King’s Singers bring folk songs and humor to Seoul stage

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King’s Singers bring folk songs and humor to Seoul stage

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The King’s Singers, described by some fans as “the finest a cappella ensemble in the world,” are back in Seoul for the first time in four years. The group’s repertoire of classical, jazz, pop and religious songs has been honed in 400 concerts over four. Together for 37 years, the group is more popular than ever.
Korean fans who have seen the King’s Singers before recognize the group’s overall humor, cheer and positive approach to music. The concerts are generally funny, but the group has a serious side too.
In an e-mail interview with the JoongAng Daily, the group said that its performances in Korea tend to be lighter than those they usually do in Europe. They added that there has always been a serious element to their music, which can been seen in their latest albums, “1605 Treason & Dischord” and “Sacred Bridges.” The two albums have not yet been released in Korea, but the content does indeed seem heavier than previous releases.
At the concert on Sunday, the King’s Singers will sing English renaissance madrigals, French romantic music and songs from the conquistadors, as well as folk songs and pop ― though nothing too heavy.
“1605 Treason & Dischord” contains music written at the time of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, which today is celebrated in Britain as “Guy Fawkes Night.” The King’s Singers released the album to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the event. “Sacred Bridges” is a mixture of music by Christian, Jewish and Muslim composers, to show how each religion regards the Psalms of David. One member of the King’s Singers said they expect the album to “expose more Christians to different kinds of music” so they realize “that there are many similarities in the three religions.”
The King’s Singers were founded in 1968 by six choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge. All the original members, however, have since left the group. So far, 19 people have at one time or another belonged to the group, including the current six, but only one of the current lineup, Robin Tyson, a countertenor, is actually from King’s College. One of the baritones was replaced last year by Christopher Gabbitas, a former lawyer.
The King’s Singers think that their “unique sound,” based on two countertenors, one tenor, two baritones and one bass, sets them apart from other a cappella groups.
“We spend a lot of time working on sound, blend and balance, and then present it in concerts all served up with our special personality,” a member said.


by Park Sung-ha

The King’s Singers will perform at the Seoul Arts Center at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket are 30,000 won ($29), 50,000 won, 60,000 won and 80,000 won. Call (02) 541-6234, or visit www.ticketlink.co.kr or ticket.interpark.com.
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