked as much as possible: we're trying to set the wheels in motion for bringing last year's winners, the very daft but totally excellent German group Vocaldente, a sort of comic ageing boy band who wear matching cheap suits and Adidas trainers, over to the UK. We have more ambitious plans to host our own vocalfest in London in order to show off all the incredible European acts that have absolutely no exposure over here because they are too poppy and not from Oxbridge. We breakfasted with choral wundergod and hopefully all-round guru for me at some point, Bob Chilcott. Mostly we had fun earning a reputation as being the slightly 'anarchic' (Bob's words), 'self-ironic' (Jenny from the jury), certainly most experimental and leftfield, probably best-dressed and undoubtedly dirtiest (we had fun explaining to all Europeans why wide-eyed German group 'Spunk''s name was so amusing) set of girls on the scene.

Went to Tate Britain today to see the Richard Long retrospective. Long is an artist I much admire and feel slightly affiliated to, what with his affinity with and use of the outdoors, plus his text work. It was a top exhibition, the crisply matter-of-fact font for his text pieces making his walks come alive. You've got to hand it to a man who can walk for a living. Though he may, with his mammoth expeditions of walking in straight lines for hundreds of miles in three hours or something, put Mum and I to shame when we have our slightly less ambitious walking hol in the Dales this summer. Not sure Mum would appreciate me making her walk in increasingly large circles whilst occasionally making her carry a stone either. So an engaging afternoon, and I was suitably inspired enough to buy a couple of postcards to display back home, which I promptly left at the Sainsbury's self-service checkout. Can't quite be bothered to walk back to look for them. Richard would be most unimpressed.

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