From Britain with love: the Swingle Singers

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From Britain with love: the Swingle Singers

Some call the human voice the most beautiful sound in the world. But for the Swingle Singers, it can be just about any sound you can think of.
The Britain-based a cappella group, established in 1963 by Ward Swingle, an American who at the time lived in France, consists of eight performers, two for each range: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The singers’ nationalities are as diverse as their sounds, with performers from Germany, Israel, England, Scotland and Wales.
They have won five Grammy Awards, released about 50 albums and traveled around the world to perform more than 3,500 concerts. Luciano Berio, a modern composer, wrote a symphony, “Sinfonia,” for the group to perform together with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Now they’re coming back to Seoul for Valentine’s Day under the title “Swingle Singers & Valentine Magic” and the musical theme for the evening will be movie soundtracks.
The a cappella group is famous for its unique way of interpreting songs, regardless of genre, doing classical music, pop, jazz and musical numbers. When they sing a selection by Bach, it’s sacred and heavenly. When they perform the James Bond theme song, it sounds exactly like the original recording, complete with sound effects such as gun shots. It’s all due to the way they use their microphones ― the mikes are nearly in their mouths when they sing.
“The Swingle Singers break down the preconception that an a cappella show is quiet and subdued. Their show will be very energetic and dynamic,” said Kim Jeong-im, an official at Interkultur, the concert organizer.
The program will include “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “So What,” and tunes from film soundtracks such as “Romeo & Juliet,” “My Fair Lady,” “The Mission,” “Cinema Paradiso” and “Star Wars.” The Swingle Singers are also planning to sing Korean pop songs, though which songs they’ll perform has not yet been decided.
They will also give a lecture on their unique method of making sounds. The event will be held at the Korea Chorus Symposium from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Swingle Singers are also planning to let audience members come up on stage to confess their secret loves.

by Park Sung-ha

The concert will be held at the Concert Hall in the Seoul Arts Center on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Tickets cost 30,000 won ($30) to 80,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2068-8000, or visit or
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