Monday, November 16, 2009

Swingle Singers

The Swingle Singers are a vocal group formed in 1962 in Paris, France with Ward Swingle, Anne Germain, Jeanette Baucomont and Jean Cussac. Christiane Legrand, the sister of composer Michel Legrand, was the lead soprano in the group. There are a total of eight members in the group: two sopranos, two altos, two tenors and two basses.

The group, directed primarily by Ward Swingle (who once belonged to the French vocal group Les Double Six), began as session singers mainly doing background vocals for singers like Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf. They also did some jazz vocals for Michel Legrand. The eight session singers sang through Bach's Well-Tempered Klavier, as a sight reading exercise and found the music to have a natural swing. They recorded their first album 'Jazz Sebastian Bach' as a present for friends and relatives. Many radio stations picked it up which led to the group recording more albums and winning a total of five Grammy Awards.

The group is now based in London, England. The Swingle Singers are an a cappella group. They produce complicated, technically impressive covers ranging from modern classics Björk, Annie Lennox, and (The Beatles) to classical music Bach to Contemporary Music Luciano Berio, Pascal Zavaro and Azio Corghi. Their arrangements are often informed by jazz harmonies and stylings.

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