In a time when pop acts seem to come and go, the history of choral ensemble The Swingles is rare. Founded in Paris in 1962 the group – originally known as The Swingle Singers – is, remarkably, now in its 55th year. Relocated to London, the youthfulness of the current seven strong line-up both informs and belies their musical influences.
Their latest album Folklore is an eclectic collection of imaginatively recorded choral arrangements of old and new compositions, including renditions of popular songs that listeners may well know but will not have heard quite like this before. Touring regularly around the globe the multicultural group’s sound combines early choral music with jazz and folk stylings to impressive effect. At its heart, The Swingles are a world-class a capella group; the contrasting tone and phrasing of the four male and three female voices blend perfectly together, combining power, lyricism and gymnastic control.
Straying occasionally into what some may feel is easy listening territory reminiscent of the early Enya, the listening experience is nevertheless elevated by the sheer quality of the vocals and production. There is something charmingly refreshing about The Swingles’ lack of pretensions. Their sound is resolutely unfashionable and all the better for it.
Their album, Folklore, was released on 24th March.