"√oices" is an original, a cappella performance piece created by award-winning composer Philip Hamilton. It showcases the universality of the voice and presents it as a versatile and expressive instrument that induces a wide range of emotion. Inspired by the power of the voice and vocal music, Hamilton created this theater/concert work to take audiences on a vocal journey throughout time and cultures. (Play Video)
√oices' cultural and musical influences are brought together through Hamilton's unique and expressive compositions. The music of "√oices" combines the influences of unique, international vocal tones and techniques, such as Tuvan throat singing, Congolese mouth-clicking, Balinese monkey chanting, and Hip Hop's beat boxing, with the rich sounds of diverse a cappella singing styles, including doo-wop, Bulgarian choirs, barbershop quartets, work songs, South African miners' songs and Gregorian chants.
The Vocal Tribe...
In "√oices", Hamilton directs an ensemble of 8-12 vocal artists through an evening performance of exciting group and solo works. The group's musical styles represent a wide and diverse range. Members of "√oices" are comprised of an array of accomplished vocalists who have come together from around the world. "√oices" is often compared to productions like Stomp, Bring in da Noise and Def Poetry Jam, which showcase the urbanization of the world and combines the contemporary with the traditional. "√oices" celebrates the versatility and diversity of a common human instrument, the Voice. "√oices" brings cultures together.
The duo of Philip Hamilton and Kenny "The Human Orchestra" Muhammad have been entertaining and surprising audiences for several years. These two vocal explorers share a love of the voice and its possibilities. This duo's featured moments in "√oices" and their numerous appearances at performance venues, festivals and clubs worldwide are driving and powerful. (Play Video)
The workshops for "√oices" vary in length and are led by Hamilton and various members of his ensemble. They perform excerpts from the show and give examples of the various vocal styles and harmonies used throughout the world. Students are led through participatory exercises that give them a chance to try new vocal styles. In more advanced workshops, participants will experience a vocal and breathing warm up, learn creative sound methods, explore vocal improvisation and examine group composition techniques. (Play Video)
The inspiration behind "√oices" is to demonstrate how vocal, cultural and musical diversity has the capacity to convey the strength, beauty and potential of humanity. The voice is the most primal and expressive musical instrument and can be considered to have the abiltity to represent humanity more authentically than other instrument. (Play Video)
Quotes from audience members at recent performances and showcases.....
"The showcase of Voices was amazing-what a beautiful, joyous, colorful sound! It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up-listening to that music was a very spiritual experience. Someone said that the "real thing" was a totally different experience than what the CD can convey, so fellow presenters should bear that in mind... When we pressed Philip to identify
his sources of inspiration, he listed beat-boxing, South Indian music and Gospel. I heard Middle Eastern lilts, didgeridoo sounds and more.
The individual voices were strong and unique-Philip's tenor ringing out, cutting across the backup; soulful gospel and creamy harmonies from the women; and Kenny Muhammad-what a master beat boxer. He made noises I didn't know were possible without instruments. He approached me after the showcase and told me he's VERY interested in working with students on beat-boxing and hip-hop outreach. As a group, the performers cut a stunning, multi-cultural profile too. All-white costumes against the many gorgeous colors of skin made a visual impression that matched well with the texture of the sound"
-Liza Sacheli Lloyd, Presenter/Producer
There's a joy about Voices that I've rarely seen. There's this vibrant sound with such forward momentum that it makes your blood flush to the surface. I was transfixed by the ongoing vocal conversations between the singers, each with his or her distinct sound, and the unbelievably talented beat boxer, who drives each piece like as fast-moving truck, complete with complicated syncopated multidimensional pops and beats over literal engine revving sounds. Philip's unwavering angelic voices soars above, around and through the fabric of sound, always bringing it back home, telling it like it is, injecting the work with his own unmistakable serene yet exultant sound.
The performers' casual theatricality invites us in: the vocalists enter one at a time each dancing their own groove, their voices accumulating, and when its all over they place their mics on the floor as if they were bowing, the sound quieting to acoustic levels, and dance out one by one, their voices dropping out one at a time although you can hear the whole group continuing to sing from offstage."
-Catherine Musinsky, Co-Artistic Director